Category Archives: Mythology and Stories

Mythology and short stories about weavers, and handspinners.

Aclla

Among the ancient Inca, the Aclla Cuna or Virgins of the Sun were selected from girls aged 8-10 who had special beauty. They spent their lives in temple convents and prepared food, corn beer and tended the sacred fire. They also spun very fine thread and wove garments for the emperor to be used in special ceremonies and sacrifices.

Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology Vol 6

The Incas: New Perpectives

The Jesuit and the Incas: The Extraordinary Life of Padre Blas Valera, S.J. (History, Languages, and Cultures of the Spanish and Portuguese Worlds)

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Spinning Weaving Goddesses

Spinning and Weaving Mythology
The textile arts of weaving and spinning have always been of great importance to many cultures. Weavers and spinners have been revered as goddesses in mythology.

Kalevala 51
Kalevala 51
NameOriginGoddess
Aclla CunaPeruvianWeaving
ArachneGreekWeaving
Chi NuChineseWeaving
EileithyiaGreekSpinning
EhecatlAztecCrafts
Frau HolleGermanicSpinning
GianeSardinianSpinning, Weaving
HabetrotEnglishSpinning
Hsi-Lingh ShihChineseSilk Weaving
India RosaVenezuelaWeaving, Pottery
Ix Chebel YaxMayanWeaving, Dyeing, Spinning
IyamoopoAfricanIndigo, Weaving, Dyeing
Kanene Ski Amai YehiCherokeeWeaving, Pottery
Kothar-u-KhasisCanaaniteCrafts
LugCelticCrafts
MyrmexGreekWeaving
NeitEgyptianWeaving, Crafts
PaivatarFinnishSun, Weaving, Spinning
PapallugaSerbianSpinning
PenelopeGreekWeaving
Ruana NiedaSaamiSpinning
RuaTahitianCrafts
SauleBalticWeaving, Dance, Poetry
Spider WomanNavajo DineWeaving, Spinning
SrecaSerbianSpinning
SunnaScandinavianSpinning
SweigsdunkaLithuanianWeaving
Tatsuta-HimeJapaneseWeaving
WakahirumeJapaneseWeaving

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Paivatar: blpaivatar

Paivatar – Finland – Goddess of Spinning, Weaving and the Sun

Goddesses

She was called ‘competent maid’ or ‘resplendent of the shaft-bow of the sky.’ The
spinning sun virgin who wove daylight from a rainbow arch.

Paivatar
A
batten, a heddle and a golden shuttle are her symbols. Spinning and weaving were
predominant activities, as every garment was spun by hand. Imagine how many hours it
took to spin enough thread to string a loom to weave a sail for an oceangoing boat!

Kalevala

Chapter 41

Tuo Kuutar, korea impi, neiti Päivätär pätevä

pitelivät pirtojansa, niisiänsä nostelivat,

kultakangasta kutoivat, hope’ista helskyttivät,

äärellä punaisen pilven, pitkän kaaren kannikalla.

Kunpa saivat kuullaksensa tuon sorean soiton äänen,

jo pääsi piosta pirta, suistui sukkula käestä,

katkesihe kultarihmat, helkähti hopeaniiet.


The worthy maid Paivatar
were holding their reeds

raising their heddles

weaving golden stuff

and jingling silver

on the rim of the red cloud

upon the long rainbow’s end;

when they got to hear

the sound of that fine music

the reed slipped out of their grasp

the shuttle dropped from their hand

the golden threads snapped

and the silver heddles clinked.

Translated by Keith Bosley

The Kalevala, Ch. 41

Oxford University Press, 1989


Open the best chest

slam the bright lid back:

inside are six golden belts

and seven blue skirts

all woven by Moon-daughter

finished off by Paivatar (Sun-daughter).

‘Long since, when I was a maid

and lived as a lass, I went

for berries in the forest

raspberries under the slope.

I heard Moon-daughter weaving

Paivatar (Sun-daughter) spinning

beside blue backwoods

at the edge of a sweet grove.

