Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Homestead Diaries | From Sheep to Shawls

   I have been enjoying this lovely warm weather immensely, and what better way to spend these first sweet spring days than at the farm.  This weekend the barn housed the annual sheep shearing, and the farmhouse was full of period fiber craft demonstrations all day long.

 Taking advantage of the event, I wore my midnight blue polonaise to celebrate the occasion, brought my wheel, tied one of my aprons around my waist, and pedaled away the afternoon spinning.  

The boys wrangled the sheep one at a time into the pen to wait their turn.  Poor things had no idea what was going on and did not like the buzz of the shears at all.  We do almost everything period correct here at the farm, but they draw the line when it comes to period shears. ;)

My friend and I set up our wheels in the parlor and spread the table with finished hand spun pieces and period spinning equipment.

The lighting in there is perfect for spinning, and the photographers like it too.

My corner. ;)  There were often 10-15 people watching us work, and it was so much fun sharing what we know about spinning in the 19th century with the visitors.  Many of them had never seen a spinning wheel before!

We had a weaver working the loom in the sitting room.  How I have itched to try that out myself.  Everyone I have ever spoken to about weaving has always said it is pretty easy.  Now to find the money for a loom...

We set up the triangular loom as well with a partially finished shawl on it.

We also have our very own tatter.  The pieces she makes are gorgeous.  Tatting is certainly a craft I admire, but from afar.  I could never have the patience for all those tiny knots.

She bought this beautiful 1830s tatting kit on eBay for $5.00.  It is in superb condition, especially the material on the inside, and the tools are all original and still stunningly new looking.  The purple and blue tatting thread was too pretty to use, so she keeps it in the kit for show.

Yes I am jealous.

I loved the green silk with the purple edging.  It is wonderful inspiration for a reproduction project.  If I ever get into tatting, that is. :)

Besides the spinning, knitting, crocheting, tatting, and weaving going on in the house, we had felting outside and dying with rosemary and turmeric out in the summer kitchen.  

The sheep took all day long and there will be more shearing tomorrow.

I just love the fiber world; working with sheep, creating beautiful things from their wool, sharing your work with other people.  And it's even better when you do it all in 1880s costume!

"She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands."
~ Proverbs 31:13

Photo credit Tim M.

Do any of you spin or work with fiber?  Perhaps you knit or crochet?

Have a lovely..... oh my gracious it's almost midnight!
  How does that always happen to me?

Many blessings,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Do You Never Laugh, Miss Eyre?"

   Each year when the winter melts into spring, yet the landscape is still brown and gloomy, I dive into Jane Eyre.  For some reason the damp, slightly chilly, dull colored atmosphere reminds me of what the English countryside must have been like on that fateful blustery day which found our dear Jane walking to deliver a letter and met with Mr. Rochester for the first time.

   I made this pair of earrings recently for an evening out.  They somehow remind me of something Jane might have worn on her wedding day; small and understated, yet glinting in the sun like the small light she was in the darkness of Thornfield.

"You examine me, Miss Eyre," he said. "Do you think me handsome?"
"No, sir."

"Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre? Only rarely perhaps. But you're not naturally austere, any more than I'm naturally vicious. I can see in you the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close set bars of a cage, a vivid, restless captive. Were it but free, it would soar, cloud high."

    I just love this book; I could quote it all day!  And now, what do you think of Jane Eyre?  Do you enjoy darker stories?  Which movie adaptations have you seen/liked?  I'm warning you, the 2011 version is definitely my favorite. :)

Enjoy this spring day!

Other posts of interest....

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