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"The HUB" Vol. XXIV, No. 6
Bimonthly newsletter of November - December 2002


Saturday, December 7, 2002 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Christ Episcopal Church, Diamond Park, Meadville, PA

December Program

The next meeting will be our annual Christmas party. We will meet at Christ Church in Meadville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2002. Bring a dish to share for a potluck lunch.

Instead of a Christmas gift exchange, guild members are asked to make and donate wool scarves, mittens, gloves, and hats to send to a military friend of Donna Wellman's who will distribute them to men and women serving in Afghanistan. Please bring them to the December meeting.

We will also have a Guild Craft Fair. Bring any handcrafted items you have for sale (10% will go to the guild). A great opportunity to do some shopping!

We will also have a demonstration on creating beaded neckpieces.

The Great Fiber Challenge

The Great Fiber Challenge will continue at the December meeting. Bring your packages of fiber to the meeting for the exchange. You may still sign up for washed fiber or a roving exchange. There will be ten people to a list. Each person will exchange ten two ounce bags of fiber. We would like as many different fibers and colors as we can get. We hope not to repeat fibers. It must be garment quality fiber (not your garbage).

The challenge will be to construct something out of all ten two ounce bags or part of each. You have all winter to make your article and we will begin showing off our attempts at the February meeting and continue on until every one is done. We hope that this will be a fun project and that many will participate. Call Sue Spencer to sign up (see Membership Directory for phone number). The sheets will also be available at November’s Tuesday Spinners meeting.

YWCA Christmas Bazaar

Sue Spencer has signed up for a table at the Meadville YWCA’s annual Christmas bazaar which will be held on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7, 2002. The hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Set up is on Thursday, December 5. Bring items to the church.

There will be a 10% donation to offset the cost of the table.

Minutes of the October Meeting

NWPSWG minutes - Oct 5, 2002. There were no corrections or additions to previous minutes.

Treasury Report: Balance of $4037.64 includes the grant award given to the guild to help offset expenses of the 2003 spring knitting workshop with Beth Brown-Reinsel.

Christmas gift exchange: We will make and donate wool scarves, mittens, gloves, and hats to a military friend of Donna Wellman's who will distribute them to men and women serving in Afghanistan. They will be collected at the Dec meeting. The Mercer guild is joining us in this effort. Other activities include pot luck lunch; tables set up for any handcrafted items you have for sale (10% to guild); and a demonstration on creating beaded neckpieces.

Joanna reported on Mantles of Healing. Knit/weave a shawl/scarf/shrug with love in your heart, have it blessed, and give it to someone who needs comforting. If you make it, you will also find the need. Probably should be machine washable.

The Kennerdale Fest was a success--sales totaled over $300, we were paid $100, and a beautiful shawl was woven.

The Meadville YW is putting on a Holiday Bazaar and offering tables for $30, plus one contribution to their auction. There is no commission to them so the only cost is the $30 table. December 6 and 7.

Great Fiber Exchange: There will be two groups of about 10 people each: roving or washed fiber. Sign up for one group, bring 10 packets of 2 oz wool each (roving or washed fiber), go home with 10 different packets of wool (hopefully a variety of wool fibers), spin, weave/knit/crochet something over the coming winter. Finished items will be displayed in the Fiber Fest Popular Choice competition in June at Cooks Forest.

Susan Buell contributed some old Red Cross sock patterns, a backstrap loom, inkle loom, and a set of cardweaving cards.

Gail Sheets has a walking wheel for sale--info from Sue Spencer. Ewe Tree Studio has a loom for sale.

Ann Sheffield has resigned as co-president--her father is gravely ill and she wants to spend as much time as possible with him. Sue will continue as Pres.

There was discussion and a motion passed that money from equipment rental should be used to buy new equipment--handcards, table loom, extra reeds.

New Members

Please add the following new guild member to your 2002 Guild Directory. See the online Membership Directory for contact information.

Andrea Cooley

New Look for Guild Web Page

Our Guild web site has a new look! Surf over to next time you're online and check it out. The new design makes it easier to get to our Members Area from any page in the site. The Members Area houses the most up to date Guild Membership Directory and gives you an easy way to update your own contact information.

If you haven't used the Members Area yet, you'll need to register to get your login name and password. Have your Hub handy--you'll need the membership number that's printed above your name on the mailing label when registering. – Susan Fenton

Roc Day or Saint Distaff's Day

This article is reprinted with permission of the Northwest Regional Spinners' Association Area 2010-Fiberholics.

Of course there was no such saint! St. Distaff's Day, the "first free day after Twelve-Eve Christmas," (January 7) was a holiday of transition from Christmas revelries to the round of everyday work. It is suspected that St. Distaff was invented by the poet Herrick, who dedicated some lines to her:

Partly work and partly play
Ye must on St. Distaff's Day;
Give St. Distaffe all the right,
Then give Christmas sport goodnight;
And next morrow, everyone
To his own vocation.

Women did not spin during the twelve days of Christmas in old England and this was their day to get back to work. They were not without their troubles, however, for the plowmen thought it sport to set fire to the flax and tow. Pails of water were kept handy and as fast as the farm hands started their fires, maidens put them out with liberal "bewashings." When the flax was scorched and men and maidens thoroughly drenched the day was properly observed. After that the farmwomen could spin without interruption. Turn and turn about brought the men their day……


English plowmen went back to work on the first Monday after Twelfth Day. They took their time about resuming farm routine and spent their day in more boisterous foolery. If they arose betimes it was because they strove to bring their whips or plow staves to the hearth before the farm maidens could put on their kettles. If the plowmen succeeded, the master owed them fine cocks at Shrovetide.

Later they put on their white smocks, bedecked themselves with bright ribbons and, in groups of thirty or forty, went shouting and singing through the village, dragging the plow. One in each group was always dressed as an old crone and called The Bessy. She carried the moneybox. Another, garbed in bedraggled skins and with a dangling tail was called the 'Fool Plow' and amused everyone with his antics. As they sang at the top of their lungs, the plowmen performed a sort of morris or sword dance and Bessy proffered her moneybox. It was best to drop in the coins when the plowmen shouted, “God speed the plow!” lest one's dooryard be plowed under. The coins were supposed to be for a fund to pay for plow-lights -candles burned in the church to invoke blessings. Some of the fund seems occasionally to have gone for ale and beer for the Plow Monday Dinner too, although traditionally the master was supposed to attend to that. The Lord Mayor of London gave a Plow Monday Supper too, but did not entertain any plowmen. They got along nicely on the farms.

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