Article 1: The Drop Spindle and its meaning for us heathens both mythical and as a tool to construct deeper meaning.
Granted ladies, I am starting this off easy, as what more can we say to love the nature of spinning. Even if you don’t do it yourself, there is something sublime and comforting about homespun. It almost seems that yarn craft and its historical significance travels boundless in time, sometimes stopping on some significant items like a drop spindle:
To that maybe not so significant ugly sweater that was made with good intentions:
Whatever the case is, spinning and weaving is a part of who we are as people and even more so as heathens. Heathens honoring spinning, weaving and yarn/wool craft as part of not just a way to create revenue or maybe make an item that has meaning, but as a religious tool. But why is that? Is it only because of the role in the mythology?? We know that Frigga is said to spin, one of the most gifted spinners, and we know culturally spinning was the major practice for women to create textiles. I say women, because at this time, there is not a lot of evidence to show that men did in fact spin, but there is no reason that they may not have. It was a woman-to-woman tradition in that it was taught to women by women, and even the higher ladies had to learn.
So we know its part of our mythos and is involved in not just manufacturing clothing, which according to several articles online was over 100 days, that’s a huge amount of time dedicated to completing textiles, and something that I am sure was done in between the farming, birthing, healing, sailing, fighting, and other stuff that women were up to.
Harðsnúin fræði, Spinning and weaving in Viking times and its use in seiðr. By Marianne Guckelsberger:
“Spinning yarn and weaving fabric for all the needs of a household during the Viking times was an immense task and occupied most of the women„s time. From old Icelandic sources like Búalög and Grágás we learn the staggering amount of woolen cloth that was needed for clothes, sails, bedspreads, bags, tents, etc. (Helgi Þorláksson 1991, 286-298). In Iceland as well as in other Scandinavian countries fibers other than wool, nettle and flax were hardly available throughout the middle ages, all of them being very labour intensive. An activity so time consuming and monotonous will permeate the mind of the spinner or weaver as it leaves the thoughts free to wander and make associations to other dimensions of life. Spinning and weaving have long been a metaphorical image for life, destiny or fate. In classical mythology the parcae and moirai are the personified fate of each individual, with the goddess Clotho spinning the thread of life. In Nordic mythology their equivalent were the nornir who were thought as travelling between places allotting each newborn child its future (Turville-Petre 1964, 222).” [Source]
As we see above there is something deeper about the idea of the spinning and weaving, and I would push this to say how it applies to any hand craft. You do something with your hands, your mind is focused on that, you are one with it, and even if you don’t believe in the supernatural, there is something intimate in creating something. Objects do seem to have ‘life’ to them. As we get closer to the discussion topic, think on how significant this is. Again, I am going to stretch this to not just be that art that is done with the drop spindle, but all spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, nail binding, embroidery or any art in which you take some kind of yarn, wool, thread or whatnot and make it not just its original state.
DISCUSSION: With all this in mind, the discussion topic is going to be: Do we as modern people still see a significant link to craft and why? Is it still important to us as women, and what does it mean to you as a lady in heathenry to create something?
As promised, I said I would toss in some videos, so here are some great places you can go to look at drop spindle tips, embroidery tips and yarn and crochet stuff. If you are interesting in learning one of these crafts, reach out!! There are tons of people who don’t mind showing you how they did that!!
Drop Spindle: How to Make a Drop Spindle (VIDEO)
Making a Drop Spindle (affordable): http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-An-Awesome-Drop-Spindle/
A Chanel on Crochet – YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/HappyBerryCrochet
Free Patterns: http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns
Basic Knitting: How to Knit (VIDEO)
Free Knitting Pattherns: http://www.loveknitting.com/us/free-knitting-patterns
About Larisa Hunter –
Larisa is an author, embroidery artist and owner of Saga Press/Friggas Loom. She is also a wife and mother. She has been heathen for 11+ years & has a certificate in General Arts and Science which lead her to run an art program at my daughters school, which allowed her to incorporate my love of history and culture. She consider heathenry as her life and what defines her. It is at her core and she follows it as she follows anything in her life, with a full and open heart. Larisa has spent a great part of her life focusing on education and assisting others come to heathenry. She has worked in various fields allowing her to have a diverse knowledge of how to operate a business and a non-profit.