St. Distaff's Day 2014Massachusetts and Florida


Are you ready for a handspinner's holiday? St. Distaff's Day, also called Rock (or Roc) Day, is a great time to spend some time spinning as the new year begins. Traditionally, St. Distaff's Day is January 7, which falls midweek this year so many groups celebrated the weekend prior. Here are a few festive reports.


Westford MuseumWestford, Massachusetts

The Westford Museum spinners gathered for the fifteenth year. Photos courtesy of Judy Cataldo.

Each year, the Westford Museum and Historical Society invites local spinners to spend a happy St. Distaff's Day together at the museum. It's a natural pairing as fiber and yarn has played an important role in the history of the region. Robert W. Oliphant indicates in "A Brief History of Westford" that during the late-nineteenth century, "worsted yarn became the principal manufactured product of the town."

Handspinner Judy Cataldo spreads the word about the event each year and shared a bit about the day. "We have been celebrating St. Distaff Day in Westford MA since 2001, hosted by the Westford Museum. We host thirty to forty spinners for a spin-in, potluck desserts, and a silent auction to benefit the museum." Weather curbed attendance a bit this year, but Judy reports that a fun time was had by all!









Pinellas Weavers GuildLargo, Florida

Guild members gathered at the Fiber Arts House at Heritage Village. Photos courtesy of Diane Drutowski.

Diane Drutowski, editor of the Pinellas Weavers Guild's wonderful newsletter, tells us a bit about the group's annual Roc Day event. Each January, the group gathers at Heritage Village, a living history museum in Largo, Florida, to celebrate the handspinner's holiday. "We had about sixteen guild members spinning, knitting, weaving, and eating rum cake and fudge, both inside the Fiber Arts House and on the porch. True to Roc Day tradition, we took down the ornaments from the tree and the decorations from the weavers' room. The guild opened the house and demonstrated for visitors to Heritage Village. It was a hot sunny Florida day, so we had a few hundred people in and out of the house. It was crowded and fun!"

Guild president Caroline Tacker also added, "An elderly couple heard we were having our celebration and brought their spinning wheel which they had custom made in New Zealand. She has never been able to spin on it and wanted to find it a good home where it would be used. So the guild is in the process of doing that for them. 

"We had spinners working with wool, alpaca, Samoyed dog fur, cotton, and Florida native cotton." Caroline also reports  "lots of sharing of holiday news, catching up with our northern friends who are now here for the season, and of course, lots of laughter." 



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