Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I AM IN LOVE. I REPEAT, I AM IN LOVE. Not with peacocks, but I like those too. I am in love with fleece. Yes, dear friends, I am now the proud owner of not 1, but 2 full fleeces. I am delighted, ecstatic and can hardly wait to get at it.

We went to Debbie Dull's sheep farm in Eggleston, VA today. Made it a family affair. The invite came thru the RV/spin/knit group. To all my friends who missed. I am sorry.

I have to tell you something. I have a dirty mind. I am not proud of it, but truth is truth. There were 2 shearers. A father and son, they paid us ladies no mind. But I tell you. They could man handle a sheep. I was taken a bit aback. I even took a picture of the 1st position they put the sheep into. Do you know where they put the sheeps hoove? In their crotch. yes, crotch. Sheep are not weak and I would imagine, unpredictable. One small slip and ....................... I didn't show you a picture because that would be TMI.

I got some great advice there on how to scour a fleece. THE WASHING MACHINE!!! Yes, this is yet another great use for the wonderful appliance. I filled the tub with a ton of Dawn and the hottest h20 I could come up with, then I gently put in 'Brother'. (Yes, I have named both fleeces. Brother and Gwyneth. ) I let Brother soak for 30 minutes, spun him out and then did a rinse of hot water and some essential oils. Lavender, thyme, and rosemary. My house smells like an herb bower. Oh yeah, my washing machine is peppered with dirt from the sheep. It wiped out easily with a dirty t-shirt that was waiting to be washed.

As I laid out my freshly scoured fleece on 4 plastic garbage bags (hoping animals don't find this attractive to lay on), I ran and found my unused hand carders. Then, I sorted and found 'almost dry' bits and began to learn to card. I know, I know, I should have waited until it was dry, but I couldn't help myself. I also spun some up. It looks fabulous. All natural, multi-colored, and sexy.

This is the picture of Debbie skirting one of her 60+ Shetlands. I can't tell you how kind and gracious fiber people are. They didn't know me but were quick to get excited for me because I knew nothing about fleeces and that they were educating me. Learned all kinds of interesting things like how the Ashford wheels are difficult to spin on. *New flash* I have one. Maybe this will be an excuse to same my duckets for something easier!!1

I was greatly amused (oh yes, I am easily amused and proud of it), as were my children to see dogs snuffling the discarded fleeces and odd bits. It must have smelled divine, actually, I thought it smelled pretty great myself. Me who DOES NOT like perfume, likes the animal smell of fleece. No, it doesn't smell like sheep poo and pee. Just like animal.

This is what I bought. This is Brother. He is multicolored and gorgeous. Can't wait to show more pix of what he looks like as I card and spin and ultimately knit.

Believe it or not, I am considered weird by most 21st century folk. I make bread, yogurt, soap, home school, and now spin. But there is something elemental about each of these activities that speak to my soul. They speak to who I am ultimately.

Today, as I was learning what 'skirting' was and being educated on how to scour a fleece, I realized that one or more were going home with me. I couldn't help myself. I had to have that wool in my home. I had this sense of connection with other women of the world past and present. We who bake bread and spin wool for our families. It was just basic, but so profound at the same time. Wool is renewable resource. In this day and age of disposable diapers, wipes, pre-made food, TV, wireless, cell phones, etc.... It is good to just remember that I am a human.

So, my hands are still soft from the lanolin that didn't come all the way out of my fleece. No matter. I love it. My hands smell earthy and nice.


Diana said...

Wow! I am so, so jealous! We should have gone to that place as well. What a geat field trip and I would have bought a fleece too. Yep, even though I am without my wheel. I practically boo-hoo-ed reading your post!! I've always thought that I was born in the wrong century! HEy, I need to share a bread recipe with you.

Robin said...

WooHoo...sounds like you guys had a GREAT time! Sorry I missed it! Work calls...especially after being sick!

IndigoMuse said...

Lucky girl! While I've scoured several fleece over the last couple of years, I have yet to put one in the washer. Just can't bring myself do it and I love washing them by hand in my sink. I too love the smell of fleece. For some reason, I thought they were shearing merinos too. Or am I just confused?