Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spinning a Yarn

Harriet is our newest sheep. She is a coloured Merino that would have been killed if the farmer had not known that Michelle collected outcasts. She was promised to us but before she came she was shorn. So she arrived with a bag of wool. This is the first wool to be spun that has come from one of our own sheep. Nearly all our sheep are Wiltshire Horn sheep so they self-shed. This is great for the ease of producing sheep for meat but not so much use for spinning.  
Michelle and the Lazy Susan

We have a carding machine on loan so we fetched this out from the shed and cranked it up. It seems a remarkable efficient and effective way to make the wool into a form that can be spun.
Michelle has now spun two spindles worth of wool and plyed them into a two strand yarn. In the photo she is raveling the yarn around a device called a 'lazy susan' which makes the yarn into a skein which is washed before being rolled into a ball. I think these terms are the correct ones but please forgive my ignorance if I am inaccurate. 
It is a lengthy process and reminds me of the effort that was put into making woollen clothes before machines and sweatshops made it cheaper and quicker but far more distant from the life of the wearer. When Michelle has created enough balls of wool to knit something to wear to keep warm in winter it will be very special indeed and will tell a story of Harriet, her fleece and the effort that was needed to make it.

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