Friday, April 12, 2013


Last Wednesday, the second class in my eight-week Textiles 101 class for the homeschool co-op 6th graders, we started playing with fiber. (After an oral introduction to textiles, fibers, and the Industrial Revolution in the first class, I take the kids from sheep to 'shawl' in seven weeks.)

It's always entertaining to pass around dirty, greasy wool, then show them how quickly it transforms with hot water and soap into something clean and pretty, then how it transforms again when prepped for spinning. Everyone gets to try their hand at flick-carding locks, hand-carding batts and operating my Clemes and Clemes drumcarder (and yes, I explain that you can spin straight from the locks, clean or greasy).

My poor, neglected drum carder didn't cooperate, even though the kids had fun turning the crank and feeding it fiber. So yesterday I cleaned off the drums, reviewed the (minimal) directions, put a figure-8 in the drive band as instructed – and carded up a lovely, fluffy, two-ounce batt of light grey Shetland!

I got this carder at a very reasonable price from someone at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival years ago. I think I used it once and found it a tough and time-consuming process; I'm not sure I had the drive band on correctly then. But after yesterday, I am excited about using it much, much more! (Just as soon as I finish skirting fleeces....)

That fluffy batt begged to be used, of course, so this morning I pulled out a beautiful Big Leaf Maple Jenkins Delight I picked up in a destash and started spinning.

Other than plying the Gotland, this is the first spinning I've done this year. I'm so glad I'm teaching fiber arts this term; it's just the jump-start I needed!

Now before some of you say in the comments that you just don't know how I do it all, let me tell you that I don't. The bulk of my time and energy is still spent homeschooling my own son, followed by all the usual and necessary household and farm chores, client jobs, and volunteer work. All the fun stuff jostles for attention and is shoehorned into what little time remains, in drips and dabs. But those drips and dabs give me a creative outlet and add a different kind fulfillment to my life, and ensure that I will never, ever be bored. And those, my friends, are wonderful gifts. :-)

The "mitt machine" is still motoring along, too.

That's it for today from . . .


Thistle Cove Farm said...

The yarn on your "mitt machine" is lovely; I adore that "pison" green, Michelle.

Florida Farm Girl said...

It would be amazing to watch the processes involved from sheep to sweater.

Theresa said...

So glad you have had the Eureka moment with the drum carder. It looks like such a nice one. Great color for mitts!

Spinners End Farm said...

What a great class!

Leigh said...

Isn't it a delight to have a beautifully drum carded fleece!

Ziggy is still status quo. I'm thinking maybe next weekend. :)

Angela CG said...

Too bad I am not a 6th grader. I would have loved to take your class.