Who knew that this blog would become a forum for me to express my absolute devotion to wool, the animals that grow it, the people who care for the animals, the processing of wool and the transmission of my passion for these things to the next generation?
Okay, I’m uhm, feeling a little self-righteous right now. You’ll have to excuse me. But I’m pretty excited.
And even after I wrote that first paragraph, I had a little flash in the back of my head that said, “You knew, silly.” Because from the beginning, the purpose of this blog was to celebrate the possibility that if I, like the lilies of the field, were to allow God to provide for me, I would be better dressed than Solomon…who was himself outshone by the aforementioned lilies of the field.
The purpose of the blog was also to find ways to reconnect to the “old ways”, that is, an effort to return to a simpler way of life life: my obsession (read: earnest desire) to live a little bit more like Laura Ingalls and a little bit less like the Jetsons pushed me to learn skills like altering clothes, refashioning, and spinning wool on a real-life spinning wheel.
So yeah. I shouldn’t be surprised.
Sharing the passion
When the more than 100 pounds of wool ended up in the trunk of my car, I knew that something drastic would have to happen in order use it all. I mean…I could make myself a sweater. Maybe even two. I could make a little gift for each of our favorite employees of le Parc du Petit Prince, where the wool comes from. I could do these things and still have more wool than I would know what to do with.
Oh sure, I had ideas. I always have ideas.
But what was burning in my chest was that this gift…all this wool…and my passion–not just my passion for the wool, but my passion for the poetic soul St Exupéry expresses in the Little Prince, and my “you can take the girl outta the theme park but can’t take the theme park outta the girl” love of our little theme park–this was definitely not just for me.
So I contacted the principal of my boys’ school. At first, he didn’t seem convinced by what I was suggesting. To be fair, I probably sounded like a nutjob (am I a nutjob?) I mean, someone spouting, “I have 100 pounds of wool in my trunk and I want to teach the kids how to to spin it” sounds like the ravings of a madwoman. (am I a madwoman?)
But I promised him I could be very convincing, and we made an appointment for me to present my ideas.
I can be very convincing
I have had all this wool now for a few weeks. I have already started my sweater with the little bit of wool I have already washed, carded and spun. I have also subjected my children to a number of craft attempts that have been both wonderful and fiasco-esque.
Because I have tried at least a dozen different little techniques and crafts, I have a pretty good idea of the different steps of processing wool by hand and the dexterity and patience needed for each step.
Apparently, this came across as I (not without sounding like a complete insane person) presented an epic project: I would, over a series of sessions, give a history of wool and garment production.
Secondly, I would teach the kids to card wool, make rolags, make a homemade drop spindle, spin wool on it and weave it on a loom.
Thirdly, I would find a way to get the kids to meet the person who actually cares for the sheep whose wool we would be working with, the person who actually sheared the sheep, and possibly, even have them meet the sheep themselves.
Fourthly, we would do, à la my youngest scalawag and his “scientific experiments”, find ways to dye the wool different colors, using, hopefully, natural methods we would find in the woods and in our gardens.
Fifthly, we would, based on the story of the Little Prince, make a felted wool rose brooch from the Little Prince’s sheep for Mother’s Day 2023.
And lastly, we could, possibly, take all the kids to the Little Prince theme park to celebrate the whole project.
And you know what? He was totally on board.
So apparently, it took a little bit of natural nutjobbiness to get this epic plan across.
He promised to present the project to the teaching staff–that is 7 teachers from pre-school to to fifth grade– to see who might be interested. I promised to contact Mélodie, from the Comm department at the Parc du Petit Prince to see what we could do to make this happen…especially since they were curious to know what would happen with all that wool!
Apparently, he also presented the project in a compelling enough way that all the teachers were on board–some even saying, “this will give us an opportunity to study The Little Prince, too!”
So…as I walked away on Friday, I was already imagining the little cards that we would include with the Mother’s Day brooch, that would read “You will be unique for me in all the world…” (which, admittedly, is something that Fox says to the Little Prince, but it is still so beautiful) or “You are always responsible for the things that you tame…” (also the Fox.)
The poetry of all this: Roses made from the wool of the Little Prince’s Sheep, the transmission of skills which, although I do not completely master, I master enough to transmit a passion for them to the next generation, and the prose of an author who stirs my soul…it draws the silhouette of an exciting, exhausting, but poetic and passionate year ahead.
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