It occurs to me that I haven’t much talked about my craft. I’ve been very busy teaching or trying to teach, and I’ve neglected to tell you about what enables me to teach. It is my goats. It is the feel of silk curls running through my fingers, be it on the goat or as I spin. As I spin, I meditate, the only form of meditation I usually partake, any art of mine is a meditation. My daughter was wise enough to educate me on that. Here’s the deal, I love on my goats while they mostly lay around, gathering pieces of hay and weeds and food and seeds and wire, anything they can get into, they will. Then, if they are a baby, at 6 months, I shear them, and every 6 months after that. Once they are sheared and in a bag in my shower, they wait till I need something, I scrimmage thru and wala, my prize, whoever that might be at the moment.
I then gather 2 colanders, and I wash them in my kitchen sink for about 3-4 hours per ½ pound. Ridiculous, yes? I wring it out and lay it out to dry. Usually I lay it on a rack in my new fangled dryer and take the excess water out of them for a 23 minute cycle. Then I place then in containers…very large ones and spread them out and flip them over for a period of about 4 days. When they are dry, I then pull the curls apart a certain way, ok, let’s see…I leave the top of the curl intact and separate the middle. Ya, that describes it. Anyway, I’m left with this huge cloud of soft fluff that I shove into a bag to wait until I pull enough. The pile of dust and dirt on me is evidence that no matter how much I wash, there is still dirt. Add to that, the pulling out of the VM, vegetable matter, ie…hay, feed, weeds, oh Lordie. Bugs, you name it, I find it, while I’m either washing or pulling curls.
Then it’s time to spin, or felt. If spinning, I hate to do thin yarn, or perfect yarn, so I usually do fat chunky curls with flying loose yarn, then I spin a thin version to ply it with to make it stronger. Wala, yarn. If I’m felting, I pull it apart and lay it in the shape I want…one direction, then another direction, and another, until It’s as thick as I want it, then I fill in any holes I feel. Then I wrap it in the bubble wrap it is sitting in, tie it up, then roll it in hot water and soap. For awhile. A ..while. Sometimes I throw it in the washer after that if I want it strongly felted and thick and shrunk. Needle felting is just using one or more needles with a barb in the end, to mesh fiber threads into a piece of fabric or a toy or a doll or a whatever.
After doing all that,….oh I forgot to tell you, it takes 1-4 hours for me to shear a goat, depending on the goat. So, after doing all that….what are we supposed to charge for the item we create? Oh, but wait…..that felt might be finished….but the yarn isn’t. It needs to be crocheted or knitted or woven. Don’t get me started on woven. Bought a loom, made one scarf, haven’t touched the loom since…so much work to warp the darn thing. Anyway, you get my point, right? What do we do now? Charge twenty five bucks for something that took us 12 hours to create….just in the knitting phase alone? Helluva bind. I personally….haven’t sold anything. Well, I did make a sale, on a shawl, and I did create one and deliver it on time, but it was going against a bill for my husbands Christmas present, which he still has not had done….a custom steering wheel with his favorite goat, Damey, felted, on leather. Nope, still at the leather shop. Anyways, I didn’t get cash for my sale, my first and only sale.
So what’s a shepherd to do? All this fleece with no where to go. I don’t have a ton of merchandise, which is why I don’t show at shows. it’s a vicious circle in this fiber/wool world. Lord, I’m still waiting on my FeltLOOM, Thank you! With that, I’m confident I could create enough supply to go to shows with my designed stuff. Well hell, the felts I create will be designed stuff too! Silly me.
Back to the purpose of this. To tell you how soft it is, how silky it is, sometimes how shiny it is, this mohair of mine. I have always had a thing for spiral curls, these are those that I sought. The feel of this, slipping through my fingers as I pedal the wheel and the wheel pulls and I pull and we both twist and it is a beautiful dance. I love dancing with my wheel, and my curls and with Spirit/God.
Welcome, to Poland!!! Signing off at Curly Locks Ranch.