Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lanolin Dreams

Back in September I went up north to spend the weekend with my Dad's wife, Chris. The reason was the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival.

VT Sheep and Wool is a small festival that held several delights. One of these delights was a sheep shearing demonstration. The demonstration sought to illustrate how old "skool" tools work, rather than the art of shearing. The docents used a hand cranked shearing tool. It was extremely labor intensive.


VT Sheep & Wool Shearing demo

VT Sheep & Wool Shearing demo

While the demonstration was fun, Chris's being able to walk away with the fleece, free of charge, was priceless. That they gave it away surprised us so much, I realized later I never got a decent picture of the completely shorn (shorn is so a word, blogger!) fleece.

I was further surprised, and deeply impressed, that Chris was over the moon with the prospect of transforming that greasy, feces encrusted pile of mess into spinning fiber. My sensory idiosyncrasies bar the thought of such a thing, never mind the the deed.

Throughout September and October I received updates from Chris telling me I'd better be ready to inherit a lot of fleece. When we finally made it back up for the Thanksgiving weekend, she made good on her threat.


VT fiber

She carded the wool with samples of merino. I walked away with about half of this booty, effort and remuneration free. (Although Santa has been instructed to send a set of Knit Pick's harmony wood option needles her way.)

One of the afternoons of our visit was spent spinning this wool. I was pretty nervous about it, though. Back in August I had had a lot of difficulty plying some 100% merino. For three months I lamented bitterly over it. With each passing week a fear grew: Do I hate spinning. Do I? Could it be? If it's true, then I am a selfish goober to take Chris up on her offer of the wheel only to let it sit idle in a corner while some deserving person who wants to spin goes wheel-less.

Oh the recriminations were potent and never ending. That is one thing I AM good at. And yet, when we took to our wheels to spin, I was like a fish returned to water. All my (imagined) discomfort twirled away with each inch of spun fiber. Within the week I had spun and plied two new fibers, as well as finished plying that pesky 100% merino:


handspun December

Foreground: 100% blue faced leicester from Moonlight and Laughter, which I purchased at VT Sheep and Wool;
Mid(?) ground: 100% merino from Mind's Eye Yarn; and
Background: Unknown fiber from VT Sheep and Wool chased with a sampling of colored merino.

While these "set" I've got plenty (read: far too much!) gift knitting to get to.

1 comment:

Knitting Kris said...

Oh, I know nothing about spinning (although I have a wheel - albeit ? functional one) in the attic. For shame on me for never checking if it's functional. It was handmade by a local artisan, which makes the story even worse. See, you are not the only one with the guilt-thing going.....The wool looks lovely, and I've a desire to knit with handspun....someday!

 

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