Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Niddy Noddy and a Mission

 Jane, here are a couple of pictures of the Niddy Noddy..

It is used for winding skeins of yarn.

 The Mission.

We have a little visitor or maybe two or three or - - - - who knows how many.
Our little visitor is leaving a stash of food in our garage. We can see him/her/ them coming and going under the garage door, but we don't think that they live in the garage.
Is it a mouse or a vole?
It's there,under the bird table.

I think it is a vole.

What ever it is, it's very bold and rather cheeky, almost walking over my feet when I was cleaning the bird table.
Now I'm on a mission to get a good photograph so that I can identify him/her. If only it would stay still long enough for me to focus my eyes on it, let alone time to focus the camera. This may take a while.


  1. When I was a lad I had to stick my arms out for my Mom to wind wool off. There was, if I remember correctly a sort of thing like a small wooden version of the fairground 'big-wheel'. Don't know what it was called?
    Can't help with the wee mouse. I wouldn't know the difference. :)

    1. I've seen pictures of the 'big wheel' skein winder, but I've never seen one in action.
      I think voles have shorter tails, smaller ears and a rounder shape than mice. :o)

  2. I'm glad you showed the niddy noddy, I have never seen one before. We have a tiny field mouse who comes to the bird table, I'd love to get a good pic, but so far, they are blurred.

    1. Kath, they move so quickly, by the time the camera is ready, they are gone. I look forward to seeing your mouse when you manage to get a good shot.

  3. Thanks for the niddy noddy picture and explanation, I've learned something new...now just have to drop it into conversation! I'm voting for vole.
    Jane x

    1. Isn't it a great name to drop into a conversation. I just like saying it - Niddy Noddy, Niddy Noddy. :o)

  4. That was definitely an ahh factor picture! I have no idea what it is but it is very cute.

    1. They are cute aren't they. I just hope they don't decide to join us in the house. :0)

    2. I am off to google the origins of niddy noddy!

    3. John, I think it's because of the movement it makes when it is in use. :o)

  5. Hi Doohie,
    As you may have guessed, I dig around in many places for old music that I can adapt and play on my organ. Well the other day I found this and thought you might be interested. (I was hoping to email you but don’t have the address).
    A reader wrote to a magazine - “ …..request from Mrs. Elizabeth Smart of Heston, Middlesex, for this ditty sung by wool spinners years ago as they wound the fleece round the "ruddy-noddy". which I gather is a sort of spool that fits on the wooden spinning frame. When the song was ended, she says, the spinners knew they had enough wool on the niddy-noddy to make a perfect hank.”
    “Just before Easter I received the answer from a reader "down under" - Barbara Phelps, who lives on a 4,000 acre sheep property at Gwabegar, in the north-western corner of New South Wales. One day last March she went to Sydney and found the magazine on sale in a shop. She bought it, read the request and, being a home spinner herself, recalled the song being mentioned in a book entitled The Joy of Spinning by Marilyn Kluger. It goes like this:

    Niddy Noddy, Niddy Noddy,
    Two heads, one body,
    Here's one, 'taint one,
    Twill be one bye and bye.
    Here's two, 'taint two,
    Twill be two bye and bye.
    Here's three, 'taint three
    Twill be three bye and bye
    etc, etc.

    Mrs. Phelps says that singing the song while winding the wool was a way of counting the rounds of yarn wound on the ruddy-noddy. One round of spun yarn was about two yards (no metric nonsense, of course, they were sensible in those days). By counting to 40, therefore, the spinners knew they had 80 yards of wool, which measurement is called a "knot". The simplest reel for winding yarn off a bobbin is a straight stick with crossbars at each end. But, she explains, put the crossbars at right angles to each other and they form a ruddy-noddy. You hold it with one hand in the middle of the centre stick and rock it to and fro, while guiding the yarn with the other hand. The yarn is wound in a circular motion going over and under the crossbars, while chanting "Niddy-Noddy, Niddy-Noddy" ... Mrs. Phelps even included a little drawing of the niddy-noddy in her letter.
    Cheers....Bernard (of Blog End)

  6. Interesting information Bernard. Thankyou. I'll try singing the song next time I use my niddy noddy. :-)