I’m Spinning

One of the things I appreciate about living on the farmlet is all the resource on my doorstep.

Need a Christmas tree? No problem, head out to The Strip and chainsaw down one of the stunted pines on the west boundary.
Biomass for the compost heap? We grow great weeds.
Didn’t get to Mitre 10 to buy hooks for your homemade coat rack? It took me a while, but eventually I figured out I could just raid the Seven Acre Wood for some hook-like sticks.

Coat rack with natural timber hooks

After all, weren’t the very first hooks just sticks?

The arrival of the sheep got me excited about a new resource. Those self-shedders leave cute little tufts of wool all around the paddock. Now how cool is that? Visions of hand dyed, home knitted socks and jerseys danced in my head. Naturally I shared my ambition with my friend, and inveterate sock-knitter, Nurse Jenny, and after we’d jumped up and down a little bit in excitement and Googled how to dye wool with lichen and onion skins (we got a bit ahead of ourselves), she suggested something wonderful.

Castle spinning wheel

Jenny’s spinning wheel

A few weekends later Jenny and her Auntie Cynthia arrived at the farmlet with this spinning wheel which once belonged to Jenny’s mum. It’s a beauty, and they are very kindly letting me have it on long term loan so that I can teach myself to spin. That’s right people, I’m going to spin that cute fluffy sheep wool into yarn. Eventually (just as well it’s a long term loan).

Learning to spin is a bit like my memories of learning to drive; there are multiple physical and cognitive tasks involved, all of which need to happen simultaneously, continuously, and at speed. Thankfully the worst consequences of a brain freeze during spinning are lumpy wool and colourful language (yup, I’ve been talking in all the colours). The process is a sobering reminder of the effort that was involved in keeping yourself clothed until just a few hundred years ago. It makes me very grateful that I’m creating yarn from raw wool for fun, and that I still get to buy my undies at Kmart.

Homespun raw lamb's wool

Homespun raw lamb’s wool.

As you can see, my early attempts are considerably more ‘textured’ than is desirable, (let’s just be kind and label it bouclé?), but I’m sure that eventually the wheel and I will come to an arrangement. After all driving soon became second nature, and even though I once thought I’d never manage to ride Summer bareback at a trot (she’s got a very bouncy trot) I eventually mastered that too. It’s all about practice.

And once I get going I will be able spin yarn to knit into all sorts of things. Well, all sorts of very, very small things anyway. Anyone need an egg cosy?



  1. Meghan has a handful of angora fleece bought from a rabbit place near Waitoma yonks ago – could that help eek your wool out? It’s on the list of What To Take Up North. And, we have a fantail of our own now.

    • Oh, yes please to the angora. You win the very first knitted egg cosy (don’t hold your breath okay?).

      So cool that you have a fantail too. Is it an inside one? If it is that is spooky!

  2. Lovely thought you bouncing on Summer at a trot with boucle undies:) quite a ticklish idea! Glad it’s an egg cosy to start with! What a beautiful spinning wheel – I’ll bring Marie’s box of knitting needles in case this venture takes off big x

  3. So pleased the Spinning Wheel has a gone to a good home 🙂
    Maybe I could crochet a wee Christmas Tree decoration?!

    • That’s a great idea. Maybe even a little wooly sheep decoration — full circle!

    • Oh my goodness. And what’s really disturbing is that they’ve sold out!

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