Friday, May 11, 2012

Sheep and Wool and Soap News

Maria has asked to pretend we are at Maker Faire so she can practice what she wants to say and do when she is sharing her wool demonstration. She wrote step-by-step instructions for making felted wool bracelets, and yesterday we practiced felting, by felting bracelets, and bars of soap. I am so impressed by her desire to be prepared, her eagerness to have everything ready... skills, as an adult, I am still trying to fine tune. So, yesterday I was a visitor to Maker Faire, asking questions and inquiring about the bracelet making project. She managed her answers quite nicely, and then together we made bracelets. Actually there is one question we don't have an answer to: Why doesn't the sheep's fleece felt and shrink when the sheep are out in the meadow, getting damp, and rubbing itchy backs on a post?
The package from Sandie, of Wild Rivers Wool Factory, arrived and in it were at least twenty unique samples of different wools. Each sample was labeled, in a clear, sealed bag. Sandie also sent copies of "Sheep Reader," for young readers, from the American Sheep Industry Association. Maria and I read every article, and then we studied all the different wool samples from the different sheep breeds. They are so beautiful! We were loving the textures, and colors, even the smell! It was Maria that first made us realize that natural roving has a sweet-sheepy-woolly scent.
Did you know... there are more than 1,000 different sheep breeds in the world?!
Did you know... there are 40 different sheep breeds in the United States!
Did you know...some mother ewes can have as many as five lambs at once!
Did you know... the fleece from one sheep can make a full suit!
Did you know... one pound of wool can be spun into 20 miles of yarn!
Did you know... wool is flame resistant, and will not catch fire!
I did not know, until Maria read me the Sheep Reporter!
The second package to arrive from Oregon... wool roving! Maria's Grandma was visiting Wild Rivers Wool Factory, where she met Sandie, and she chose three beautifully dyed bundles of roving for Maria to share at Maker Faire.
Just look how big these few ounces of wool roving are... and it feels so light and soft and huggable!
A little wool roving goes a long way. We will have plenty to share, thanks to Delia.
Okay. At Maker Faire, Maria is going to demonstrate felting wool roving to make bracelets. But today, we are going to show how we felted these bars of soap. The process is similar... it's about measuring fibers larger than the finished project, gently pulling them apart from the whole roving, submerging them in water and then using friction to get the fibers to bind and shrink to size... that's felting! And if you want to learn how to turn a nice bar of soap into something really pretty, then click this link and visit us at Love and Rockets Make!, where Art and Engineering meet to play!

8 comments:

  1. Sheep's wool does not shrink on the animal when it gets wet primarily because of the lanolin that coats a sheeps wool naturally- it makes them water proof. How handy is that? Also wool tends to shrink most when it is tightly woven into fabric. Good luck Maria @ Maker Faire.

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    1. Ah-ha!
      Lanolin...that is so cool.
      Nature and all her marvels, and readers with good answers: life is great! Thank you, Laura.

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  2. You and Maria are both amazing. Happy Mother's Day!

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    1. Judy, Maker Faire is amazing. They are so accommodating and encouraging, welcoming everyone with an idea or a creation, big or small. We love how simple this is, and how much support has been generated for Maria's interest. Happy Mother's Day to you as well... I know something about how much nurturing and caring you share with everyone around you, and it makes this place a better world. ((hugs))

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  3. I have another question about wool...how long until you source it locally? I mean back-yard local? You have a barn now...

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    1. I can see why you'd ask.
      But, no... no, I don't think
      I am up for sheep.
      Even now, I am feeling like
      a dork for adding goats...
      _one those mornings_
      I do look at Benjamin Franklin Thunder Cat, and his full
      and fleecy coat, in a new light, though!

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  4. Very cool!
    Did you also know that wool is naturally antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial?
    I only know this because of cloth diapering my babies; wool makes an excellent diaper cover material.
    Go Maria!

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  5. Thanks for all the wooly wisdom! And did you know that lanolin is one source of vitamin D?

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