That Sheep Stuff

I work with wool.  I used to shear sheep, (way back when I lived on a farm), and I still do everything else.  I may get back into shearing someday…  just… not today.

Anyway.  So I do the whole thing, washing, spinning, washing, dying… ect.  And I wanted to share a little bit of that with you.

Possibly because yesterday I decided I was tired of my poncho and I wanted to take it out and remake it.  I do that with things that stick around too long…  It’s  a flaw of mine.

So… you start with a sheep.

This is my mother with one of her lambs.  Not a newborn, this one is probably a year old.  I think she was at a camp demonstration.  And don’t be fooled.  They’re not usually this nice.

Moving on, you start with a sheep.  Then you shear a sheep.

I wish I had a more current picture of shearing sheep.  However, this is the only one I have of me.  And technically, it’s of my sister doing the actual shearing, while I help.  This was the first time we’d ever attempted such a feat, so there wasn’t any of that cool, “one person against animal” thing going on.  It was totally a team effort.

Yes, it is as gross as it looks.

From the sheep, you get a lovely fleece that you pick out all the really gross stuff.  I don’t have a picture of that… I have pictures of bags of raw wool.  Deal with it.

Insert (with your imagination) a picture of raw wool sitting in a bathtub full of filthy water.

Thank you.  That was the first washing.  You can look up pictures of that online if you’re that interested.

Do that about three more times.

Now, you can then card the wool, turning it into soft smooth fluff.  I don’t do this unless I have to.  I like to spin straight from the fleece.  I think it gives the yarn more character.

This is me, spinning at a farmers market when I was a teenager.  Yes I really wore those jeans.  Yes I also made them.

Quit staring at them.  I thought they were awesome.

So you spin your wool up into yarn.  (This was all spun by me.)  and you wash it again.  (This stuff is drying after being washed and dyed.  We’ll go into dying some other day, it’s a whole post in and of itself.)

Now, you can think about making things.

Like that…

Or like that…  only that’s the one I unraveled yesterday…

I had a new pattern idea and had to try it.  I figured, what better way to start than with mine?

Progress so far.  We’ll see how it goes.

Yes I did have to put a baby picture in.


About Tabi

I love the simple things in life, like, wearing skirts and going barefoot. Cooking glorious meals to feed friends and family. Trying to find healthy food at the grocery store on a limited budget. Spinning wool, (yes that's from sheep and goats and llamas), crocheting, and weaving. Picking fresh produce out of a garden, pouring real maple syrup over pancakes, and making a warm and loving home for my family. However, I don't use only whole wheat flour. I do not take reusable grocery bags to the store with me. I indulge in boxed meals when I must. I prefer sugar to honey. I do not shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or Earth Fare except on very special occasions when I have extravagant amounts of money to spend. I HATE cloth diapers. I believe in breastfeeding babies, but not until they're five. I buy pre-made baby food. Somewhere in all this, I want to find the balance between the fanatical and the uncaring. Somehow, I hope to settle on doable.
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