Thursday, April 11, 2013

All things wool

Ooh it’s so exciting.

We now have an amazing drum carder AND both of my spinning wheels are up and running AND at last I have conquered the use of the drop spindle.

We have got about 2/3 through the fleece and now with the drum carder we can whizz through and yet still be using our own bodies as the energy.  While our lovely Tina had a perfectly good and reasonable argument for the use of the hand carders, there are some of us who find using the hand carders hard on joints and S l o w………

The drum carder is still painstaking but the size of the batt is immensely satisfying and the carder itself is really great.  It is, for any out there who are interested, a “Classic Carder” in oak of course!  Here is the link if you are interested.

Isn’t it beautiful? 

And what about my spinning wheels?  They are both Ashford’s and beautiful too. My older one needed TLC after living in the loft with unruly boys who didn’t appreciate their intrinsic beauty.  Poor thing needed a new orifice bracket, new brake band knob, new flyer, (goodness knows where that could have gone, it is so big after all) and a new leather bit for the footman.  I spent some time looking on the internet for the right bits and supplier of said bits,  then I contacted them by phone.  What a delightful couple they were.  They run a spinning and weaving centre called Hilltop and their names were Sue and Bill Chitty.  You can find them on
I had the most lovely phone call ever and it was more like chatting to friends than suppliers.
Any way, the parts were ordered and duly came along and now it is altogether beautiful and working. 
The other one just needed a good polish up. 
Lovely lavender polish.

Well we had fun…. Well I did anyway.  And here are some pictures to show us using the bits and pieces mentioned.  Now I am the one behind the camera so don’t go looking for me okay?

 We carded using both the hand carders and the drum carder.  We spun using the drop spindle and wheels and I took some pictures.

Heath and Radish also had a go with the drop spindle but I forgot to take pictures and will try to get  some the next time for you. However, here is a great picture of Radish using the hand carders, doesn’t he look grand with my piny on?

Everyone had a go at the drum carder and here is Michael, looking up at just the wrong time.  I was trying to capture him concentrating and of course the fleece has already gone through on to the drum. 
Why am I so pleased?  So satisfied about all of this?  Because who knows when/if the old skills may needed to be used again and of course they are of value in their own right.  These skills at the very least develop a true appreciation for the process and product produced. We so easily purchase goods in the shops if we have the money, but we are totally divorced from the real work that goes into them.

When the energy to produce anything comes from your own body, a part of you is intrinsically integral to its makeup.  This is as true of a garment, or handmade machine, as it is of cooking.

For many years my gran used to say “Better a dinner of herbs cooked with love than a banquet cooked without.”  She is not here to say that any more but I say it now because now I really understand what that means.  I used to often share a simple bowl of bean soup and wholemeal bread with homemade butter with an amazing lady called Molly.  It was always a simple meal as she lived frugally, but do you know what?  I remember those shared bowls of soup with such fondness and a sense of fullness even now after all these years as they were made with such love and the company was loving and enriching in every respect.  Yet I have also been to grand meals where everything was turned out to perfection and looked beautiful but there was no love involved at all, and there was no sense of feeling satisfied.  Maybe a part of the cause of peoples poor relationship to food may be found in this root?  Food has to be satisfying on many levels not just nutritionally and if one is just stuffing the face on the run how can one really appreciate food?  Where is the love?

I love my ‘electric free’ things, I love making and creating things; how grand to think that perhaps in some small way in my doings, and sharing those doings with others, we are not just learning new skills but reconnecting with another way to love, through the creative impulse and work with dignity.

Blessings of all green and growing things.

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