Combing long-stapled wool using with combs handmade by The Red Barn Farm. Our volunteer is in the process of transferring the wool from the comb in her hand back onto the stationary comb. The wool is transferred back and forth until the fibers are smooth and straight. The spindle of the spinning wheel, nearly full of wool, can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the picture (more easily visible on the enlarged version). Some finished linen belts hang on a line on the left side of the picture. More detailed pictures of the wool combing process appear with the enlarged version of this picture.
Our demonstrator is now spinning the wool she combed on an antique spindle wheel. The stationary comb can be seen on the right side of the picture with its protective cover. She leaves the wool on the comb until she needs more, then she draws it out into a roving (rope) about eight inches long, then pulls it off and holds it in her left hand as she spins. The wheel is turned with her right hand while the wool is drawn out into a fine yarn. After a yard or so of yarn is formed it is wound onto the spindle of the wheel. It is on this horizontal spindle that Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger in the famous fairy tale. Pictures in books often get this image very mixed up. They nearly always depict a flyer wheel which has no spindle, and Sleeping Beauty seems to be pricking her finger on a vertical object which could only be a distaff which is made from wood and does not have a sharp point.
Spinning wheels with a flyer mechanism were not yet known in the British Isles at the time of King Henry VIII. Spindle wheels were used for wool, but flax was still being spun on a drop spindle. Later the flyer wheel would become popular for spinning flax, but a spindle wheel was still preferable for wool.
Weaving linen on our replica 13th century floor loom. The reed and shuttle are hand-made antiques. See the Old Loom page for details on the construction of the loom as well as pictures of the original loom located at Medieval Times in Kissimmee, Florida. The tartan blanket draped over the leg of the loom is one of the Bonnie Prince Charles Edward Stuart designs. It is not a deisgn correct for our time period, but it was a lot of fun to weave! It is the fruit of our labor from the 1998 and 1999 Festivals. It is made of nine yards of heavy wool which was cut into three panels and stitched together to form a wonderfully warm blanket. A woolen inkle band was used to bind one end, and a linen inkle band was used to bind the other.
Weaving a linen belt on an inkle loom. The history of the inkle loom is vague and it is not certain whether a loom of this exact design was used in the 16th century, but it is certain that a variety of small looms similar to this design were used for making narrow belts, straps and ribbons. In the background, just in front of the demonstrator the distaff (used to hold flax fibers as they are being spun) and umbrella swift (used to hold skeins of yarn as they are being wound onto pirns (similar to bobbins) which are then placed in the shuttle for the weaver to use on the loom. In the back ground behind the demonstrator the top of a wheel can be seen. This is a pirn winder, not a spinning wheel. We apologize for not having better pictures of these tools and promise to add them to the site as soon as possible.
Here is our demonstration tent. This picture was taken at the end of the last day of the Festival. The blue cloth draped across the fron of the tent is the nine yards of heavy linen which was woven during the five weeks of the Festival. Under the tent, from left to right, can be seen: the umbrella swift, the pirn winder, a skeiner (in the background), an inkle loom sitting on a stool (in the foreground), the 13th century replica loom, the spindle wheel, and a wool comb (mounted on the tent pole behind the spinning wheel).
Donning the Great Kilt (Florida Renaissance Festival 1999)
Two of our volunteers at our encampent during the 1998 Florida Renaissance Festival.
A little glimpse of one of our demonstration areas.
(Also taken at the 1998 Florida Renaissance Festival)
How to wrap and wear a Great Kilt
And yet another explanation of how to wear the Greak Kilt