Friday, 27 March 2009

Muffy Had a Little Lamb...

With all this winter, snowy weather we’ve been braving this week, we were all in the mood for some spring-themed activities. The thought of spring lambs and grassy fields came to mind as I daydreamed of warmer weather. Our reading list this week includes two of our favorite books by Nova Scotia author Thelma Morris-Fogarty. “Licorice and the Brown Sweater” and “I Hate My Name” are both wonderful tales for wool lovers like myself who are also looking for local reads. They both walk children through the process of shearing, carding, spinning, weaving and knitting. I’m currently working on a special spring sweater for Chi-Chi so he’s particularly interested in the wool cycle.

The boys found their way to my stash of raw fleece this morning. They took turns shearing each other and washing and “carding” the wool with their hairbrushes. I don’t have a spinning wheel, so that part of the process is definitely not going to be re-enacted! Chi-Chi informed me that it was now time to dye the wool.

I have to admit, the mere thought of dye and two monkeys in kitchen was a bit scary, but all went smoothly! Donning our aprons for protection, the little ones took turns pouring warm water and vinegar in the pot. I gave them each a dab of green Wilton icing color to mix into the dye bath. They carefully plopped in their fleece and I proceeded to set the pot on medium low. We all checked periodically to see when the dye bath had exhausted. Once the water was clear, I rinsed the fleece in cool water then dumped it in the bathroom sink. The kiddies delighted in further rinsing and then laid it out to dry.

Chi-Chi’s color choice this morning was just perfect – a beautiful springy grass green! It will look lovely in a basket with the Easter eggs we’ll be working on in the coming weeks! What a welcome alternative to that scary plastic grass that lines the supermarket shelves this time of year. It’s hard to believe that a little water, food coloring and vinegar can create such yummy colors. I get my raw fleece from Briggs and Little in New Brunswick. You can order it by the pound for a reasonable price. (You’d be surprise how quickly I burn through a pound of wool!) This little exercise would also work well with yarn. I chose fleece simply because Chi-Chi suggested it.

I adore this kid-friendly exercise in dyeing wool. You certainly don’t have to be The Wool Fairy to give this fun craft a try!

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