I spent part of last night in the company of a brown sheep. Well, if truth be told, it was really only his or her woolly coat, although it was probably shorn sometime this year so wasn’t that far gone from having hung off a barnyard friend. It looked like a sheep and smelled like a sheep. It was full of straw, that dirty little fleece. I declined to touch it – I was the only one.
I met this used-to-be-a-sheep at a hand spindle spinning class at my local rec centre. I learned how to separate – ‘draft’ – the fleece into fluffy bits that could be then spun onto a spindle. It was harder than I thought it was going to be to get it right. Luckily I wasn’t the only one that didn’t have the knack right away! Our spindles were made up of a chopstick with a small hook on one end and a potato on the other. It sounds ridiculous but it actually worked! Had I any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, one bag full! It was white, unlike the brown masses that they spread out before us to show us what fleece actually looks like straight off the sheep.
The instructor said we could take some of the brown fleece home to wash and spin but I declined. You’ve heard my cat adventures before – all I could imagine was the smell of dirty sheep being tracked and trailed by Calvin the curious cat, and I knew that I could never safely wash, spin dry, and air dry hunks of fleece in our tiny little apartment with our furry little feline friend stalking nearby. Everyone else took the hunks. They must be catless, or at least have a bigger house than I to devote a space in their homes to fleece-drying.
It was interesting to begin to learn how to spin. I have another class next week but that’s it. Has it piqued my interest? A bit. Will I continue spinning after this class? Not sure. The appeal of spinning my own yarn and making something amazing from it is definitely there, but I just don’t know if I have that kind of stick-to-it-iv-ness. Spinning is serious commitment. Especially at the rate that I do it currently. It was something that I hadn’t done before though and so know I now just a tiny bit more about it. And the next time I see a sheep – a real live one – I’ll look at it just a bit differently.