Bride’s Influence

Learning to Handspin

I don’t always notice Bride’s influence in my life, but it’s been hard to ignore lately what with all the spinning, carving, and baking going on in my house. Yesterday my lovely apprentice came over bringing her handspindle and some roving wool dyed red and I brought out my undyed roving and my bottom whorl spindle and we set ourselves to spinning. She’d taken an intro class the weekend before, but we quickly learned spinning is something you have to see done and do yourself to “get” it. After a little bit of frustration we were on a roll – look at all that yarn!

She gave me a bit of an evil eye for picking it up quickly, but she’s one to talk! Eventually I’ll spin as evenly as her. We’re both going to another class together to learn how to ply the yarn we’ve spun. I am so excited as there are so many spells to do that involve spinning! I even had a dream a couple of months back that Bride was teaching me how to spin and even what colour to dye my yarn. My first skein of yarn will probably be going into an indigo vat.

My spindle full of yarn

I’ve also been carving away. I need to finish a couple of things and then the next woodwork catalogue will be sent out. There’s been delays due to health and a busy life. This will probably be the last catalogue I send out until June as, after this, everything I carve will be made as stock for the upcoming Shamanic Conference and The Gathering Festival in May.

Woodwork sneak peak

I also got up to some baking (Bride’s influence showing further) and made some mushroom and beef pastries. I made a basic flaky pastry dough with lard and a bit of oat flour mixed in with the pastry flour (super nummy, I highly recommend trying it). While the dough was resting in the fridge I roasted a hunk of prime rib with rosemary and garlic and sautéed two types of mushrooms with the same herbs. I also caramelized some onions after braising them in beer. I made a pan gravy with the drippings from the roast and the juices from the mushrooms along with the rest of the beer.

Roasted prime rib and sauteed mushrooms

Then I cut the beef into little pieces and simmered it in the gravy. I rolled out the pastry dough and cut it into squares and add the mushroom and beef fillings into them with the onions, sealed them with eggwash and a fork, cut slits in the tops to let steam out and then baked them in the oven at 375°F for 15 minutes. They were super flaky and rich. Next time I’m going to try the same fillings with bread dough instead so I can make them larger, less rich, and easier to pick up like a calzone or a Cornish pasty… hmm and maybe add some goat cheese to the mushroom and onion one. I served them with gravy and mustard and a spinach salad – yum!

Mushroom & Onion Pastries before baking

Comments

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  1. Scylla says:

    As always – the carvings are to die for.

    In the Future Home (land owned, house owned, just repairing and cleaning both up… slowly) we’re constructing a formal ritual circle. We’re striving to have anything used in that circle be handmade. Spinning will eventually come into play, and from there – weaving.

    I’ve been eyeballing the carved stone spindles sold by Raven Khaldera – mainly because I like the look, and really want to support a Pagan ‘steader and craftsperson.

    Sort of strange, but fitting – that the further our technology goes into the future, the more important the old technologies become.

  2. Selena says:

    O My stars, how yummy! I haven’t had a real pasty since living in the UP years ago. Made my mouth water!

    Thanks for the recipe and pics!

  3. Skye says:

    I am so jealous of this post.

    While I don’t follow Brigid/Bride or any of the names she goes by, I do follow Frigg. She’s a Goddess of the hearth and home and spinning is one of her major activities. (Another name for the constellation Orion is Frigg’s Spindle.)

    I’ve been wanting to learn to spin for a long time but haven’t really had the means or time necessary.

    Good luck with your endeavor and I’d definitely be interested to see how it progresses.

    Blessings,
    Skye

    • Hi Skye,

      Spinning is a wonderful meditative and magical practice, especially for a follower of Frigga! (I’m an Odin’s woman, but I honor Frigga too.) A beginner’s hand spindle only costs about $15 and you can get fiber to spin with on Etsy starting at around $5. Starting out isn’t complicated either; in fact I may post a short tutorial to my blog in the near future. You can easily become quite a good spinner by devoting only about half an hour to an hour to practicing, and it’s portable, too!

      Beth

  4. Crystal says:

    Those look delicious. And I’m starving. I definitely feel Bride this year as well. I’m baking some quick bread this evening. This coming from a non-baker. I just don’t bake. It’s one of my least favorite types of cooking. I prefer cooking that only involves my stovetop. But all this week I’ve been meditating on how much I’d love to whip up some bread. I may try your pastries a little later this week.

