January 8, 2017
A very warm thank you to everyone at Orlando Distaff Day – what an amazing day!
The local fiber artist communities come together every year at this networking & friendship event. Artists work on projects, share ideas and materials, show off completed works, exchange gifts, shop from specialty vendors, and more. Members also bring donations of food and warm hand-made items.
Yesterday’s attendees donated more than 100 warm items – and with the cold front in Orlando last night it was perfect timing: all of the items were delivered directly to the Coalition for the Homeless.
Not only did they contribute beautiful hand-made quilts, blankets, sweaters, scarves, and more to warm up cold folks; they also filled five bags of donated non-perishable goods.
A beautiful act of kindness
A friend of the organization passed away last year, leaving several unfinished knitting projects. Members honored her life and her talent by completing those projects and donating them to us to bring to people in need in our community.
BE. Orlando is grateful that the event organizers have invited our Warmies Project to Distaff Day for the past four years, and we’re looking forward to 2018!
A distaff, also called a roc, is a tool used in spinning to keep unspun fibers from tangling. The term can also be used to demeaningly indicate feminine duties, or something concerning females (“Distaff duties”). This reference comes from the distaff tool historically symbolizing the domestic life or “women’s work”. It can also mean the female bloodline of the family.
Saint Distaff’s Day is an unofficial Catholic holiday on January 7th, the day after the epiphany, and many fiber artists around the world celebrate this day by hosting St. Distaff Day gatherings. Traditionally, it was a recognition that women would resume their household duties following the 12 days of Christmas. The more contemporary celebration is a secular event bringing diverse fiber artists together for community and sharing.
From Hesperides, a collection of poems by Robert Herrick:
Partly work and partly play
You must on St. Distaffs Day:
From the plough soon free your team;
Then cane home and fother them:
If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give St. Distaff’ all the right:
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation.’
More history of St. Distaff Day: http://www.tellinghistory.co.uk/resources/distaff.htm