"She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff." Proverbs 31:19 (KJV)
Okay, what's a distaff? Here's how Wikipedia defines it:
As a noun, a distaff (also call a rock) is a tool used in spinning. It is designed to hold the unspun fibers, keeping them untangled and thus easing the spinning process. It is most commonly used to hold flax, and sometimes wool, but can be used for any type of fiber.
The traditional form is a staff, typically mounted as an attachment to a spinning wheel. It is placed next to the bobbin, where it will be in easy reach of the spinner. The fiber is wrapped around the staff, and tied in place with a piece of ribbon or string. More recently, hand-spinners have begun using wrist-distaffs to hold their fiber; these are made of flexible material such as braided yarn, and can swing freely from the wrist.
So, it's a tool to help a person spin wool. This verse is talking once again about the godly woman who works hard with her hands. It's speaking of resourcefulness and the ability to do her job. I would imagine that she had to learn how to spin. Who would have taught her?
In past times, the jobs that women have traditionally done in the home were taught to them by their mothers, grandmothers, older aunts and other relatives. Sometimes older women in the church or in the community taught them.
Younger women were eager to learn these skills. It meant that they would be women that men would want to marry. It would ensure that they would have someone to take care of them.
In today's society I see the so called womenly arts fading away. Younger women no longer want to learn to spin (or sew or knit or can fruits and veggies). The older women are often rude and not willing to show the younger women who would eagerly learn these things how to do them.
Being keepers of the home is taking on a whole new meaning these days.