When I was small my mum bought a spinning wheel which was sent in a box from New Zealand. We learned how to card wool (to straighten out the fibres so it can be spun) and used all sorts of things to dye the wool after we’d spun it… we saved our onion skins for months, and experimented with spice. The result of all this was somewhat uninspiring turmeric scented browns when our friends wore Cerise pink and electric blue.
The spinning wheel is now on it’s way to Novy Mlyn – and is in need of a bit of repair. I was telling our neighbour about it (I say ‘telling’ and mean performing – I have at my disposal simple words and acting out – rather than the word for spinning wheel in Czech – kolovratek). His reaction was way more interest than I expected (another strangeness from the strange English couple in the village) & he explained that he’d actually had to throw wool away in the past as nobody wanted it. He has sheep for flavour, not for wool, so the strands aren’t very long, but I am very happy to try it out – if it’s unsuitable for producing yarn, I will certainly be able to use it for felt – and I can experiment with different natural dyes as well.
While I’m working on the house I’m also thinking about activity holidays at Novy Mlyn… as well as knitting we now have the potential to take part in the whole process… a knitting holiday could involve meeting the sheep whose wool we will spin, dye and knit. Now… I wonder if I can persuade our neighbour to adopt some Alpaca.