As I worked last night on a project, I was thinking of the many ways wool can be used.
Of course, there is the beautiful clothing and blankets made from wool. Sometimes it feels scratchy, while other times, it is butter soft and you just want to cuddle up with it.
There are also options to buy wool insulation for your home. With R-values ranging from R-9 at 2.36 inches all the way up to R-46 at 11.82 inches. Toasty!
Some of the things I have used with the wool from the fleeces I have purchased over the years.
One of my favorite uses of wool in the past few years was the day I assembled my new Jensen Tina II spinning wheel that had arrived after a few months from when my order was placed. I did all the staining, waxing, and getting all the pieces prepped to assemble it and I found on the legs was coming up a tad short and making my beautiful new wheel (Mr. Darcy, for future reference) wobble and not sit squarely upon the floor.
My solution. Take a pinch of my “Bonny” Shetland fleece and stuff it up in the hole to help get the wheel to sit correctly. It worked.
“Bonny & Friends”
Bonny is the lovely sheep with the black faced/white coat in the back near the wondering chicken. She was my pick from Ananda Farms in Port Ludlow, WA. The rest of the lovies are her sheep mates.
Historically, long after I am gone, someone might take Mr. Darcy apart and find a wad of wool stuffed up in the table and not know the history of that little bit of Bonny’s fleece. Maybe I should tape a note with a picture under the table of the wheel for future reference. Yes, I think I will.
Last night, I made a sturdy bobbin lace pillow. Traditionally they are stuffed with cut-up straw and stuffed to the gill. I decided I did not want to spend the whole evening cutting up straw so I went with a package of pine shavings and a fleece I had purchased from a local gal. It was a good use for the fleece that I might not otherwise get to spinning it.
The bobbin lace pillow weighs 5 lbs 12 oz. after all was done. It has a linen casing for the main body and a cover made in ticking with three layers of felted wool sewn down the the center.
I found this lovely photo online today. Dated 1936; Germany. Look at the sweet lace being made by the young woman in the center. I can see that being sewn on a towel or pillow case. I wonder what she did with it after all.
I have not yet done any bobbin lace work, but I have plans to get started soon and thought this was a great project to make (and use wool).
“Wool, it’s 100% natural, renewable, and sustainable.”
The perfect wool campaign.
I thought I would also write about the equipment that is used in hand spinning. Finding the right equipment for yourself is important. I have had 10 wheels so far in my spinning life, with four currently in the house. I miss a majority of the wheels I have sold, but there were at least two that did not suit me at all. I did manage to find them good homes.
Researching Norwegian/Scandinavian spinning wheels has been a bit of a struggle. There is just not a whole lot of information out there on this type of wheel.
The Polonaise has the look of wheels from the Baltic area of Poland and Scandinavia. It has been said that the wheels have been built to be historically correct with such lovely level of detail. A very good wheel for re-enactors to use.
Some of the features include functional wood threaded wheel angle adjustments so the proper angle can be obtained with the flyer. It has pin and socket bearings that support the 24″ wheel, with ease of treadling. The wheel hardware sits between the wheel posts; the footman passes through the bench to the treadle.
Wheel: Kromski Polonaise (bases
Wood: European Alder and birch
Drives: Double and Scotch
Wheel Diameter: 24 inches (60.96 cm)
Orifice Height: 25 inches (63.5 cm)
Bobbin Capacity: 4 ounces (113.398 grams)
Ratios: 8, 12, 16 & 20 to 1
Young Norwegian woman in traditional dress sits behind spinning wheel.
The batts are completed from the California Red fleece. I used my small picker that I had purchased on Etsy a few years ago to open up those locks to get it through the drum carder faster.
Dangerous piece of equipment if a person were to get their hand in the way when moving the picker back and forth. Note: I updated my tetanus shot back in 2012.
I used my Louet Jr drum carder to get through the massive mound of fluff I had created. It took me three days to get those batts completed. To be even more true to old ways, I should have used my hand cards. It would have been weeks before I could have completed the prep process for spinning if I had used my hand cards this time around.
Time to get a test spin in for the yarn I have targeted in my mind to create.
Stay tuned as we see what the wool wants to be…