Tuesday, 11 December 2012

National Geographic August 1919 - Weavers of the World

A Friend from North America sent me this very interesting photo from an old National Geographic magazine. The small text reads:
"The Distaff of the Spinster in the Douro District, North of Portugal"
"The spindle and the distaff are still employed here for producing the best linen threads used in the beautiful laces for which Portugal is famed. Woollen yarn for the family clothing is also spun by this primitive method. Rustic life in Portugal is not a dull, (dreary?) grind, for each epoch of the farming year is celebrated with a festa, and of fairs and such gatherings there is no end."

My comment: To this day we have many local fairs and popular gatherings. Summer here are the months of July, August and September, and each Village helds a party of some sort. Probably not so picturesque and rustic as the good old days, but including a Catholic Parade, lots of indescribable music (often with hot lyrics and very basic tunes), and places to eat our version of take away "fast food" that is cooked -grilled, fried or baked- almost on demand. Lately, the theme parties are being very popular, like the Chocolate Weekend or the Medieval Fairs. The food annual fairs, with local produce are always a must, as we are a country of very diversified gastronomy. We are also great consumers of music, and the good bands come here often to play at week long festivals. We also love fireworks, and the amusement arcades travel from place to place all summer long.
I am telling all the various aspects of our "festas" as they survive today, but in the old 1919 days, life was much harder, and it seems that the National Geographic caption-wording might be a bit romanticised.
(I must state here  that my grand-father, born in 1911 was a party lover, and brought me to local fairs and picnics as a young person...and spent Saturdays with his people socialising...playing ancient games and generally being in the open-air having a relaxation - and eating the picnic that grandma had prepared the previous day!!!!!).

Sunday, 6 May 2012

How to ply with tool


This video shows how to ply with the tool depicted in the previous post. For a good two decades I cherished this tool, not properly understanding how it was used. Thanks to this wonderful video, in youtube, this amazing Portuguese tradition is portrayed with much ease and beauty. I am often amazed with my country traditions, and this is one of them. Enjoy.
And thanks to the youtube video maker.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Plying Tool

This is a tool that was used to ply. In the old days in Portugal, kitchens had beams in the ceiling. In one of those beams a hook was nailed, and this plying spindle was the weight for free plying anticlockwise from the low ceiling.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Socks by Dna Maria from "Combate ao Frio".

Dna Maria is a Knitter from a village in the interior of the country. Her socks are a live document of popular knitting. She is the responsible for the comfort of many of us, not only for our warm feet in winter but also our warm hands. The wool that Dna Maria knits with is Portuguese, is a single strand, and in natural shades.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Very old Spindle

Stoneleafmoon kindly sent me the photo of this very old Spindle. It resembles the Portuguese Spindles of today. Is it European? How old is it?