Crofting Life, Livestock

Woolly Silence

Things have been fairly quiet on the blogging aspect. The writer’s block has seemed to have outlasted the pandemic and is still going strong. A few times I would get those ‘whay-hey’ moments, but rarely would the mental concept last, the next breeze would chase it off and by the time I got to sitting down to write, it would be a distant memory, not of the concept itself, but that I had at some point had a paragraph I could have written. Maybe I should dig the laptop out anyway, I would wonder. But I then found excuses, I was trying to work on my knitting, I have a cross-stitch project from about 10 years ago that I would desperately like to finish. What about the spinning wheel that I rarely touch, let alone the piano. Then there is the pressure of Duolingo (for those unaware, it has leagues, and points, and demotion potential if you don’t practice). For one whole year I was doing French via Duolingo. That has now changed to doing Gaelic (because having two boys in the local Bun-sgoil and sgoil-àraich means now getting asked questions which I have no idea), so I shelved the French and swapped to gaelic. And while I don’t spend a lot of my time language learning, it can quickly fill an evening, even with the longer spells of darkness. And I did try combining knitting with gaelic but counting K2P3, as basic as it is, was not aiding with duolingo (suggestion to any involved with the Scottish gaelic is can I have a knitter’s version).

Now, I realise a lot of people are not keen on the nights drawing in, but I’m enjoying it as it gives an excuse to finally get to the spinning wheel and my knitting (yes, my spinning wheel has been outside but often, I just sit there and eye up all the outside jobs that need done). And with the attention back to the wheel, and the knitting needles back out, I recently did take a day off and went shopping. To the rare breeds sale at Dingwall Mart. What more, then window shopping (well, gazing through the pen gates) at all the different breeds of sheep, a cafe area which serves bacon rolls and chips, and to then splash out and buy some more sheep could you want in a day?

Yes, having done a little bit of prior research into wool, I went along eyeing up three different types: ryelands, wensleydales, and Icelandic’s. I was given a sack of ryeland wool early autumn which is about to get washed. I decided to practice washing one of the fleeces I had sheared this summer (texal cross) before approaching the ryeland wool. Which will now need to get done sooner rather than later because I bought two Icelandic ewe lambs. And I would like to have gotten through the ryeland wool (washed, dried, and carded) before I then get icelandic wool next year. Which also means I need refreshers on carding. But the problem with looking carding up on you tube, is you come across articles on weaving, and then someone has made bags from weaving their own wool, and then you start looking up looms, which takes you back to the auction mart and oh, look! There’s another spinning wheel for sale at the mart; the same mart I was at last week buying two sheep. Ahh, it certainly is a slippery slope into the woolly world. Besides, I really need to go check the cows, the bull, the chickens, and the dog before I get back to my knitting this evening.

3 thoughts on “Woolly Silence”

  1. It’s much easier to spin wool that hasn’t been washed!
    I used to have my own flock of Jacobs when we lived at Langley Park. Loved telling them all my grouses- they didn’t answer back!
    I loved the smell of the unwashed wool!
    Good luck to you!
    Auntie Isobel. Xxx


      1. Yes, very occasionally.
        I love all crafts which involve using your hands. At the moment, I’m doing lots of tatting. I learnt to do this when I was 8 years old. Two of my aunts went on holiday to USA in 1949 where it was all the rage and came back with shuttles and taught my mother and myself. I used to tatt miles under the desk at school in Latin and maths classes. I’m sure the teachers knew I was doing it but because I wasn’t disrupting the class, they just let me get on with it!
        I like spinning outside best on a nice sunny day.
        The most Jacob’s I ever had was 80! I had a nice little business going with local people.
        I had the championship at the Highland and Angus Shows and won some lovely walking sticks which I now use because of a bad leg.
        Kindest regards,


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