Fiber Friday - Fleece to Fabric
Happy Fiber Friday!
I spent much of today playing with silk dyes with the staff of the Puyallup Quality Sewing store. We had a good time dyeing scarves and generally creating beautiful stuff. I'm offering the classes there next in early October. Should be fun!
I was thinking about fleece today because yesterday I turned in my niece's 4-H educational posters for her and helped judge the other 4-H posters for several hours. One of her posters showed a life cycle (with photos) of fleece, from being sheared from the sheep, to washing/carding, spinning, knitting and finished garment. It was a very simple illustration of the process but nonetheless effective.
In this age where high-tech 'eco fibers' are such a hot topic, I can't help to feel rebellious and constantly point out the obviously 'eco friendly' fibers that have been with humanity for thousands of years (and don't require a degree in chemistry to make them possible). I find it a little discouraging that when I am helping to demonstrate spinning at local fairs, the attitude of much of the public is something to the order of 'oh, how quaint and old fashioned'. I always make sure to explain to the kids (kids are fascinated by spinning wheels - I know I was) that every thread in the clothing that they are wearing was spun in a similar fashion, except by automated machinery. That usually gets them thinking.
I really do love technology (I'm a geek, remember?) but I also think that it is important to remember 'how things are done'. When something happens such as a loss of electricity for an extended period of time, it's just amazing how incredibly helpless and vulnerable most people become. We forget how to do things for ourselves - it may be old fashioned but it doesn't mean it isn't a valuable skill that should be retained.
There's just something very comforting in being able to raise the sheep, shear the sheep (something the sheep are always happy to have done - they're so cute when they're freshly sheared!), wash and card the fibers, spin them into yarn and then either weave it into fabric (which of course I am able to sew into garments) or knit it into a garment.
So I am grateful for the opportunities I've had to learn about fleece and how to use it. And of course I am grateful to my niece's sheep - Harriett and Esmeralda (don't blame her; I suggested the names) for their incredible natural colored Romney fleeces. They are truly a joy to handle.