Some time ago as we minded an art exhibit I watched my friend Maria as she used her spinning wheel. I didn’t think to film even though I was fascinated by her expertise which I witnessed especially in the gesture she uses when adding wool to the thread. She is aware of each fiber.
This week she gave a demonstration to a group of people who study French and English. I was happy to be able to attend and try using the video function on our camera. The movement I wanted to capture is at about the 6:05 moment.
She had a very nice exhibit set up including samples of wool, drawings of sheep, knitted items and more. There were two identical sweaters except that one had been washed and the other not. She prefers to spin unwashed wool. The unwashed sweater was created for a Guinness record “from sheep to shoulder”. Maria spun while 4 women knitted and in under 2 hours (1 hour, 55 minutes and some seconds) Maria was clothed in a new sweater.
One day Maria was struck by the beauty of some Virginia creeper which inspired her to make a scarf in those colours, dying the wool with onion skins. Another day she saw a splendid caterpillar which she immediately captured by painting it; the ensuing sweater is magnificent.
I hope you enjoy this video. I combined several “episodes” and some photos.
Some friends of ours have some of the small Ouessant sheep. They don’t shear them; bits of wool drop off by themselves as the animals brush up against plants, shrubs, trees, fences. One of the sheep managed to shed his entire fleece so my friend gave it to me along with other bits she gathered. These bits have quite an amount of grass, moss, and—what is that? Could it be a bug? !!! DJ, wake up to reality, this is an animal’s hair, it has been out in the field, rolling around.
I borrowed the tools for carding from another friend. My plan is to make felt and then a hat. I got advice from friends and googled making felt and carding wool. Vive youtube!
What you see in the bag is the untouched wool as it was gathered, the bit lying on the carder has been picked over to get rid of anything that doesn’t look like wool, and in the box is the nice fluffy carded fiber. Little puffs of dust rise as I card; I am doing this outside so I will only work on it when the weather permits.
Several feelings motivate me for this project. One is probably the feeling of getting something for nothing although it will actually take a lot of time and patience on my part. Another is the pleasure of making something by hand and giving it to someone else (the hat will be for my husband). Another is a desire to keep alive techniques painstakingly discovered through the ages. I remember our guide at the chateau de Versailles lamenting that they couldn’t find anyone to repair some of the furniture there as the techniques used have been lost. Also it seems like a gift from the Creator to be able to make something with stuff picked up off the ground.
“Have I ever set a price for My Salvation? Have I not given it to all men in return for efforts of penitence which is joy to pious men, which is not heavier than the usurer’s worries, which is lighter than the wealthy one’s and the mighty one’s yoke?
Along My Paths toward My Heights bees work hard for all men.
Why senselessly manufacture honey and wax in workshops?
At their foot My Almond trees spread their fruit; the partridge does not require payment for its meat, neither does the goat for its milk.
I make oil gush for (making) fire, I spread the earth’s surface with lead and copper for all men in return for efforts to collect and dress them.
Do I not give the tile from clay in return for efforts to bake it?”
Two Leaves and Five Bobbles
for the man whose mind bloggles
A friend of mine’s husband would like to make a coverlet from squares donated by different people from all over. This is a square (not really very square now that I look at it lined up with the edges of the scanner’s box) I made for him. It is wool from sheep that a friend of mine raised “ Manx Loaghton “ a rare breed from the Isle of Man. This is the colour of the wool naturally — it is not dyed. I’m going to make a vest for my husband out of this wool also.
If you like to knit and think it sounds like fun to contribute to the “throw” project, here is a link to the blog presenting it: