We had some lovely friends over for dinner last week and their daughter (who is 9) was super interested in my drum carder, stash of fiber, and spinning wheel. So, what else could I do, but offer a tour! She carded up some washed Corriedale and then we added a bit of orange (pre-dyed) Corriedale to the mix. The result was a creamsicle-colered mini batt that she loved.
I thought she might like to see some other fiber options so we went up to the fiber room (aka the guest room) and poked around a bit into pillowcases full of clean fleece, and tubs full of top. She loved the alpaca the best–and I must say, it is the softest.
We then headed back downstairs to the spinning wheel and she had a go. I am a teacher by trade, and I have tried to interest many, many others in the fiber arts, but I had only ever taught my son how to spin (back when I was just learning too!) Celia made some awesome first yarn and switched off and on with her mom, who also wanted to try. I think Celia was a bit disappointed with the yarn, but she loved the process and I tried to encourage her to think of this as just the beginning–I told her I saved my first yarn because it’s something you can’t easily create again once you know more about spinning. She liked that.
Finally, we looked at the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook to check out Corriedale sheep and see where her fiber had come from.
All in all, it was a pretty magical (and nerve-wracking) experience: I wanted so much to give her a good introduction! The evening made me think about all of the ways that children love to work with their hands and how much the fiber arts–and so many other practical aptitudes–have fallen out of fashion in the US: no spinning classes, knitting practicums, or even sewing lessons in most schools. Such a shame.
But, if we all teach and share and set an example as crafty folk, we may just catch the eye of the next generation anyway 🙂