Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Straw into gold (or sheep into thread)

"To-day do I bake, to-morrow I brew,
The day after that the queen's child comes in;
And oh! I am glad that nobody knew
That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!"

Today we had a go at spinning.

We got together at a friend's house where a very capable friend of hers showed us how to use a spinning wheel.
The hardest part for me was the multitasking, i.e. concentrating on keeping the wheel spinning, while dealing with feeding the fleece in at the other end. You wouldn't think with years of home educating experience that multitasking would be a problem...welllll...One foot is supposed to be peddling while the hands tease out the fleece, feed it into the spool, and make sure that the twist doesn't work its way back into the bundle of fleece and tangle it all up! Easy, eh?

Ds2 had a go and was a right little Rumpelstiltskin, even managing to join in the fleece again when the thread broke. My attempts were, well, let's just say that I need the practice.

Rumpelstiltskin in action
I also had a go on our drop spindles which have been kicking around the house for some time now. One was borrowed from preschool when ds2 was there (about 4 years ago); I've never got quite got around to returning it (oops!). We were given a sack full of fleece at the same time which has been residing in the garage ever since because it smells - quite naturally - of sheep. [mental note to self: must do something with that fleece]. Anyway, the resulting thread from today's drop-spindling is what we generally refer to in our house as 'rustic' or 'full of character'.

Yesterday we exercised the kids at a local nature reserve, taking a picnic and a few bags for anything they happened to collect en route (they always come back with something, don't they?). We found some complete shell fossils that had come loose from the sides of the quarry, and a dried up (slightly crunchy) beetle, which I think is a female stag beetle. There were loads of butterflies, some photos below. (For some reason my camera is having trouble focusing close up at the moment, well focusing on anything other than faces, so apologies if they look a bit fuzzy).

Poking in the water. I'm not sure what for, but there were some pretty big fish jumping around.

Posing under the 'lightning tree'

We're such fungis to be with (groan)

Crispy stag beetle (yum)

Layers of fossilized shells

Painted Lady butterfly

Peacock Butterfly on a scabious flower

Some sort of moth I think. Not big enough to be a tiger moth, so I'll need to look it up.

And what does the canine member of our family think about all our recent goings on..?

I could have been a movie star...this is just so degrading.


Carolyn said...

A spinning wheel...how cool is that?! I would love to turn all that woolly fleece I see running round the field with our pony, into yarn. Magical. Well done DS2 on his skill...I will know where to come for tuition!

Big mamma frog said...

Yes, best not to ask me for a demonstration. I think I'm going to take private lessons in secret and then suddenly emerge as a Spinning Goddess. [Either I've been watching too many shampoo adverts or I'm getting competitive in my old age]