Some of you know that I have taken up a new hobby. In researching this hobby – I was surprised to find out that it had mostly died away- but during WWII – this became a popular hobby for women. The reemergence started in New Zealand then spread throughout the world. It is the hobby of Spinning.
Like many woman during the war – I have learned how to wash raw wool (again in my bathtub J), Dry it, pick out the weeds and seeds, card it straight, and finally spin it into lovely yarn (to make warm scarves, mittens, and hats for our fighting soldiers). I have to say I never knew how much work it is!
I bought two pounds of unwashed wool. I will tell you it is nasty! I started by washing a half pound. It is washed in very hot water with dish soap. You put the water and soap in, then lay the wool into it (no agitation or you get felt). Once it is washed three times and rinsed twice … it is laid out to dry. Once dry… the fibers are pulled open to get rid of any twigs and seeds that are stuck in. Then it is carded between two huge cards (they look like dog brushes for Clifford the big red dog). Once carded, it can be spun. I use an Ashford spinning wheel (that I received from my aunt – nicely decorated by goats chewing on it).
Even though it is a lot of work – I see the value of it. If there was not a lot of wool production – due to the war… it provided processed wool for knitting. The other thing it provides is a way to release stress. There is a meditative quality of hearing the rhythm of the wheel spin… then the feel of the wool in your hands. It is my favorite thing to do when I come back from a really hard day at the hospital. When spinning – all your cares drain away and you are left with the joy of having made something.
What a wonderful thing it would have been for these women that had the whole world’s cares on their shoulders.