  5. Ooo that looks so yummy! The spinning must be fun. Ever since watching Sleeping Beauty as a child I have wanted a spinning wheel. And now I want to take up knitting hehe! Perhaps in the future I will be able to do both and just make my own yarn :D

    Happy baking!

  6. Congratulations on your spinning progress! In my case it’s Frigga’s influence, but I spin too; it’s a wonderful meditative practice, and I also incorporate it into my operational seidhr. Of course, handspun yarn has a lot of folk magic uses too, besides being gorgeous!

  7. Cynthia says:

    oh god I’m starving now…. YUMMMMMMmmmmmm
    and my fingers are itching to do something!!!

  8. I totally agree – spinning is best learned by watching! I was taught in the Adirondacks last summer and it’s very addictive! There is a lot of evidence that Brighid is connected to spinning and, as she is very influential in my life, it seems natural for me to spin. I would love to learn more about spinning spells. It is meditative but I haven’t approached it as magic other than basic creation, but I can already imagine some possibilities… As always, you inspire. :)

  9. arrowclaire says:

    I just took up spinning about a month ago, and it is a real delight to see you post about it. I hope you will keep sharing your progress, and I wish you all the best! I am so inspired by you!

  10. hagofnaedre says:

    I spy a pipe with a serpent on it! It’s lovely. If possible, I would love to get one of your catalogs!

    I’ve been drawn to spinning as well. I’d love to grow some of my own cotton (there are some neat heirloom varieties that are naturally tinted green, pink, brown, etc.!) and give it a go. Weaving as well! But, that is a far away project, I have too many sitting in front of me right now, heh.

  11. Ah! I wish I still had my spinning equipment.

    And I must say, your carvings look magnificent! Is it all custom work, or is some of that availbale in the botanica from time to time?

  12. Riverhorse says:

    Many blessings to you, Sarah. How inspiring it is to read your blogs! Everything looks beautiful and delicious and deeply magical. I hope to catch up with you at a festival this Spring. Your woodwork is so fine. I am just beginning to learn wood-carving. I love it. I especially love the oghams you made. Your quilt is also stunning. I have recently ordered some products from you and will let you know on Etsy when they arrive. Have a lovely time at your Imbolc ritual. Respect and Blessings, Riverhorse ( Joey in California)

  13. Marilyn says:

    Oh my gosh! Few things go better with beef than rosemary! I can’t make a roast without it and keep a big rosemary plant indoors all winter because it’s wonderful fresh…

  14. Claire says:

    So glad you learn handspinning ! It was in the air for a long time I think :)
    If one day you carve spindles, I would be really interested,
    Blessings from Brittany !

    • Only about two years, lol! I’m carving the bottom of the whorl on my spindle. I’m still thinking of how to make my own whorls without machinery… I might have a router for my dremel…

  15. Faidh says:

    Funny you mentioned hand spinning. Over the last month or so I’ve been getting it into my head that I ought to be. I have family who keep a croft and shear their sheep every Summer only to throw the wool out on the moors. Such a waste but they can find no one to buy it up there. Maybe I’ll get myself a present of a spindle and spin their wool.

    Can’t help but think of Briar Rose and the slow awakening into Spring. Been thinking about that theme quite a bit recently.

    I’ve been feeling both the Callieach and Bride strongly this year. Maybe it’s just me or perhaps it’s because of the weather. Still, I think Bride may have to keep in the ground for a while longer… we’re set to have more snow here. Good opportunity to sit by the fire and get domestic.

    That fern carving is divine. Such a pretty and quirky style.

  16. Hello,
    Love your blog posts, as always! How does one get on your woodcarving mailing list (or do you have a website)? These carvings are fabulous.

  17. Briar says:

    You know, it’s so odd, I was just gifted a spinning wheel of all things. I’ve spun with a drop spindle for a long while now, but I’d been wanting a wheel and suddenly I was being given one, and what a wonderful thing to be given!

    I am loving that woodwork. I should get on your woodwork mailing list. I was just thinking about you last night because I unpacked the runes you’d made and used them to read last night!