Monday, April 15, 2013

Sheep to Yarn

  On Saturday the Bogota Public Library held a demonstration  on  how raw fleece is turned into knittable yarn. The event was lead by Jen Zwernemann who talked , and showed, the different steps it takes to make yarn from the fleece of a sheep. She first passed around a sample of raw fleece for those attended to touch, and smell. The aroma of the sheep whose wool this was could still be smelled in the sample. It also had the rough texture of unwashed wool, as well as the lanolin from the sheep.  The next step is washing the fleece, which was not done in the Library. Ms. Zwernemann said that she out-sources the washing process just because it is easier to do that way. The next step is to separate the wool into thinner fibers in order to make it easier to spin by carding the wool.. At this point some of the children who came had a chance to hand card using a good deal of muscle power.  Ms. Zwernemann  mention that before machinery all wool would need to carded by hand normally by the young girls in the family for hours during the day. 
  The next part was to start spinning the carded fiber into usable yarn. This was first shown by using a drop spindle. This spins the fiber into a twisted strain  which can be wrapped onto a bobbin. All the members who came to learn had a chance to use a drop spindle of their own to yarn. After awhile Ms.Zwernemann  then demonstrated how she uses her spinning wheel to make wool, and how to add other fibers to the wool to make different blends of yarn for knitting.
  This event was held to add some background to the library's knitting club that meets the first & third  Thursday of the month. For more information about the knitting club, and other activities, please go to:

Jen Zwernemann showing how to card wool.

Jen Zwernemann watching  Josh use the cards.

Jen Zwernemann demonstrating how a Drop Spindle works 

Colin (L) and Liam using the Drop Spindle.

 Every one trying the Drop Spindle.

 Colin & his Mother enjoying the Drop Spindle.
Jen Zwernemann using her spinning wheel.

Getting a better look at a working spinning wheel.

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