Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spinning with Norman…...

This winter, since Norman is here in Vermont instead of in the warmer climates, we have decided to take advantage of his presence to do some small spinning projects. Our neighbor, Marilyn Magnus, from Peacham was keen to learn to use her big wheel to spin some of her own Border Leicester sheep so she came over one morning and had Norman give her a hand. By the end of the morning she had mastered the making of carded rolls and was happily creating a very usable yarn on the big wheel. Our grant funded student, Ada, also decided that she wanted to weave with the wool from her parents flock of Icelandic sheep so Norman taught her the basics of sorting, scouring and picking and carding. In the case of this breed of sheep there is both guard hair and under fleece which must be separated and spun separately. Ada was wanting her yarn to be the weft for a single bed blanket so she opted for the softer under fleece. Norman spun some of the guard hair which would have been used by the Vikings in their day to weave sails. Fascinating! On the flax front, Justin is slowing working away at spinning the weft for a pair of linen sheets to be woven this summer and our other grantee, Joann, has finally spun enough of her home grown flax to begin weaving a warp for towels. More on this in another blog!
Norman working with Marilyn on carding her wool.

Marilyn trying out her carded rolls on the big wheel.

Norman demonstrating some of the finer points of spinning with roving.

Justin spinning flax for weaving his own sheets.

Close-up of the almost full bobbin.

Flax on the distaff.

Ada's Icelandic fleece.

Norman showing Ada how to scour her fleece.

Ada's fleece hanging up to dry.
Norman showing Ada how to spin carded rolls on a spindle.  Ada's borther, Ezra, looking on!

Norman starting Ada on the spinning wheel by learning to ply.

Ada trying out her new plying skills.


  1. lovely pictures , many years since i have done spinning , i want to start again , it is very relaxing, good job and a great wheel

  2. oh wow! What great photos. Wish I was there. Miss you guys one and all!! XX Hugs from Scotland!