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Spinning Yarns

Posted by Elizabeth Farrell on

I made some time the other day to get back to a project that had been waiting for a few years. Truth be told, the moths forced me.

Taking a break from bottling maple syrup, elderberry apple shots, and apple ginger syrup, and growing our own food, isn't easy, but if I didn't, I would've lost this incredible fiber that our sheep provided to us.

We don't have any sheep at the moment, but this is wool from the small flock of Suffolk ewes we kept for a while. After having them on the farm, they felt very natural here, maybe because the English colonists who settled in Lyme (read more here) brought them, and even had a local mill here in the town (current population ~2,000). This was the "grand dame" of the flock, known as Nancy (after my grandmother):

best maple syrup at Fat Stone Farm

I taught myself (with the help of Madison Wool, in Madison CT) how to wash, card, and spin their fleece into yarn. I also had to re-learn how to knit. It felt (no pun intended) ancient and grounded, a direct link to the sun which grew the grass which the sheep ate who grew this fiber. Even though YouTube provided some of the tutorials, it all started with the sunshine.

I kept the fleece in the basement, washing it in the summer with the left-over hot water from canning, and using the heat of the sun to dry it, then carding and spinning in the winter. Only I got a little behind, and the moths eventually found my stash.

I kept it in the hot, sunny greenhouse for a while to kill the moths and their larvae. I think the 100F+ temps will do it, and here's hoping for some great, new, moth-less socks this winter.

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