Sheep to Shawl

This afternoon was Fletcher Farm’s 60th anniversary celebration. Six Loose Ladies, the yarn shop where I volunteer was there demonstrating the sheep to shawl process. Sadly, there were no sheep at the event because it is August, after all. Most sheep are sheared in the spring. So we started the process with a washed fleece and went through the stages of “teasing” and carding the fibers, spinning the yarn, plying two strands together and weaving a shawl. In three hours, we had many visitors who asked intelligent questions and learned much about how it was all done many years ago. And with so many people helping, it was amazing how far we got, even though we didn’t come close to finishing the shawl.

unprocessed fleeceteasing the fibers open

We had a fleece for show that came right off the sheep. You can see how dirty it is and full of lanolin. After washing, the fibers are teased apart so they are easier to card. Carding is like combing to align the fibers in the same direction. carding machinespinning the woolWe used carding machines which make the job much easier and faster, but I did have a chance to try some hand carding – lots of work! weavingOnce the fibers were carded and rolled up, they were spun using spinning wheels. We had 4 ladies spinning and one person plying two strands together to make the yarn which was used in the weaving. Phyllis wove a beautiful wavy pattern on the purple warp – she does fabulous work and it was fun to watch her. The rain held off and it was a fun day, complete with a chicken BBQ prepared by the American Legion and live music by Gypsy Reel. Happy Anniversary, Fletcher Farm!

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1 Response to “Sheep to Shawl”


  1. 1 David August 17, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Nice Mom,

    I see you are also a featured artist: http://www.fiberartsinvermont.org/gallery.php

    Love you…


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