Traditionally, Roc Day (or St. Distaff's Day), is observed on the day after The Twelfth Day (or January 7). It signals the final blowout before Christmas is declared to be Done, Over, Finished, Kaput, Stick a Fork in It (which is a good twelve days after I, personally, declare it to be over). The poet Robert Herrick wrote long ago about St. Distaff's Day as a transition from feasting and celebrating, back to every day life, thusly:
Partly worke and partly play
Ye must on S. Distaffs day:
From the Plough soone free your teame;
Then come home and fother them.
If the Maides a spinning goe,
Burne the flax, and fire the tow:
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maiden-haire.
Bring in pailes of water then,
Let the Maides bewash the men.
Give S. Distaffe all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good-night.
And next morrow, every one
To his own vocation
In modern times, crafters often get together to spin and indulge in fibery pursuits on (or near) Roc Day, and this year I was lucky enough to join my guild (the Prairie Arts Fiber Guild) in Groton, SD, for the day. Happily, there were no men to bewash (and I'd be doing something more dire to anyone who was foolish enough to burn my flax anyway). But the weather (hovering near zero, sometimes just above, sometimes just below, but with no wind and no new snow) permitted 22 of us to gather for a day of fun and wool fumes.
Betty (from my knitting group), Brandy, and Dianne worked and talked and laughed. Brandy was knitting mitts, and Diane was crocheting a shawl. Two more wheels... I wish Mary could have been there, she would have come away feeling much more confident about her own wheel. Well, actually, I wish Mary could have been there just because. Karen too.
NCFF. Dianne, Brandy, Hannnah and Kelly (wearing her armband), watched as Malissa cut the felting base patterns from an old sheet.
Twisted Fiber Arts Puffy (merino) roving, painted in the Valkyrie colorway. (note the nifty chair cushion).
We also had far too much good food (which I did not record for posterity, owing to the fact that I was eating too much of it), and a whole lot of laughter (which also doesn't photograph well).
All in all, it was an excellent Roc Day. And no one's tow* was fired.
*for the non-fibery among Blog Readers, tow here refers to jumbled linen fibers (which come from flax)
Also for the non-fibery people who read all the way to the bottom of a post that is all about fiber, Disney notwithstanding, Sleeping Beauty did not prick her finger on a spindle. She pricked her finger on the Distaff (the tall upright thingie, to which linen fibers are tied, for spinning).