Translated by Keith Bosley

The Kalevala, Ch. 4

Oxford University Press, 1989

More:

Kalevala

More passages from the Finnish epic, Kalevala.

Mythology

Kalevala Books

The Kalevala: Or Poems of the Kaleva District
Kalevala translation by Professor Francis Peabody Magoun
UK:Kalevala

The Key to the Kalevala
UK:Key to the Kalevala

The Songs of Power: A Finnish Tale of Magic, Retold from the Kalevala (Ancient Fantasy)
For ages 10 and up: songs of the many adventures of favorite heroes: the mighty, magical men and women of ancient days.
UK:Songs of Power

Women of the Kalevala
Voices of the women of the Kalevala clamor to be heard. Wives, sisters, and daughters have their own stories, often more poignant than those of the men.
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Erica 25" Rigid Heddle Frame Weaving Loom Vintage Wood Frame Northfield

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Goddes of Silk: blhsilingsu

Origin of Silk
“Chinese legend gives the title Goddess of Silk to Lady Hsi-Ling-Shih, wife of the mythical Yellow Emperor, who was said to have ruled China in about 3000 BC. She is credited with the introduction of silkworm rearing and the invention of the loom”

The emperor Huang-Ti ordered his wife Hsi-Ling-Shi to investigate what was eating the leaves on his mulberry trees. She found white worms that spin shiny cocoons. According to the story, she accidentally dropped one of these cocoons into her hot tea and a delicate filament separated itself. She drew it out, unwinding a long single strand. Hsi-Ling-Shi had discovered silk.

hsi-lingsu
Hsi-Ling-Su

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Weaving Stories

Blonde and the Cute Sheep
A humorous sheep joke, submitted by one of our members.

Fairy Tales
Fairy tales often feature weavers and spinners with powers of wisdom and ingenuity.

Mythology
Ancient mythological tales about weaving and spinning.

To Suzanne
A beautiful weaver’s poem written by a dear friend of mine.

Drug Glooms
A humorous tale by Peter Collingwood, who was inspired to write this having seen a loom advertised “complete with shuffles”.

The Flax
There are some delightful stories about weaving at this site, including one about the lowly flax plant.

No Ordinary Blanket
A touching story about how a blanket can become part of our lives.

Weaving Words for the Web-Weary
Peter Collingwood travels to Sweden and tells of his visit to a belting factory.
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Weaving Mythology

Fairy Tales
In fairy tales, spinners and weavers often display qualities of power, wisdom and magic.

Kalevala
The Finnish epic poem, the Kalevala, has many references to the weaving and spinning goddesses. Here are some passages from this famous folklore.

Spinning and Weaving Goddesses
The arts of spinning and weaving have magical properties to the uninitiated. Spinners and weavers have been revered throughout the ages, in many cultures.

Spinning and Weaving Stories
Modern-day stories and poetry about weaving and spinning.

To Suzanne
A beautiful weaver’s poem.

Arachne
Arachne was gifted in the art of weaving, but her tapestry offended Athena. This led to tragic consequences.

Neith – “One Who Is”
Neith is one of the oldest Egypptian goddesses. She was both a goddess of war and a goddess of weaving.

Orihime, Kengyuu and Tanabata
The star Vega is often called Orihime Boshi(Weaving Princess Star). When Vega is prominent in the night sky, the Tanabata festival celebrates improvement of technical skills and ability.

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Pop Goes the Weasel: blpopweasel

A reader asked this question:
Pop Goes the Weasel – Is this a Spinning song?

I hadn’t heard of this before so I did a bit of research. Here are some references to more information about this song.

All around the mulberry bush

The monkey chased the weasel.

The monkey thought ’twas all in fun.

Pop! goes the weasel.A penney for a spool of thread,

A penney for a needle.

That’s the way the money goes.

Pop! goes the weasel.

Up and down the City Road,

In and out of the Eagle,

That’s the way the money goes.

Pop! goes the weasel.

Half a pound of tuppenney rice,

Half a pound of treacle,

Mix it up and make it nice,

Pop! goes the weasel.

