Team Sports

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Some of the best activities are the ones where you get to see a team in action.

Teams come in all shapes and sizes. But normally, the best teams are where everyone on it is working toward the same goal. There is always success in that. Yesterday, when I went to Greenbank Mill’s Annual Sheep Shearing and Herb Festival, as I got around to all of the activities, I couldn’t help but see all of the players coming together.

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You may recall I met these folks exactly a year ago. A year later, and I see all of the same activities…new faces and old. If you’ve been reading this blog a while and if you look closely, you might remember some of them yourself. :)

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Abby was there. She usually has the task of putting together the events we have at the mill. Here she’s giving a tour.

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There was Jo. She’s always carrying some kind of basket…

And Flo was there as well.

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Though she told me her spinning days are over, she still has a penchant for instruction and recounting historical stories and things of that nature. She’s really invaluable to the place.

Then there’s Laurel. She was the one that taught the kids last year to spin on the wheel and drop spindle.

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Yesterday, she was showing them how to wash fleece. One of the points of the Annual Sheep Shearing & Herb Festival is to give the visitors a view of the process from shearing to finished product. Laurel is always one of the best demonstrators because she’s funny-and kids love her! She goes above and beyond to share her own love of the process, demonstrating picking and carding wool.

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She did have a little help on the carder today though. You may remember this face?

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That’s a spinner that we gained last year. (Listen to me say “we”, lol) She’s a lot less bashful around the camera anymore. Seems she is becoming more of a permanent fixture around the mill. She’s pretty much a regular at spin-ins anymore, owns a Joy and has been learning to spin fur from her dog. Naturally, she learned how to process it through the cleaning, carding and whatnot. Here, she’s showing a young visitor what carding is about and what it can produce.

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I think I got sidetracked for a minute here…

Ahem. Moving on.

Though I talk much more about the textile part, the mill has other committees as well…like gardening. Sherry, one of our behind the scenes ladies, asked me to take some photos of the herbs for the event.

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They’re beautiful, aren’t they? I should spend more time there…I just have a blacker thumb than most, lol.

Yes, I spend more time on the sheepy side of things, it seems. In fact, the only reason I’d want to know anything about the garden would have to do with dyeing…

Which brings me to Heather. I met Heather once at the mill as she was tending to the gardens. Nice segway there…Heather’s a knitter, a spinner and a dyer.

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She’s a get-things-done type of person too. Her goal was to show the visitors a bit about historical dyeing with items like cochineal…

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…and indigo (you may remember this process)

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…and to make this!

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“Boo-ya!!” In Heather’s own words.

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Boo-ya! Indeed. :)

All of these fibery processes take place around the shearing of the fleece, obviously. The washing, the picking, the carding and the skirting.

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Here, Linda and Carol are doing the skirting. Linda was doing this last year too. Those are her fingers in the photo from last year’s sheep shearing showing me what a second cut looks like. I think these women never get tired of dirty wool, lol.

One of the most beautiful sights I got to see yesterday was the work of our new shepherdess, Jessica.

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Many of our sheep were reluctant to get a good shave. But Jessica and her helpers made sure they got out there safely to get the job done. I was really impressed with how much she appeared to care for these sheep already.

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(Sidebar: Remember that pink sweatshirt or those sisters off to the right? ;) )

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Well, as they say, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…

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Jessica also clipped their toenails when they were finished being shorn.

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No matter how ornery they acted, she was there the entire time…and when the ordeal was over, I could see her calm them and take them back to the fold.

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Very lucky sheep.

At some point, there was a lull in the day. Usually around lunch time. That’s when the volunteers can kick back for a minute and grab a bite…

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…give each other a little play attitude…

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LOL!

…show off near FO’s.

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These are handwoven baby blankets by Linda.

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They’re gorgeous as is, but she is planning to add a quilted back to these.

We also get to spin…

I spun on my little, Turkish spindle, Laurel spun on her Kromski wheel and Linda and Carol spun on their spindles. As visitors came to ask questions about it, they got to see an ancient craft being performed right before their eyes…some for the first time. It’s kind of awesome to see their reaction to that.

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I’m home now and my little contribution to the day was to photograph and kind of float around if anyone needed help. I also have the responsibility of adding these to the website and getting some photos off to those who will be keeping them for storage and site history later.

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I do like spinning so much as a solitary, meditative practice. But teams are nice too. And being part of a good team never gets old. :)

Comments

  1. Beautiful photos! This post really tells a story!

  2. What a wonderful looking day. That sheep looked fat before the shearing!

  3. very interesting, thanks for sharing! lovely wool in the last pics :)

  4. Looks like it was a wonderful day. I love how you managed to capture every aspect of turning wool into yarn and bringing in the people as well.

    • It was a great day! Everyone that came from over the year came back saying they had a wonderful time (just like I did the year before, lol). I think that’s our greatest event. And the weather was perfect for it.

  5. Looks like a great day and your photos are awesome, and agree with Betsy, they do indeed tell a story :)

    • Thanks so much, Tina! I love the stories I always seem to see there. The mill is just a nice place to go. Anytime. Well…except for the natural disaster times, lol.

  6. I feel like I got to come along with you! Thanks for all the great pics and the story.

  7. Oh that looks like so much fun!!! Wish we got festivals like that in Southern California every once in a while. *The warm weather not so conducive to fiber arts :/

    • Really? Well, I’m sure you can’t wear wool all the time. But we were just exclaiming about how it would be nice to have warmer temps where we could sit handspun yarn balls out in the sun for fifteen minutes and it be dry enough to take in, lol!

      • Haha, the wool does dry pretty fast here, I’ll give you that! Still I wish we had local farms that I could get wool from. Just an excuse to get a few sheep of my own, right? ;)

  8. Such a beautiful place! It looks like it was the most stunning day, I’m so jealous. The fiber arts community is so awesome, that rainbow of natural dyed yarn…oooh Yes, I want to learn everything about it and make a rainbow like that some day! Thanks for sharing, it’s wonderful to see how much difference a year makes.

    • Thanks kimber! Yes, it was so great! I met people who were visiting the shearing and herb day for their sixth time! I wonder what this event will look like in my sixth year…

  9. grayseasaylor says:

    Stacey, I am sooooo excited that you are able to be a part of the creative activities at the mill. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us as well. It is interesting and inspiring to visit with you :-)
    xx,
    Gracie

  10. Looks like you had a fun, beautiful day! That freshly dyed yarn is drool-worthy. I’m actually really close to the area. Does this festival happen every year? I would love to go next year.

    • Hey! Yes, it’s an annual event. You should definitely come next year! But then, why wait? If you can make it out, we have a few other events in the summer to come see. Civil War day is on the 18th from 10-4 if you can make it out. We’d love to see you around!

  11. Oh man, this looks like such an awesome, springtimey event. I’m so jealous!

  12. That looks like so much fun! We just had our local sheep shearing festival, and it was a blast.

    • OMG! Isn’t it so much fun? And to think, I would’ve never known about it if I hadn’t rode by the place a year ago doing a home visit. They had a sign out that said something about sheep shearing. I couldn’t believe we had that in Delaware! This is a banking state! I went once and never left, lol.

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