Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eggs and Bunnies and Wheels Left Behind

I have been spending idle moments felting some of my dyed, carded wool around plastic eggs and knitting little bunnies, hopefully to sell at the weekend markets. I call the eggs "Rare and Exotic Sheep Eggs -- colorful eggs from contented sheep," and display them in a cozy nest of curly Wensleydale locks. They are fun to make, if a bit time consuming, since they are wet felted around masking tape-covered plastic eggs.

At the market my husband loves to sit there and spin out wild stories about how our sheep first use their wool to build cozy little nests, hidden in the tall grass of the field, then secretly lay their eggs. He talks about how difficult it is to find them, because the sheep are really very smart and clever, and then goes on to tell about the teeny little baby sheep that might hatch from the eggs if the buyer takes very good care of them.

This seems to delight most children and some adults, as do the bunnies who are featured in a nest of pale green Wensleydale locks, getting ready to nibble on an organic carrot. I have knitted them a time or two over the years, but finally purchased the pattern from Jackie at Heart's Ease and asked her if it was ok to try to sell them... the operative word being "try." She was very supportive, and quite helpful, with lots of good ideas for next year, and asked that I give credit to her for the pattern.

To my surprise, several people stopped and wrote down the address for the pattern
, but not one even looked at the handspun yarn for sale, which would have made very cute bunnies if I do say so myself. So far only one dear little girl came rushing back after closing on Saturday, handed me money that had been squished in her fist, and then spent many anguished minutes trying to pick her bunny. I reassured her that she had selected the absolute best.

I thought that I had heard practically all of the possible comments and quips on spinners and spinning (including the rather ancient little old fellow who would stop and serenade me with "There's an Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlor" three or four times each morning), but the fella who exclaimed, "See what she's doing? She's making hair wigs!" to his equally clueless girl pal this morning was definitely something new.

Also new and different were the two high school boys wearing football jerseys who marched over to my rack of sheepskins and demanded to know "What are these -- placemats?" I explained that they were sheepskins, and they paused only a beat before they pointed to my wheel and asked "Do you make them on that thing?"

If people actually know what a spinning wheel is, one comment that seems to be de rigure is "Oh, my ---- [fill in the blank: grandma, mother, aunt, etc.] had one of those but I never saw her use it." I have heard this so many times, that it makes me very curious about what has happened to the hundreds, if not thouands, of unused, cast-aside spinning wheels.

Today a lady paused briefly to see what I was doing, then tossed off dismissively, "I used to do that." After a brief pause, she added, "I even used to have my own SHEEP."
Well, now, isn't that interesting. So I just had to ask, "What happened to your wheel?"
"Oh," she answered, "when I moved out from Minnnesota it didn't get packed."

All day that has bothered me. How could you not take your spinning wheel?!!! My 36" wheel was one of the few things (besides eight dogs and a cat) that we took when we were evacuated from the fires. Did her poor little wheel make it as far as the front porch, only to be overlooked by the movers? Did they leave it out in the yard, alone, in the rain? Or maybe it was left in the attic, whimpering to itself as it leaned to look out a tiny, dusty window pane and saw the truck motor off down the drive?

1 comment:

Khalila said...

My wheel was in the passenger seat when we evacuated from the fires. As well as my box of "good stuff".

I'm making a couple of those bunnies too! Aren't they the cutest things ever! I took pictures and put them on my blog at Hope to see you on Saturday at the farmers market. Kelie