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,


Grace said...

I'm a knitter, and real wool is so much nicer than that nasty acrylic stuff. Good on you for spinning! It looks like a fascinating art; I'll have to learn it sometime. :) Happy Palm Sunday!

Aspirer said...

I love the quote at the end!! I wish I was skilled in crocheting or knitting, but right now I shall have to be content with just sewing. God bless!

Samantha said...

Spinning looks like a lot of fun especially if you get to wear a beautiful 1880's costume. I mainly crochet. One of these days I would love to learn to spin yarn.
Have a blessed week!!!

Samantha said...

Spinning looks like a lot of fun especially if you get to wear a beautiful 1880's costume. I mainly crochet. One of these days I would love to learn to spin yarn.
Have a blessed week!!!

Raechel said...

Sounds like great fun! I love sheep :D
I sadly cannot knit, crochet, spin, or sew... :P
My elder sister just recently got a loom though - they have to fix it up some, but she's excited to start learning how to do it. :)

Sarah said...

Beautiful post! I loved all of your photographs. I enjoy spinning too. It has been a while since I have done any spinning, but I do have a bag of roving just waiting to be spun. Your spinning wheel is lovely. Is it an Ashford? Mine is the Ashford "Traditional" model, I really like their classic styles.


Elizabeth Anne said...

Thank you Sarah! Mine is a Kromski "Prelude". My next wheel will definitely be an Ashford though, hopefully the "Elizabeth". I love that model. :)

Kiri Liz said...

I love these posts, Elizabeth! Your pictures are absobloominglutley gorgeous! I can knit, but I'd love to be able to craft with more than just piddly scarves. Ahh... someday. Someday.

Okay, but before I get distracted, I should let you know that I awarded you over at Lianne Taimenlore. I'd love if you'd stop by soon! :)

Evy Cartyr said...

I once watched spinning while in Williamsburg. I've heard it is hard but it does look like fun. Someday I hope to attempt it.

Farm Girl Hannah said...

I spin, knit, and crochet! And love all of them. I currently have 2 Shetland fleeces, 6 Baby doll fleece, and one I'm not sure what breed it was :-)

I should get carding!


Agnes S. said...

Dear Miss Elisabeth,
What a wonderful post! I am a spinner and I absolutely love it. My spinning wheels are old traditional ones from the north of Sweden, where I live. There is so much history in these old spinning wheels. They were so important to their owners; both a source of income and a beautiful furniture to decorate the home. Some of them are beautifully carved or painted and were given as a precious gift from husband to wife at their wedding. Do you know if this was common in the US also? In Sweden, the spinning wheel was considered so important that some families who emigrated to America actually brought their spinning wheel with them!

But the best part about spinning, if you ask me, is that according to tradition the Blessed Virgin Mary was a very talented spinner and weaver. What a blessing to be able to do the same handicraft as our Lady did!

God bless,

Agnes Marianne

Cryslyn said...

Love all the photos!
Btw, you've been nominated for the Sunflower Award :)

Elizabeth Anne said...

Agnes S,

Your wheels sound beautiful! Spinning in the US was largely based on necessity, especially as our country was being settled in its early years. Laws were enacted in the colonies that required every child of both genders to learn to spin, and also required one member of each family to have spinning as their primary task. This job usually fell to the unmarried women, or, the "spinsters".

In terms of the aesthetic beauty of our wheels, there have definitely been some elaborately carved ones in our history. However it was the simple, polished wood pedals that pumped beside each hearth, and the quiet whirl of a plain and practical flyer that filled the homes of the early settlers, taking their place as one of the main necessities for survival in young America.

Hope this helps! Thanks for commenting!

Miss Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post. I love the pictures! I've missed your posts, though since this one. Is everything okay? Will we be hearing from the Country Handmaiden soon?

Anonymous said...

Miss Elizabeth, what a lovely post. Beautiful pictures. I've missed your posts. Will we be hearing from the Country Handmaiden soon? I do hope everything is fine.

Kelly-Anne @ Beautiful Girlhood said...

Such a beautiful post, Miss Elizabeth! I loved all the photographs you shared...sometimes I think I would have enjoyed living in the old days;-)


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