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14 June 2005



I love starting the process of spinning from the very beginning, which is why I started the list FleeceforSale on Yahoogroups. It was just my way of giving back to the fabulous farmers who raise and nurture those lovely sheep (and a great opportunity for those of us who love their wool to buy directly from them!). I love the smell of raw wool, and the way it feels while being washed up. I love carding the wool, and/or dyeing the wool too. The whole process from start to finish is one that I really enjoy.

There is nothing like that fresh sheepy smell when you open a bag of raw fleece! :)

That is my ode to wool.


Thou still unravished skein of quietness!
Thou foster-child of knit and purl time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A wooly tale more sweetly than our rhyme!

with multiple apologies to Mr. Keats.


I'm sorry, I can't get past the toilet-roll-holder Birch photo.

Or is it one of those cakes with a Barbie doll sticking out of the top?

Someone else clearly needs the sock yarn 1000% more than I! ;-)


I love Birch. It is so beautiful!


The picture of Birch leaves me speachless. I also just woke up so that might have something to do with it. I'll get back to you on the poetry.


I am a true wool addict thru and thru, but an "ode" maker, I am not....LOL.....I guess that Norma and I both will not be making socks :-))


i love the barbie cakes. what's wrong with the barbie cakes?

ode to wool, huh? i think mine is more just an addiction. buy it and stick it in the closet.


The best part would be if those flowers were artificial...then the picture of kitsch would be complete.


Artificial flowers and barbie cakes. I love your blog.

Alright, here is a poem from the Gracie collection. While it is not exactly an ode to wool, it is an ode--almost--to the little cuties that bring it to us...

Baby Lamb

Kind and sweet
Baby eyes that
Look up with surprise
Beautiful soft baby
Fur that glistens before
My wandering eyes

Little soft bahs
Softly breathing
In my arms

Bahing here and there
Almost everwhere

Why is he so small?
Why does his fur glisten?
His fur is like soft clouds
Floating down from heaven


by Gracie


Oooooo! Blue yarn!



There once was a sheep from Nantucket
Whose fleece was washed in a bucket
Then spun with a flair
Into gossamer hair
ahhh -- I'm not going to win, so f------

OOps wrong blog -- I'm blaming Norma --


Oooooooh, your Birch is so lovely! I tried to defy the heat last night and work on mine, but I just couldn't wrap my melting brain around even the purling rows, so it's going to have to wait for that massive thunderstorm that will make everything better. It's still coming, right? Right? Tell me about the rabbits, George...


I won't write poetry, because I write bad poetry and am not cruel enough to inflict it on you. I've never met a sheep in person, unless you count a petting zoo when I was about 4. My knowledge of different types of wool is smaller than I dreamed--I know this because, since I learned how to spin in December, I am now aware of how many different breeds of sheep there are that I've never heard of. But what I CAN say about wool is that there's nothing else I like to knit with so much as wool. I love its natural elasticity. It's insulating properties. The fact that it can be incredibly warm when it's cold, but that also it can be relatively cool when spun into little more than air and a little fiber. It can be coarse or super-fine and soft. It comes in a nice range of colors and can be dyed into even more. And let's not forget how well it plays with others. You can blend it with almost any other fiber and it just makes everything . . . happier. Even wool/cotton blends are nice, where knitting in pure cotton, for me, is anathema. Wool is just . . . the best!


Bah, bah black sheep. Have you any wool?

Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags ... Oops. Sorry, sir. There are spinners in town. Try the white sheep.

She's out, too.

Beth S.

I got two rows of Birch done last night before I had to call it quits. I had the fan on, and it kept blowing the working yarn right into my face, where it would catch annoyingly on my glasses. The stuff is lighter than air, after all; it was no match for the fan. So I was, alas, forced to put Birch away and turn to a pair of socks, which can stand up to the climate-controlling impedimenta. And wouldn't you know it? Those socks are WOOL socks. Wool: the year-round, handy-dandy fiber. Wool: it's what's for knitting. Even in a heat wave.



Ok......here goes........

