Friday, April 11, 2008

How to Make a Beaded Wrist Distaff

Yesterday was laundry day. While I had 20 or 30 minutes between loads, that's not very much when it comes to instead of weaving I made the wrist distaff that I have been wanting to make forever... but just kept putting off.

It consists of about 20 pieces of yarn that are about 30 inches long. (Notice all the "abouts"... I seldom measure anything..If it looks "about right", then it's fine with me.) These are all held together and folded in the middle to find the center. Keep your finger in between the fold or you will find that you will be 10 minutes sorting out the yarn and have to start over... (guess how we know this!) Working out from the center, the yarn is "measured" to about twice the amount needed to circle the wrist and then tied of with a string at that spot on one end. With the string tie hooked on something substantial ( in this instance it was my big A sight to behold if ever there was one!), you divide the yarn into 3 equal groups and begin to braid the center. When it reaches the desired circumference of your wrist..making sure it will fit over your hand also... the braiding is then tied off on this end.

There should now be fairly equal lengths of loose yarn on each end. I trimmed 2 or 3 on each to be shorter and did some random cuts to put some of the beads at different levels.. This helps to hold the wool. And here comes the picky part. The beads can be any kind you want. Any color you want. The only stickler is that they must have a hole big enough for the yarn and the eye of the needle you will be using. Each length of yarn hanging from the braid is beaded. I used a single good sized bead with a knot tied at the end to hold it. You can use as many beads on each piece of yarn as you like, but each piece of yarn should have at least one. After the beading is finished on both ends, the braided wrist area is joined by putting the ends of the braid together, then wrapping a length of yarn around them.. joining both sides into one. Tie it off with a knot. I then applied super glue to all the knots. While I don't plan to be throwing it around much, I figure a little extra oomph on those knots couldn't be a really bad thing.

And... you don't absolutely have to bead your distaff. The beading gives some weight to the lengths of yarn and helps to allow the wool to fall off the distaff easier as you can twirl the weighted lengths of the distaff as you spin.
However, the first distaff I made was not weighted and I found it nearly indispensable for holding plenty of yarn on hand as I was spinning and also for keeping the wool away from the spinning yarn. (Hate that when the wool becomes tangled in the spinning yarn...)

I should add here that you can make a wrist distaff of almost anything... from crochet cotton thread to strips of rags... but the use of a woolen or semi-woolen yarn will give something for your wool to "hold" to and be less likely to just slip up and down on the distaff.

This is really a post that should be on Fabric Follies Two.. hmm May just copy and paste it over

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