Spinners & Weavers Festival and the Suburban Woolen Mill

Thursday, August 19, 2010

spin wool

I am so excited. I found a booth at the county fair for a spinners and weavers guild in our area. I had a great time visiting with the ladies and talking about sheep and wool and spinning. As it turns out they are having a fiber festival this coming weekend, not too far from where I live. There will be workshops and demonstrations, spinning contests and all kinds of vendors with just the right supplies for the new and experienced spinner. I guess you know where I’ll be come Saturday.

Brianne and I are sheep girls, pure and simple. From early morning feedings to shearing to lambing, even lamb on the BBQ, we love it all. It’s been a long time since we’ve had flocks that graze and ewes that lamb, but we still have sheep – market lambs and freezer lambs at least. But what we miss the most is the bi-annual shearing; long days spent relieving our flock of their long woolen coats. When our flock was at its peak we could shear the whole group (45 rams and ewes) in one day. Not quite a record that will land us any kudos at professional shearing competitions, but still respectable, I think.

As we peeled fleeces off each ewe we inspected it for quality. We primarily raised replacement ewes and market lambs of the Suffolk breed. Not the best for wool production, but still useful enough for homestead needs. Select fleeces, those with enough crimp and color, were set aside to either be exhibited at fleece competitions or processed into yarn.

At first it seems intimidating, the processing of wool into yarn. It seems like such a complicated process. But, it’s really not. In fact, the process is pretty straightforward. It may take several hours from start to finish, but once you master your own routine you’ll be able to create yarns to your liking. And, when you knit or crochet a hat or scarf from your own hand processed wool you’ll know every twist of the process.

To learn more about turning fleece into fiber check out these useful links:



For New Englanders wanting a whole weekend of fleece and fiber indulgence check out the Dutchess County (NY) Sheep and Wool Growers festival in Rhinebeck New York, October 16 & 17, 2010.

And, this step-by-step video

Creative Commons License photo credit: marlana

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