Here comes Peter Cottontail......., the ode part....

did you know that bunny wool is 7 times warmer than sheep wool? Not all wool has to be sheep's wool ;-))


I'm going to come up with something clever, I swear. For now I'm laughing so hard I snorted water up my nose. Norma's influence strikes again.

Although I'm with you ... can't seem to get into that bundle of cotton yarn I've got.


When I was about 17 or 18 my mother asked me, out of the blue, if I would like to learn to spin wool into yarn. I said yes.

She took me to a place in Croton-on-Hudson in lower upstate (does that make sense?) New York to a shop in a woman's house where I learned to card wool into rolags and spin it on a wheel. I had about 3 or 4 hours of total training. I thought it was the coolest thing. Then mom said "Do you want a spinning wheel?" I said I did and we looked at the wheels the proprietor had for sale.

I picked out my wheel based on the way my bare foot fit into the footprint that was worn into the treadle. The wheel was $225 or so and I promised to put my summer camp money ($75.) toward it and my mom paid the balance.

Footprint worn into the treadle? The wheel, she said, was 214 years old. Let's say it was in 1976. That's as good a guess as any. That makes my original wheel (which I still have) 243 years old.

I had the wheel refurbished about 3 years ago but didn't have the gentleman make me a new bobbin. I can't spin on the wheel because the bobbin wood is so friable that it crumbles with the barest pressure.


I learned how to spin before I fully understood how to knit. Moving to Maine, it seemed every other person had sheep, spins, or used to. It didn't take long before I had to give it a try. My first attempt with my friend Margie's wheel was comical -- all hands and feet and the gnarliest first yarn you ever saw. But then she gave me a drop spindle, and after a few minutes declared that I had been a spinner in a previous life, which is not too far from the truth, as my grandmother spun flax as a young girl in Czechoslovakia. I had always been searching for a hobby (besides reading) that enthralled me, and have tried nearly every craft. Nothing stuck the way spinning (and to a lesser extent, knitting) has. I love all the things that are possible with fibers...the colors, textures, smells, the fact that I can make my own yarn. Bliss.

Jo in Ottawa

I'm not reading everyone else's first...

I love that wool is so variable. I can be very fine and great for soft lacy things. Or really heavy and warm for cold autumn days (remember, where I am no amount of wool is going to deal with cold winter days without completely immobilizing you; that's why the Inuit don't have a knitting tradition, I guess). While what you do with it can add texture, wool itself has different textures. It can be soft or scratchy, smooth or hairy. Washing it can change it, softening a scratchy wool or even felting the fibres into a whole new texture. The possibilities are endless.

Jo in Ottawa

Do I still get into the contest if I have no intention of knitting socks with that yarn if I win. It looks like lovely shawl material to me. :-)


While that is some seriously nifty sock yarn, poetic I'm not. I'll not be knitting socks with Norma and Kim :)


birch is coming along nicely!!!!

here's my ode - there's a picture, so I figured it'd be easier to put the link here. (might need to scroll up - sometimes blogger brings you to the bottom of the page)



I know I was here once today already but with all this talk of spinning I had to relate this story (can you tell I am blogless). My students are taking a social studies test (first grade) and the question asks "which of these things do you do today?" A. spin woool to make clothing; B. watch television; C. ride a horse to school

Now I don't have a television but I also don't spin although my sister does ...


That picture is hysterical! A whole new direction for you . . .

No wool poetry, but it has helped save my life. My husband and I separated 5 years ago, but never got around to doing the divorce work. I didn't date for over 3 years after the split. When I did start, I managed to get into a truly horrible relationship with a very seductive and sadistic man. The relationship ended after 1 1/2 years, on a Friday, and my husband served me with divorce papers on the following Sunday. I also had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from childhood abuse. I had an incredible amount of depression and anxiety and panic attacks. I hadn't knitted in years, and something made me dig out my stuff, and it's kept me sane during the healing process. I am knitting socks for my son's special teachers for end of the school year presents. And I'm going to teach a 2 week class to middle schoolers this summer. And I've been able to make some wonderful knitting friends, including Ryan and TMK, Karen of Two Swans, June, Mary B, and some other wonderful Seattle knitters. Knitting is helping change my life. (um, it has made me put on a little weight, but that's the only down side)

Wish I could write limericks. :-P

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