13 December, 2012


I read Barbara McLean's Lambsquarters: Scenes from a Handmade Life (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2002).  She writes about raising sheep in Ontario, learning to spin yarn, weaving and knitting clothes with her own sheep's wool for her family to wear, and acquiring many other skills.
I had a neighbour who spun.  I followed her home from Alderney one day and boldly turned in her lane.  She got out of her car, gave me a quizzical look, and I told her my business, asked her to help me, begged for the knowledge to spin.  Malka gave me a start right then and there, invited me into her home, her studio, and slowly showed me the wool, the wheel, the magic of thread.  (p. 50)
McLean doesn't go into a lot of detail about the her loom or the wool baby clothes she made or the handspinners events she went to.  She must have gone to some events because she mentions that she got an angora rabbit at one.  She gives specifics when it serves the story, like the story about a special sheep she raised.  After its natural death, she saved some of its wool and incorporated it into sweaters. 

Many people who work with fibre have a primary skill they like best and I think from her descriptions she is more a weaver than a spinner, but that's speculation.

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