Thursday, June 19, 2014

All Things Sheep

Ever since I moved to the Navajo reservation I have been interested in all things sheep.

I have herded sheep, sheared sheep, carded, spun and woven wool.  So the Sheep is Life celebration is a high point every year.  It is a fiber arts workshop organized by The Navajo Lifeway organization.  ( )

This year Rebbecca Shepard taught us how to felt a sheep herders hat.

As with all things sheep it is not as easy as it looks.

Who knew we would have to start with uncarded raw wool?

I have carded before.  Believe me it is a labor intensive exercise for this beginning.

Happily we got to use a drum carder so it only took a couple of hours!

 Until we had this.  Piles of soft carded wool.

We layered the wool on top of the pattern for a hat.  The word of the day became "more" issued forth by our gentle task master. 

More layers.
Soap("Dawn is the best") and hot water.More hot water.

Maybe not more soap…suds ran across the table and dripped over the floor, down our arms and legs before we finished.
Definitely more of this.  Rubbing, beating, pounding the fibers together.  More, More, More…Who knew you could build up the upper arm muscle while felting a sheep herders hat?

Flip it all over like Navajo fry bread and more?  Really?  

Cut it off the pattern.

 Turn it over and inside out and back again and with each step…yes!  More!

But after all that rubbing and pounding and beating and molding we had a finished product.

I might not try this at home yet.

But I definitely want to make a scarf next.  You begin with silk and add the wool.  You use bubble wrap and I suspect more muscle power.

If you are interested, we hope to have Rebbecca come to Chinle for the scarf class or contact her about making a hat.  She lives near Many Farms so we can do it!  Stay tuned in late summer or early fall.


1 comment:

Calabria said...

Would love to read a children's book on that topic!