Wooly Matters

The sweet taste of victory!

Oooohhh!! I’m so excited! I got this one finished and now all that’s left to spin before the kids get back is that spindle.  You want to bet me a skein I’ll get it done in time?  LOL! Just kidding…Well, unless you really want to send me yarn. 😉

I finished spinning this last night after a meeting at Greenbank Mill.  I’ll tell y’all about that first…

Yup.  The sheep are still there! I think that one in front was not interested in a photo op, lol.  He baaahhed at me and then…well, he gave me a decent view of his good side. 🙂  But look at how much the wool has grown already since the sheep shearing back in April.  That’s crazy, right?!

Well, inside of the first house, there was a meeting of the minds going on.

Greenbank Mill is one of Delaware’s historic sites.  Actually, folks joke that it’s one of Delaware’s best kept secrets.  That’s actually not too far off from the truth though.  It’s kind of hidden away from the road and due to all the shrubbery around, you’d never know it was there at all! But it’s a great place and the folks there have met to figure out how we can change that up a bit.  I get to participate as a member of the Fiberguild!

You remember Abby, the site manager?  She led the meeting which, as you can almost see, included Heather, Laurel and myself. Don’t mind the guy up there.  That’s Tony and he’s not really there for this meeting…But if you ever meet him, ask him about the sheep stories at Greenbank Mill and watch his eyes get really big when he tells you about them. It’s really funny! 😉 …Oh! And don’t ever tell him you saw his photo here, lol!!! 

If you read some of the history on their website, you will see why Greenbank Mill needs more visibility.  Various natural disasters have caused the Mill to have to undergo restoration projects that have been and continue to be quite expensive.  One of the main ways the Mill has been able to support these projects is through rentals of the facility and by providing educational programs for visitors to learn about 19th century living.  Of course, one of their biggest educational draws is my personal favorite, handspinning! So, naturally, I’m interested in seeing a program like this succeed. 🙂

But the other topic on the table at this meeting is that, currently, Greenbank Mill is in possession of a substantial amount of wool that needs to to be processed.  The cost is $1000.  Doesn’t sound like a lot.  But for the Mill, it really is.  If you can recall the story about Laura last week who came to the Mill to learn to spin and made her own beautiful yarn using wool processed from Greenbank Mill’s sheep, you can see how important getting that wool processed really is.  So, in an effort to raise the money to process the wool, these ladies have come up with the idea of forming Greenbank Mill’s very first Kickstarter campaign.  What is a Kickstarter campaign?  I’m glad you asked because I really didn’t know myself…Simply put, a Kickstarter campaign is a way for folks to request funding from large bodies of people for creative projects that they believe in.  It’s very no-risk in that if a project doesn’t achieve fully funded status within the time frame set, folks keep their money.  In this campaign, supporters will pledge their desired amount to the project and will receive a gift from the Mill based on the amount pledged.  Once the goal is reached, the Mill will be able to process the wool and visitors to the Mill will have lovely, clean wool with which to learn to spin and dye for fiber arts projects.  And who doesn’t want that, right? 🙂  The project is set to go live on Labor Day of this year.  If you’re interested in this project, please spread the word, mark your calendar and be sure to check out the Mill’s Kickstarter page.

And now, back to spinning!

I haven’t washed this yet, so checking to see the wpi (wraps per inch) is sort of silly.  Something I did do that I haven’t done in a while though is to check the yardage.  It’s about 256 yards in this 2-ply.  There’s a bit more left on the first bobbin too.  Makes me think I had a little more patience with this monochromatic fluff in the beginning than towards the end of the spin.  Big surprise, huh?  I’m considering wrapping that around my hand into an Andean plying bracelet and then getting that into a 2-ply too for a second mini-skein.  We’ll see.

When I do wash this skein though, I will not be agitating the water and I won’t be thwacking it around much when it’s out the bath.  Thwacking is slamming the yarn around a bit to get the yarn to even out and sometimes to full it.  Some even thwack onto a carpet to get the wool to nap up a bit.  I would agitate and thwack if I wanted a really bouncy, fluffy yarn.  But for yarn for a lace project, I’d rather it be as smooth as this yarn can be since it already has a little halo to it.  So, the less you move the water around and the less napping up the yarn while it’s wet, in my experience, the smoother the yarn is in the end.

Yeah, I think this will work when it’s washed. 🙂

Now to find a pattern!


  1. Wow that looks like a great place. Hope your yarn comes out right.

  2. Oooooh. It’s so pretty! I’m a sucker for colors, but every once in a while a natural-colored thing comes along and makes me drool too. Well spun!

    • Thanks Emily! I hope I can find something to knit that she’ll like. If I can get it started before the kids get back, I have a chance of getting this done in a couple weeks. One Christmas present down!

  3. That yarn is drool-worthy. 🙂

  4. That comment on thwacking is ever so timely. I’m spinning some very smooth, shiny, and slippery merino that’s been processed to be more like silk. I plied up a mini test skein and gave it a good thwacking. The yarn is still beautiful but lacking some of the luster it had before. So, no twacks for the final skeins. Thanks for the great tip!

  5. Oh I so miss my spinning!!!! I love natural colours but I do want to learn how to dye it too. However, I have to build my own flock of sheep here in Egypt and learn how to shear them properly before I can do that! I did get my first fleece, cut with a shears, from my first sheep, but all my equipment is in the UK so I am bringing the fleece back with me (Its small) and then using my equipment there and then bringing it back to Egypt! I have three weeks holiday!!!The fibres are small but have a nice crimp and Egyptian wool is quite dry so I have to use my carder. Hopefully soon I can bring all my spinning equipment out here!! I do have my spindle though!
    Your spinning looks so beautiful and so even. When you say ‘the less napping up the yarn’ what do you mean?
    I do hope that the mill manages to keep going.They are invaluable resources!!!

    • You are growing and raising your own flock! That’s just amazing. Fleece anytime you want! And moving back and forth between Egypt and the UK. Learning to shear? You must have a very exciting life! Wow.

      Thanks for the compliment! And when I say napping it up, I mean it kind of raises the cuticles so that the fiber appears fuzzier than it otherwise would without all of the agitation. So, like your own hair, if take your hand and you muss it up, it will be fuzzier than if you used your hand to smooth it down. So, thwacking and agitating the bath are ways to get the fiber to swell up more and sometimes makes it fuzzier. The less of that kind of manipulation, generally,the less fuzzy the yarn is in the end. Of course, the way it is spun plays a part in that too (worsted/woolen/variations in between)…but, a general rule for me is to use less agitation and manipulation while it’s wet if I want the yarn to be smooth overall.

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