I had planned to be in London taking care of my mother for most of October, but Covid has made any kind of travel impossible. Being here, however, allowed for participation in the Farm to Fiber Tour. I had my doubts: other than peerless views and a lovely barn and adorable sheep, I had little to show by way of actual wool. Past shearings had been sold to Tammy at Wing and a Prayer Farm, and I only had the current shearing’s raw fleece on hand. Battenkill Fibers had spun some of my Shetland wool into lovely yarn that was a rich creamy color. But that was it.
Luckily, my friend and fellow shepherd, Sheila, came to the rescue, and agreed to sell some of her beautifully hand dyed Romney yarn here. So, armed with that, and keeping my fingers crossed for good weather, I joined the tour and set up shop on what promised to be a glorious Fall weekend – one of those picture perfect, upstate New York days of clear blue skies, and sunshine enough to reveal the glory of our foliage season.
Enough visitors showed up to make the effort worthwhile, and the conversations I had with knowledgable shepherds and knitters were so interesting. Truth to tell, I have dropped the ball when it comes to moving on in my learning process of all things wool: washing, carding, and spinning to begin with. This past year of sheeping has been all about the care of my flock itself, and how to do the daily hard work of it by myself – regardless of weather (no small effort, as it turned out, given the Winters of upstate New York).
Meeting practitioners and devotees of spinning, dyeing, knitting, and weaving was inspirational. So, at the end of the tour, while packing up the fleeces and wool I did not sell (Auggie’s and Jasper’s most recent fleeces – Cotswold and Wenslydale – did sell, much to my astonishment), I committed myself to shifting my focus to wool stuff and actually doing all that I was reading and researching how to do.
And then, as though she had read my mind and knew of my new intentions, a friend dropped off a bag of gorgeous marigolds just begging for a dye pot to begin their second life as the source of color for my already spun wool. This week’s work can now begin!