The Niddy-Noddy

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Southwest Virginia Project
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A hand reel for winding yarn
A hand reel for winding yarn

From: Source:Earle, 1898:200

The yarn might be wound from the spindle into skeins in another way, — by using a hand-reel, [or as known by its] universal folk-name, niddy-noddy. This is fortunately preserved in an every-day domestic riddle:

Niddy-noddy, niddy-noddy,
Two heads and one body.

The three pieces of these niddy-noddys were set together at curious angles, and are here shown rather than described in words. Holding the reel in the left hand by seizing the central " body " or rod, the yarn was wound from end to end of the reel, by an odd, waving, wobbling motion, into knots and skeins...