I Shear Had Fun


Yesterday I went for the third time to Greenbank Mill for the Annual Sheep Shearing and Herb Sale event…

…and it never fails. Each time, I learn something new and interesting and I get to hang around with folks that enjoy many of the same things that I do. You just can’t beat that!

Many of those you have already seen on this blog were front and center again.

Megan, Rick’s wife, was at the herb table.





Now, the herb part of the festival is actually Sherry’s baby.


But Megan and one of our newest board members, Carlie, was also there to help out.

Rick was around doing the Rick thing.


Recruiting and “looking manly”, lol!

On the way back to the house, there was the gift table manned by another new board member, Terry Berry.


Look at all that fluff! Our mill sent out for some of our wool to be prepared and spun and this is what came back.


It’s just so lovely and consistent! Heather and I couldn’t keep from squeezing and squooshing it at the last board meeting.

But what’s this?


Good God a ‘reckon! That’s some gorgeous handspun there! And here’s where I learned something else I didn’t know.

Our shearer for years now, Deb Mitchell, is a spinner!


What the what?!

Yes! She spins and dyes using a method called casserole dyeing. I gave her my number so we could talk more of this casserole dyeing some day. 😉

She had some other crafts for sale too.



What’s more is she’s part owner of The Woodside Creamery of Woodside Farm here in Delaware! Now, we’ve really got to talk. YUM!! It’s just amazing the things you find out when you attend these events.

Making my way further back toward the house, I can see the fiber festivities. The whole point of the sheep shearing side is to show the process of how wool gets off the sheep, onto a wheel, and into various fiber pursuits. So, not unlike the past two events I’ve attended, we had some spinning and some dyeing going on.

Carol was there spinning.


Brooke, who gives every one of you who say they wish they could spin no excuse was there demonstrating for visitors.


Don’t you just love that enabling grin? 🙂


This woman has only been spinning about a year. Probably less. Linda loaned her a wheel when she first got started and she never looked back! Take a look at this bobbin she showed me.



She spun on some of the prepared heritage leicester longwool fleece we had there.



My buddy, Laurel, was there dyeing and demoing at the dye pot. Surely you remember our fun with indigo dyeing? Well, here it is again.





I swear that never gets old!

She also showed the visitors cochineal.


Cochineal is a beetle that is used for red dye. And it’s not just in fiber stuffs either.


This bug actually shows up in a lot of foods. Do you see that red color it makes? Well, many of your strawberry dishes would be gray and dull without it. Whoa. Here’s some yarn that has been dyed with the red of this critter.


You wanna see what happens when cochineal and indigo get together? Hmmm… 🙂



Here’s another look.


See? Chemistry can be fun!

Of course, Laurel did her kid-whisperer thing again, helping some of the kids who showed up how to card and how to spin on her Kromski.





Heather was there as well, helping out with the sheep.


She and a few volunteers brought the sheep out to get their haircuts.


Check out this fleece!


Whoa momma! I think up to that point, our largest was around 12 lbs. Not sure how much this one was. But it had to be up there!



What a fluff!

Heather did a lot of double duty that day because she skirted the fleece too, gathering help from the little folks to get the second cuts out and explaining the process to visitors.


You may remember that Linda Shinn usually does this. But she’s in the middle of a move so she couldn’t be there that day. Missed you, Linda!


Heather also came over to the dye pot to lend a hand when Laurel had to go be Laurel somewheres else.


See Carol over there on the side? Yeah, she can’t stay away from the dye pot. Eventually, she got in on that too, lol.



Before long, we had some colorful indigo-dyed stuff rinsed and hanging up nice and pretty!


Hey, don’t forget me!

This year, I was accompanied by Girl Child and my MIL who was in town for an ill family member.

My mil got to see the sheep being shorn, talked recipes with Bob and learned some things at the dyepot.


There was a knitter in period dress at the event…


and Girl Child kept sitting in her seat.



and chewing on her knitting needles…


She also threw food at the newly nakey sheep and tried to eat their pen.



See how they have to move away from that pink corner there? Yep.

There are just no words.



I spun on some merino that didn’t want to work with me. Before I could figure it out though, I wound up loaning my wheel to the cause, lol!



So, I demoed a little on my spindle and got that fluff off my moosie.


I found that I like plying off the side of the porch at the mill better than anywhere! When you can let your spindle go down to the ground from an elevated place, the spindle empties faster than you would believe. I was really tickled when I heard a fellow at the event say, “I’m watching this woman rock this spindle!” LOL! I rocked my spindle!! 🙂


Other than that, I took some photos. 🙂

It was a wonderful day!


  1. It looks like a wonderful occasion. It must be so exciting passing on that knowledge to unsuspecting future spinners and dyers.

    • Yes, it is! I always hear from people who say that they tried this when they were younger and didn’t get it, but now they do. These kids will probably be saying that twenty or so years from now, lol. History does repeat itself.

  2. marlene toerien says:

    Hi your girl child is so beautiful! I envy you all when I see all the people demonstrating, we have trouble to get our weavers and spinners involved in a day like this.

    • Thanks!! She’s a real mess! But we love her to pieces though.

      Well, we don’t always see everyone in the guild participate in every event. But, we have a good number active, I think. I think many of them just have a thing for history too. That draws them to events like this one. Period dress, period materials and methods and what not.

  3. You Rocked the spindle??? new meaning to spinning on the rock?

    • Lol! He made me feel like a rock star! Now, I may never rock a microphone…but I rocked a spindle?! I’m satisfied with life. 🙂

      I imagine he may have never seen anyone spin off the side of the porch before. I let it go to the ground and then I would wind it back up into a butterfly on my hand, wound the plied yarn onto the spindle, rinse and repeat. It went faster because a porch ledge makes me like seven feet taller than I would be had I not been using that porch. Mildly extreme plying.

  4. caityrosey says:

    I must try dying some day. I live all the variety you can get out if indigo.

    • That suff is awesome! Eventually, I want yo try it solo too. But, Carol talks about how when she has traveled to places like Thailand and other locations where dyeing is part of the culture-you just do it-they have an indigo dyepot always going. Can you imagine knitting and weaving and dyeing and telling stories about your family, what the dog did yesterday, how your daughter dyed her hair peach-mango last night or what you intend to do at the market tomorrow-all around a pot of indigo? I’m not sure if that’s what actually goes on around an indigo dyepot. But, it all seems fascinating to me.

  5. Oh man, I never know how to react to your posts in a way that’s actually coherent and not just unintelligible squealing about how amazing it all looks. Love all the herbs (wish I had room to grow more here), love the squishy awesomeness of the fiber you guys sent out, love all the colors of the dyeing, love the kid whisperer…just love. In general.

    • Lol!! Somehow it’s never enough to get you out here, huh? 😉 I got to come up with some better photos…

      I just think it’s so funny how everyone will still flock around to see some sheep get shorn. Every single one gets an audience. From fiber people to non-fiber people. It truly never gets old.

  6. I could spend days reading your blog it is so interesting, thank you.

  7. Hi! I just discovered your blog, what a nice day you have documented! I like knitting too but I mainly sew and quilt.


  1. […] shearing that I went to at the mill. At that time, I was busy trying to remove my drool from her handspun skeins. They were so beautiful! She told me about the way she dyes and took my number in case I could make […]

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: