"Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber." Proverbs 31:19 NLT

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spinning With the Sheep, Sort of

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of having a group of homeschoolers into my home for a spinning demonstration. In previous years, I have done demonstrations at libraries, living museums, churches, schools, and at sheep farms. Or rather, farms that have sheep. I've even done demonstrations in hallways of schools, where a farmer friend of mine would bring a couple of sheep, shear them right there in the school (on a large piece of plywood) and then I would take some of the unwashed, freshly sheared wool and spin it up. I especially like spinning right there with the sheep so that the children can associate their clothing with the fiber used to make it. And their sweaters with sheep.

But I don't remember ever doing a demonstration in my house. So I had to try to figure out how to make the sheep/yarn/garments connection for them. I have often read the book A New Coat for Anna to children, and even adults, but what I really wanted was to have sheep - IN MY LIVING ROOM!

My very "tech-y" son helped me use our large flat screen T.V. to do just that. He got the needed cables hooked up to the television and I found a couple of You Tube videos that highlighted sheep and sheep shearing. I accessed my You Tube "play list" from my Nexus tablet and...voila, sheep in my living room, sort of.  Here are the videos we watched. This one and this one. (There was some redundancy in the second one, so we didn't watch the entire thing.) One of the children said, "I didn't know sheep were so noisy."  Loved that - at least they were getting a feel for sheep farming.

After the video I read from a book called Bible Friends by Etta B. Degering, in which is describes the process that Jacob, Joseph and Benjamin likely went through to make "Joseph's coat of many colors." (Spinning in both Old and New Testament times was done by drop spindle.) Then I tried my hand at showing the drop spindle - except it kept dropping. I didn't get the wool ends separated enough for it to "hook up." But maybe they got the idea.

The gray yarn is what the children spun

I then demonstrated carding and spinning and let 3 brave little ones try their hand at spinning while I treadled the foot pedal. All three were able to get some yarn spun and the little boy was quite adapt at it. And the 9 year old girl seemed to really like carding, feeling the fiber.

I finished by reading A New Coat for Anna (if you haven't read it, you really ought to) and with pumpkin bars and cider. Oh how I love demonstrating spinning, especially when I get to "play dress-up."

Showing some Kool-Aid dyed


One of the youngest spectators
getting to know the "token sheep."


  1. That looks brilliant - you even dressed up!! I'm sure the children really enjoyed it all. Sheep ARE noisy - there are some in the field beside us and they make some seriously loud and strange noises. I didn't know they would have used a drop spindle in bible times though I've often wondered. That's very interesting.

    1. Thank you, Gillian. It never gets old. Yes, it involves hauling a lot of things and I've said the same things over and over and ov...... - but it never gets old. And I love doing my small part to keep the craft alive.

      Yes, spinning wheels were not invented until Medieval times. They are a new-fangled invention. Well, relatively speaking. :-)

  2. That was so, so fun! I'm so glad you decided to dress up. :)

    Gilly has seen people carding wool and other spinny-type things (on movies and books) and refers back to our day with you. So fun!


Thanks for the encouragement of your comments.