A distaff is a stick on to which fibre such as flax or wool is wound for spinning.
The ancient craft of spinning is the twisting together of strands of fibres to form yarn. The distaff helps to keep the fibres neatly in position as they are spun.
Fibre is wrapped around one end of the distaff, and tied in place. The fibre is then joined to the spindle, and spun, while being pulled into the thickness required for the thread being spun.
There are commonly three different types of distaff used: the traditional staff distaff, the attached distaff (such as you might see on a spinning wheel), and the wrist distaff.
Watch a video on ‘How To Use A Wrist Distaff’
Watch a film on 'How to dress a distaff with flax'
Watch a film of traditional Flax Spinning
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