Tag Archives: sheep

Spinning lesson #2

Second week of spinning lessons using the drop spindle.  This time we worked at“spinning in the grease”… using raw wool shorn right off of my brother-in-law Ryan’s happy flock of sheep from their farm (http://lauridellacres.com/index.html).  (We see them every week, and to me they look like very happy sheep- grazing away with nary a care in the world… ah, to be a sheep.)  It is definitely a different experience than spinning the roving of alpaca I started working with last week.

Couple of thoughts:

Pros:

1.         My hands have NEVER been softer.  The lanolin that exists in the natural state of this raw wool is an incredible moisturizer for dry, rough winter skin.

2.         Being so very new at learning to draft the fleece, spinning in the grease did seem easier to do, as the fibers so readily “stuck” to one another.  It took a little work at first to understand the process of folding the fleece so that the tips were in the inside and I was spinning from the “cut side”- which moved the spinning along with much less frustration!

Cons:

1.         You have to REALLY dig the smell of sheep, seriously, because you and everything around you is going to smell like a sheep.  (Of course, perhaps you do love that smell, and this would be a“Pro” in your list.)

2.        You have to spend a lot more time “connecting” or adding in the pieces when it’s raw than from a carded roving…which can be a wee bit trying on your patience when you are new at it and really want to see some yarn spinning before your eyes.

3.         Did I mention that you will smell like a sheep?

So…I am glad to have had a chance to learn this technique, and appreciate the idea of a beautiful skein of wool that has been created from this most natural state… and the amazingly soft skin on my hands right now, but I think I’m going to switch back to my pile of roving and see what I can spin with it.

Happy Spinning!


an early mother’s day

I witnessed my first birth today.  A quick stop at the farm to check on lunch plans with my sister-in-law turned into a “before my eyes” moment as a baby lamb entered the world.  I’ve never seen that before… and I have 2 kids of my own (c-section births left me with a different perspective of the “becoming a mother” experience).  The ewe needed assistance because the lamb was positioned the wrong way, and my sister-in-law acted pretty bravely jumping in to turn it properly so the ewe could deliver.   What an amazing sight: birth. New Life.  Watching the ewe tend to her newborn so instinctively was such an affirmation of motherhood.

And then I saw her turn on the 1st twin, the one that had been delivered just a lit bit earlier.  As that lamb sought out her mother’s milk, the ewe acted out in aggression, spurning it time and again.  It broke my heart a little.  She just completely refused one baby, while protecting and caring for the other!

Okay, I know…I KNOW it was a sheep. I get that. This is the way it works and nature has a way… but the mom in me was horrified.  The lamb will be fine.  My sister and brother-in-law will take care of it, and there are lots of other sheep that will most likely take it on as one of their own, so it will be just fine.

So today’s lesson was a good one: The beauty and cruelty of nature.

Those lambs are damn cute.


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