“The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.”Antoine de St Exupéry, The Little Prince
Do you remember back in September, when I went on an over-excited rampage about wool and sheep?
As a brief reminder, our local theme park, Le Parc du Petit Prince, themed after the poetic masterpiece The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupéry, is my family’s #1 favorite place to hangout.
The park itself is adorable. It is a fantastic mix of nature and fun, with a little something for everyone: literati and small children alike. (Go ahead and try to say that about any other theme park. I dare you! …I’m waiting!) It’s a few miles outside of Mulhouse, France, in a charming village called Ungersheim, with breathtaking views on the Vosges mountains.
The people who work there are phenomenal. They are versatile, professional and thoughtful. The team of young people who voice and host the different shows are just about the sweetest, most humble and kindest people to work in entertainment (and I do have a tiny bit of experience in the domain, considering I started my career at Walt Disney World in Orlando!)
Long story longer, I, as you may remember, am a wool enthusiast (okay, okay, I am an enthusiast, period. But especially about wool!) For many many years, I had wanted to learn how to spin wool. My mother taught me how to knit a long long time ago, and, in my insatiable desire to be a modern day Laura Ingalls Wilder, I thought making my own yarn would be fun.
So I did. I met an older couple who had sheep instead of a lawn mower, and from there, I macgyvered my first homemade drop spindle and we were off to the races. I inherited a spinning wheel when a friend’s aunt passed away in 2020. (I’m still an extreme novice on the spinning wheel. But I’m trying to honor this precious gift.)
That’s when I discovered that at our favorite little theme park, there was a flock of sheep, and that if I wanted it, I could have the wool of the Little Prince’s sheep!!!!!!!!
(Sorry for the abusive use of exclamation points. Can you tell I’m excited?)
Okay. So now that we are caught up.
I got a text message this week that lit up my late springtime: “I’ve started shearing the sheep,” wrote Musa, the keeper of all things animal at the park. I squealed with delight.
“Take pictures!!!!” I wrote back, and immediately sent him a photo I had taken over the weekend of my boys and their sheep friends. A few seconds later, there were the gorgeously shorn sheep from my photo!
So what’s the plan for the wool from The Little Prince’s sheep?
Well. Obviously, I have ideas. I always have ideas.
Firstly, I want my boys, and perhaps, if I can convince their teachers, even their classmates, to discover the ancient and yet decidedly modern beauty of wool. Waterproof, temperature self-regulating, and, well, aesthetically pleasing, there is nothing more amazing than wool.
I want them to learn a little about history and the old ways: carding and spinning wool by hand used to be children’s work. I want to put a drop spindle into their hands and connect them back to children of generations past.
I also want to make a little something for all our favorite park employees with wool from The Little Prince’s sheep. (I have ideas about this too!)
I want to play around with natural dyes, because my boys are deeeeeep into doing science experiments and this is right up their alley!
And naturally, I want to create a stash of handspun wool to make something itchy, scratchy and fabulous for myself, because, I can’t imagine why, but no one in my family is begging me to knit them a turtleneck sweater with my handspun wool!
Here are a couple of my favorite handspun projects from fleeces past, just to prove that handspun wool can be stylish:
So here you have it, this is part one of my summer project: play with wool!
PS: If you ever want to go to Le Parc du Petit Prince, give me a call. I’ll be your VIP tour guide. As they say, “You can take the girl outta the theme park, but you can’t take the theme park outta the girl.“
Sing With Your Feet, the podcast hosted by Lily Fields (your fairy godmother) and featuring LiElla Kelly, Death Doula (and your wicked stepsister) helps you reimagine and pursue the original blueprint for your life by digging up and dusting off the treasures you buried in your backyard. Give us a listen!