An ode to wool

In case you didn’t understand it from yesterday’s article, I think wool is downright magical.

I love the idea of wool: that fluffy, warm, beautiful coat a sheep wears that somehow keeps it warm in the winter but doesn’t make it overheat in the summer. I love it that a sheep naturally secretes a waterproofing chemical that makes wool kinda high-tech.

I love sheep.

I love touching a sheep’s back, and sinking my hand into that deep, springy fleece. I love all the different kinds of fleece: the corkscrew curls, or the gentle, disorganized fluffy depths.

I love the variations of the colors of wool. I love natural colored fibers, from brownish black to creamy white, passing through any number of nuances of dirty beige. I also love brightly colored wool dyed wool. I’m not picky. I simply love wool.

I love sheep.

I love it that one day, generations ago, someone got the idea that this docile, friendly animal could be a renewable resource: that we could clothe ourselves from the wool of this exquisite creature, and not have to kill it. I love to imagine the first person who got the idea to spin wool. I love to imagine the first person who got the idea to weave or knit wool.

One time, at a Viking Museum in Copenhagen, my husband and I saw a knitted hat from the twelfth century. Twelfth century, and it could have been knitted yesterday. Those vikings!

I love vikings, too.

I love the smell of sheep. I love the smell of a freshly shorn fleece. I love the smell of fresh lanolin on my hands. I love the weird dandruff-y solid chunks of lanolin some wool contains.

I love wool.

I love washing freshly shorn fleece. I love watching the rusty dusty color come out in the basin. It looks like an “as seen on TV” demonstration.

I love carding wool. I have a special square of linen I put on my lap to catch all the dirt and straw and dandruff and dead bugs that come out of the wool. I love seeing how gross it can get, as the wool just gets more and more beautiful.

I love how my arms ache after carding for an hour or so. I love sharing my carders with my little boys, who are equally enamored with how very disgusting the wool can start off, and how clean and organized the fibers become as we card.

I love making rolags, which are the baton-like building blocks from which the fibers will be spun. I love seeing rolags all lined up in a box or a bin, like little soldiers waiting to be spun. I love the potential they represent.

I love spinning wool by hand. I love sitting on a park bench with my drop spindle and a bag full of rolags, quietly spinning. I love feeling like I’m doing something when doing something isn’t possible. I love bringing home a spindle full of potential.

I love wool.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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