I have been spinning yarn happily not knowing what a distaff was for for a few years now and it wasn't until our local spinners guild had a great speaker, Kim Caulfeild who came and spoke on the subjuct that I understood what they were used for exactly. I like many of you thought that the the distaff was a funny stick used to hold fiber and that is mentioned in the bible a few times. Well it turns out it's much more useful that just being a funny stick. According to Kim by wrapping the fiber supply around a distaff it keeps your arm in a more comfortable position while drop spindling for long periods of time. After trying one I must say I agree. I think when you are first learning to drop spin that having to hold two things is probably too complicated but if you really enjoy useing drop spindles that a distaff could be a fun addition to your collection. Below are a few videos on topic and pictures of the nylon replicas I bought of some of Kim's fabulous ancient Roman collection. After I made a youtube video showing these people started asking where they could buy a distaff and I was having a hard time finding some to send people too. We are lucky enough that our friend Renee at Tailspin farms ( our angora rabbit yarn and fiber) also makes spinners tools and she's made some really fun wire and felted angora rabbit distaffs. These modern distaffs are beautilful, fun and affordable so I will be officially be sending anyone looking to pick up one to try to her shop( check out her angora rabbit jewelry while you're there)
Feel free to comment with any qustions. Happy Drop spinning.