Kididdles
This site has 3 other versions of this nursery rhyme listed.
Bulletin Board Post
“A weassel was an iron used by London tailors, who popped their weassel when they were short of money.” Bob, Aug. 26/2000
Bulletin Board Post
In another post by Franbo, Aug. 26

The rhyme was started by hatmakers who pawned their hatmaking tool in order to get some money
World Wide Words

In this article about Pop Goes the Weasel, the phrase comes from an advertisement by Boosey and Sons of 1854, where a new country dance is introduced by her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Additional words were added to the song.

Queen Victoria’s very sick,

Prince Albert’s got the measles.

The children have the whooping cough,

And pop! Goes the weasel

There is a wide variety of opinion on this song. Here are some more posts from our Discussion Forum. If you know more about this song, please let us know by posting a note in our Forum.

Is this a Spinning Song? – Forum Discussion

“I learned a couple years ago that the floor standing skeiners that have a screw on the inside and a piece of wood attached are called “weasels.” After so many turns of the skeiner, the screw will have pushed the slat of wood far enough for it to pop out and make that popping sound that let you know you had wound ‘X’ number of yards. I don’t know why it was called a weasel, though.”

Original post by Berna

Firstly, the Eagle Pub still exists in The City Road in London. I’m English, and sometimes have to visit that part of London, and go past it when I do. 

Secondly, I’d always been told that a weasel was a special type of small flat iron used in the manufatcuring of top hats. (You might call them opera hats in the states) Whistle and Flute is indeed rhyming slang for suit, and both best clothes and tools of the trade were pawned ( or popped) for extra cash, so it could be either. But I’ve never heard of a weasel being anything to do with spinning equipment.

Thirdly, there is another pub just up the City Road from the Eagel called ” The Stick and Weasel”, which refers to another line in the version of the rhyme I know ‘Every time that I go out, The weasel’s on the tabel, Take an stick and knock it off, Pop goes the Weasel” . I think the pub name came after the song, but it’s there now!!

Finally, if Susan is interested, her college linbrary probaly has books with copies of the works of George Cruikshank – a victorain artsist much loved by the temperence movement who showed the awful results of drink in pictures and cartoons, and so these might be useful period ilustrations for her talk, showing what happened of you popped your weasel and went into the Eagel too often!!

Hope this helps Susan – its nice to know that our quaint British traditions are studied in colleges in the states, and i hope her project goes well.”

Original Post by Susanne

The song Pop goes the Weasel derives from the counter at the back of the yarn reel or clock reel or wool reel depending on where you are from. These reels all have a 2 yard circumference and are designed to measure wool knots. These are 80 yards or 40 turns. By the way there are 7 knots in a skein, or 560 yards. Measure what we call a skein of knitting worsted today and chances are it is still very close!! 

These measurements derive from England and we have all recognized that English units of measurement are a little bit strange. I have even heard that there was someone in the 17th century who was appointed to check and make sure that reels were exactly 2 yards in circumference so that no one was cheated.

The song was developed as I understand it to keep children amused while they were reeling yarn off the bobbins and ont the reel. According to an elderly English lady that I met several years ago there may be 40 verses to the song–which would make sense. (That may be the only logical thing about all of this)

As another aside on this subject; A reel measuring 1 and 1/2 yards was for measuring linen or flaz which is measured in leas. They are a whole other story!!

Original Post by B. Flexner

My weasel is hand carved oak. The screws inside the clock box show the knife marks. The skeining wheel is 90 inches in circumfrence and goes click on every revolution and on the 120th rev., goes pop. On the screw that extends even with the front of the box there is a right angle bent nail that shows where the start is, and points to 900. As this screw turns the nail shows where you have gotten to. No, there is only the start mark, not quarters or half. 

On singles i can get 120+ revolutions with fine wool and fine spin. I bought this weasel last summer in Lincoln, NM from a lady who was selling a lot of her family antiques. It is a treasure. The grandson likes to turn it and count the clicks. He will start to kindergarden in 2 years and can count now to 120 so he can hear the pop.

Would like to have all the verses to the song. Am sure too that it refers to a lot of things medieval English.

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