In Journey to Aviad, Morganne and her mother use a distaff, but what is it? A distaff is a vertical cleft stick that holds wool or flax from which thread is spun by hand. Spinning thread was a common household chore in the Middle Ages. Many women were so practiced at it that they could balance a distaff on their shoulder and spin thread while doing other household tasks at the same time. The distaff also became a symbol for the female branch of a family and an emblem of women’s contributions to the fabric trade.
Watch this video for a demonstration on how to use a distaff and drop spindle, medieval style!