Spinning Frolic, Cloverville, Antigonish County, 1932

L-R Mamie Cashen, Mary Kate (Mrs. Walter) Grant, Mrs. A. G. Stronach, Annabell (Mrs. Angus) MacNeil, JunieCashen, Mary Jane (Mrs. Dan) MacLellan. Courtesy of Antigonish Heritage Museum. Restoration: Jeff Parker.   Banner 2 - Fjp-Spinning Frolic Cashin 442 KB

Stanley-Blackwell and MacLean (2004) capture the essence of the spinning frolic as a force for community health, and the overlaps among the social determinants of health:

The frolic represented a distinctive attitude to work, for it turned a utilitarian task into an occasion for social interaction. … In many Scottish communities, work, community and kinship converged as women shared the burdens of making blankets and winter clothing. … The spinning frolic was usually held during the summer, between sowing and harvest time. The women would arrive at a neighbourhood home in the morning carrying their spinning wheels under their arms. As the wheels hummed, the women punctuated their work with lively conversation, song, and frequent cups of tea. By early evening, most of the rolls of wool were transformed into skeins of thread.   (p. 120)


Posted in Cooperative Arts and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. Hello,
    Regarding the photo of “The Spinning Frolic” taken in Cloverville, 1932:
    My family (Alex and Stangenberg) and I moved to the old Stronach farm in Cloverville in 1962. We met our closest neighbors, Billy and Mamie Cashen, an elderly brother and sister combo, who ran a small scaled-down farm just up the hill from us. Occasionally we visited them and were always welcomed with a cup of tea. I recall Mamie complaining that dial phones were newfangled and not for her. Eventually they left the farm and retired to live elsewhere. I am not sure if one or the other died on the farm. However, I do question the identification of Mamie Cashen in the photo. The first lady (identified as Mamie Cashen) appears to be an old lady in 1932, and could therefore not still have been alive in 1962. I would suspect that Mamie is the fifth lady from the left, not the first. I never met a Junie Cashen, so am guessing that she would possible be the first lady -i.e., the names of the Cashen women should be reversed . Thanks . ~Karin Alex Fleuren

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *