On our road trip to Maine last fall we carried two unusual items of cargo in our otherwise ordinary camper.
- A gigantic tote full of lambskins (to deliver to a natural tannery in Vermont) and
- Three huge bags of sheared wool from our flock, destined for Green Mountain Spinnery, also in Vermont.
We delivered both back in September and we've been waiting for their return with all the patience we could muster.
Yesterday the fiber boxes arrived!
Skein after skein of beautiful, soft, homegrown yarn from our very own fiber flock, plus a large box of scrap wool and roving that we can use to spin at home and to stuff dolls, pillows, and toys.
It's hard to adequately explain how this feels. To hold in my hands enough yarn to knit a sweater for every member of my family and then some – and know so well the sheep that it came from.
It's been a long time coming and I can hardly wait to cast on my first project.
Based on the advice of my fiber mentor and friend Kathryn, the first thing on our agenda was to wash the wool one more time to increase the softness and spring.
Into the bathtub it went with a bit of wool wash and the hottest water our water heater could muster. (Wool only felts in hot water with agitation or with changes in water temperature.) There it soaked for a bit before a second wash in clear water; then each skein was carefully hung to dry.
This morning I am amazed at how springy, soft, and delicious this yarn is. From my own flock!
I can hardly wait for spring to arrive so that we can forage some dyestuffs from our farm and woods. I also dried and froze some natural dye material last year (black hollyhock blossoms and pokeweed berries) that I can use in the meantime. Oh, my. This is going to be fun!
As for the roving, well, we have plans for that, too.
I pulled out my spinning wheel to try spinning a bit and before I knew it I had a helper in my lap. Soon she was working the wheel on her own. There's a steep learning curve to be sure, but Lupine isn't daunted.
And neither am I.
(You can see her working on her first spin here.)
Homegrown sweaters, here we come!