Although January, true to its ugly form, was tortuous and unrelenting, it passed blessedly quickly in some ways. In others, it seemed like a month of Januarys.... (If you haven't figured it out, I do NOT like January....)
Anywho...I wanted to let you I'm still here....still buried...in snow and cold, teaching, my thoughts, and other assorted blarney. My body, soul, and heart, are desperately and impatiently waiting on spring.
I still haven't managed to put all the Christmas merriment away (but the tree is down...yea!) I put a few things away here and there on my trips to Mount Laundry and, as I put back in place the "pre-merriment" decor little by little, I pondered what photos I might share with you. Because, after all, even a "check-in" post needs a photo or two, no? And, surely, you are weary of the "whiteness" of Nod (even Jack Frost has worn out his welcome here). But as I pondered, my heart smiled when I went to put these back. I love them so. Most think they are a strange thing to collect, but there is something about the melding of wood and metal and wear from usage that endear them to me.
Wool or flax hetchels...or hatchels...or hackles....They've been called by various and sundry names (kinda like me....) If you are not familiar with them, they were used to prepare flax for spinning. The flax plant's fibers (lying between the bark and core) were separated by soaking ("retting"), pounding, and scraping. The fibers, one bunch at a time, were then drawn through the spikes of a hetchel. Most often, many different sized hetchels were used - starting with a wider openings downs to smaller ones until the long broken fibers were spin-ready. (This low-grade fiber was called "tow.")
So, now that you've had your history lesson for the day (and probably learned some new words), here is my (pathetically small) "collection" (hey, I'm going by the rule of threes, so a "collection" it is....):
This one is my favorite....It's a bow-tie hetchel - most likely Pennsylvania Dutch (note the original painting on the corners):
(Sasha would like you to also note that February is cat appreciation month....)
Here's a "catless" version:
I love the old worm holes in the wood....
These are variations of the hetchel and are more commonly called flax combs:
This is my most recent addition:
(The flax comb above is a reproduction - artfully crafted by the amazing Art Haber at Old Colony Primitives.)
If I make it through February, I promise to be a better blogger in March....
I think of you all often and pop in when I can. I may not always comment, but I have been reading when I can.
She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13