Thursday, May 10, 2012

I haz a distaff, I haz a distaff (insert Snoopy happy dance)

I've been hunting for a free-standing distaff for at least a decade. Ebay, Etsy, Google searches, word of mouth, antique shops, begging every woodworker I met--nothing. Last year my Google-fu worked and I found Bill Hardy of Turnstyles and asked him to make a distaff in walnut. My oldest brother, who I never met because he passed away the year before I was born, planted 7 walnut trees along our driveway in 1943. Six of the trees are still there, although I no longer get the walnuts from them because the squirrels always beat me to them. Walnut is my favorite nut and my absolute favorite wood.

Bill emailed me last month to say that the distaff was finished. This weekend we drove to Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival with the express purpose of picking up the finished distaff. I immediately ran over to it in the booth and hugged it and petted it, alarming Bill's son because the distaff had a 'Sold' sign and he didn't realize I was the buyer. I am so happy with this wonderful piece of equipment. The workmanship is supurb, even Bill's choice of where to place the turnings to accent the grain, the tines of the lantern top will pop out for storage (meaning they won't be prone to breaking), and Bill included two extra tines just in case there's an accident. The whole thing unscrews for storage! I am just over-the-moon happy with this and can't wait to dress it with flax for spinning.

Full height, about 5.5 ft.
Extension removed to MY height

Extension with hand-carved screw

Base--LOOK at that wonderful grain!

We settled the deal and I left the distaff to wander the festival for a bit. When we returned, I couldn't resist playing with the spindles. Now, I'm not normally a spindler because I use my yarn for knitting and I want it FAST--spindles just don't fit the bill for my purposes. However, this little spindle was just too fine to leave all alone in the booth and so it followed me home. Along with a new pen for the Husbeast, who said it called out to him for a home.

Yep, it was a good weekend!