She layeth her hands to the spindle,
and her hands hold the distaff.
In some cultures, January 6th marks the end of Christmas celebrations so January 7th was, historically, the day to return to work. This was an occasion for a party and sometimes pranks. For many women, work included spinning yarn so they brought their distaffs and flax to the party. Some spinning guilds still meet on January 7th for a party and a day of spinning.
My father made this black walnut drop spindle for me fifty years ago (I was in high school at the time). I have spun on it but never learned to use the spinning wheel. My daughter, Ellen, is the spinner in the family. She also weaves on a loom that Daddy built.
In a world that sometimes seems to spin out of order, I find comfort in touching the honeysuckle of my shuttle basket and caressing the old wood. I don’t yearn for times past, but I do enjoy meditating upon the ingenuity of our creative ancestors.