Spinning a Yarn

I have been wanting to learn to spin ever since I bought some wool at a garage sale on a whim.  Recently I managed to get a local lady to come and demonstrate spinning at the church craft group.  A couple of other locals came along to have a go too and we all got to have a good laugh at our bumbling attempts, and got some good advice about how to learn.  Then last week I found a second hand wheel in Deloraine for a great price and couldn’t resist buying it.  It runs really nicely.

I think it is just amazing that you can turn a sheep fleece into one long line of thread!

And I have just finished spinning my first skein!  See, I am getting into the lingo already.  🙂  A skein is basically just two lengths of spun wool which have been twisted together (2 ply I guess, but much thicker than the machine made variety).  Admittedly it is fairly thick and chunky, but I am very pleased.

Lydia is now knitting me a scarf from it, and I am attempting to spin a finer thread.  I really enjoy doing it and with a shearer for a neighbour I figure I shouldn’t have too much trouble getting wool, but I just have to be careful not to overdo it or I get a sore back.  If I get good I think I will have a go at spinning alpaca wool too.  Such fun!

I had a change of pace yesterday when our farmer neighbour came and asked for help tagging his calves.  He was in a bit of trouble as his planned helper couldn’t come and he had to prepare the calves to be collected by the end of the day.  I think he really must have been running out of options to come and ask for our help.  🙂  Of course no one else was well enough to go but me, so off I went in my wellington boots into the fray.  And it was an interesting experience.  The calves were all about 9-10 months old and still with their mums, so we had to separate them out and run them through the crush one at a time to weigh them and put in the ear tags.  Thankfully the farmer knew what he was doing!  Most of them weighed between 350 and 450 kg and they had never been handled in their lives so were pretty feisty at times.  It was quite amazing how much you could get these big critters to do just by whistling, yelling and waving around a piece of poly pipe.  Certainly they could be quite dangerous if they wanted to, and I was under strict orders to jump up the fence if they showed signs of not running away, and you had to keep your eyes on them all the time, but mostly they just wanted to keep their distance.  It was not something I would want to do often, but it was certainly an interesting experience and thankfully I came home unscathed – if a little muddy.

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