You Spin Me Right Round

A few years ago, I bought a Shetland fleece, from Windrush Farm in West Marin County here in Northern California. Having washed it, and brushed it, I'm now doing the final prep work of combing and what's delightfully called "dizzing."

All the wool was sorted by relative lightness or darkness, and I'm spinning it with the goal of producing two distinct yarns -- an off-white, and a pale grey. 

Until I know how much yarn this produces, I won't decide what I'm going to knit. 

I've been going through a very hard time, over the past few years, and I'm now attempting to climb out of a multi-year black period. There's something remarkably soothing about the process of working with this wool. 

The repetitive nature of the work keeps me from gnawing on unpleasant, unhelpful thoughts.  

One thing I have been musing on: given the massive amount of work involved in every step of the process of creating cloth, I have undying respect for our pre-industrial ancestors. The act of making clothes without large scale mechanization is unbelievably daunting. It's no wonder the development of large scale textile machinery was called an Industrial Revolution. 

(And speaking of Revolutions, I'll write about our BORP Revolution ride as soon as possible. Robb and I are deeply grateful to everyone who supported our fundraising efforts.)


There are quilts made in the U.S. before 1835 when we started manufacturing cloth, but most used fabric from France, chintz mostly. Only wealthy people could afford it of course. Manufacture of cotton in the U.S. changed things for people who went through what you have experienced here to make anything. When I think of how long it took it boggles the mind. Still, they knew nothing else. It's no wonder "scrap quilts" were made to use every scrap of leftovers.

You can launder that old quilt fairly safely. The danger to the quilt is to pull or stretch it and snap the delicate fabric and stitches. Run warm water in a bathtub, swish Orvis soap in it until it's well incorporated. Drape a bedsheet in the tub and place the quilt on top of it. Gently swish it and let it soak for a day. Drain, fill the tub again (without removing the sheet or quilt) and repeat. Rinse until the water runs clear and press out the water. With a friend, lift the quilt out by using the bedsheet like a hammock. To dry, lay the quilt outside in the sun, bedsheet underneath with another sheet on top. If you do it in summer, it takes a day or two. Or, just enjoy the quilt as is! XOX DoubleSaj
Unknown said…
Also explains why a bride's dowry linens were so important.
K said…
I'm sorry you've been going through a hard time. If you ever want to chat, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Your yarn is extraordinary. You have such an eye for detail.
Gina said…
I've been thinking of you so much lately, Lisa. Just want you to know you and your craft and eye and way of being in the world are all things I love. Call me. I'm usually up late digging away at my own stuff! XOXO

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