Old Fashioned Vacation #1: Carding

Good morning! My Michigan computer is trying to tell me it’s nearly 1:00 p.m., but here in sunny Wallowa, Oregon (pop. 808 and shrinking), it’s still not quite 11:00. How magical is that?

We’re spending the week here with my wonderful in-laws, and I’m loving every minute.

Here’s the view up the street from their front yard:

Up the street.

Up the street.

And here’s the view down the street:

Down the street.

Down the street.

Again — how magical is that?

Now, our hostess this week — my dear mother-in-law — just happens to be a fount of wisdom when it comes to many an old fashioned handicraft.

She can bake a whole-wheat loaf that doesn’t fall flat. She can milk a goat. She can knit and crochet things like hats and mittens — things with curves and rounded edges. (My own knitting and crocheting skills don’t yet extend beyond rectangular objects like washcloths, scarves, and baby blankets, I’m afraid.)

Oh — and she can spin.

For the third time this morning – how magical is that?

What’s more, after a little gentle pleading, this week she’s teaching me how to spin. Let the adventure begin!

Yesterday, we began our lessons by admiring her tubs of sheep and llama wool.

Llama wool:

Unwashed sheep’s wool:

Mmmm . . . livestock-y!

Mmmm . . . livestock-y!

Then, she showed us how to card. This is a lot like brushing out the knots in a little girl’s hair (just with a lot less whining and whimpering). She put the wool into the hand carders, like this . . .

. . . then brushed it back and forth until it was smooth, straight, and tangle-free.

After Granny had showed her how, my oldest was eager for a go.

Before long, she had a nice rolag to show for her efforts.

Not bad, for a rookie!

Then, finally, it was my turn to go solo, though I did have a little “help” at first.

Before long, the littluns got bored and wandered away to play Wii with Grandpa, and I was able to go at it in earnest. Granny and I enjoyed a pleasant hour chatting on the back porch while she picked and I carded. And at the end of it, we had a lovely pile of rolags — enough to keep us busy spinning during our lesson today.

With the carding now behind us, today we spin.

Look out, spinning wheel! I’m coming for you!

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