The Day of Black Sun

Last week was a large disappointment for me, large enough for me to delay blogging the event.  Throughout most (maybe all?) of Europe there was a solar eclipse visible.  Some countries were able to see a total eclipse, others an almost total.  From where I lived, I was supposed to see a beautiful, half-ish eclipse.

I was super excited.  I love solar eclipses.  Don’t get me wrong, lunar eclipses are cool too, but they don’t have the same visual excitement for me.

I suppose the love comes from when I was a child.  There was a certain fear involved in events like this for me.  I guess I heard a few too many ‘signs of the apocalypse’ stories.  Seeing the sun go out, and knowing the world continued on gave me a feeling of power.  At the time, I was certain I had something to do with it.  I willed the sun to come back.

Of course, now I am well aware it is all science.  Beautiful, complicated, reliable, science.  The truth did nothing to suppress the excitement I feel for an oncoming eclipse.  In fact, this understanding of the universe makes it more exciting for me.  Knowing all of this, I’m sure you can understand my disappointment when I could see none of the eclipse from my house.  The entire was covered in clouds.  I couldn’t even see the sky get darker, as it was already pretty dark that morning.  Yeah, I was not happy.

I wasn’t the only person in my house to be excited for the eclipse.  Little One was also thrilled, as one of her absolutely favorite television shows had a story arc involving an eclipse.  I had to promise to have her (VERY late) birthday blanket done before the eclipse, because she was sure she needed it for her invasion plan.

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For the many of you out there who do not have any idea what this quilt is all about, it is themed around Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The cartoon, not the movie.  I haven’t seen the movie, so I have no opinion on it, however I LOVED the cartoon.  A couple of years ago, as we were moving to Belgium and Little One’s world turned upside down, I introduced her to the series.   It was just something to watch together while we sorted laundry, but for her it seemed to turn into a lifeline.  She let herself get lost in a world where kids were powerful, smart, independent, and yet still silly.  Many horrible things happen in the series, and the sequel series Legend of Korra is much darker, but through it all the characters keep a sense of humor.  It was just what she needed at the time, and until very recently was her go to show at all times.  We watched that show over and over.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that as the show was a security blanket of sorts, the obsession waned a bit when I turned it into an actual blanket.

This isn’t traditionally quilted, and is made from layers of machine appliquéd pieces.  I suppose if I had searched, or plotted excessively, I could have created a similar or identical look with paper piecing.  I chose not to, because the look of the blanket meant too much to Little One to mess around with trial and error, or to end up with squares that were almost right.  I love making quilts, but when it comes down to what my children want, I care more about their vision than doing things within the technical definition of quilting.  It is why I occasionally call my creations blankets, not quilts.  I might not care about the differences, but I know there are those who find these differences deeply important.

So I guess the eclipse wasn’t technically a complete bust.  My daughter walked away with a birthday blanket she is thrilled with, and we enjoyed telling each other stories of how we invaded the fire nation that day.

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A Birthday Blanket

It’s been a little while since I shared something I have sewn, but that does not mean I have not been sewing.  I took a little time away, taking a break from the machine and the planning.  Then, birthdays came around again.

As the girls have birthdays so close close to Christmas (in the beginning of January and February) it can feel like present overload.  All the clothes, books, and toys from Christmas are still all over their floors when more start pouring in.  A homemade gift from home helps to control some of this at least a little.  (Even if they are a little late this year.)

Both girls are very opinionated about what they want their blankets to look like.  They have a theme in mind, and make sure to let me know what needs to be included in order to keep the important things from being forgotten.  This year Big One wanted her theme to be flags.

Big One has an interest in other countries, and more specifically the flags of these other countries.  I’m not certain from where it comes.  Perhaps it is the traveling we do, giving her the sense of being a ‘world citizen.’  Perhaps it is her obsession with an anime called ‘Hetalia.’  Perhaps it is just her quirk.  The reason didn’t matter too much because it technically has no effect on the result; a list of countries whose flags she wanted on her blanket.

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The individual blocks didn’t take as long as I feared they would.  Once you consider how many of the flags are just large stripes of color, all you need to worry about is getting the correct colors and putting them in the correct order.

There were a few little mistakes, and a few things that needed to be simplified for the sake of my sanity.  (Seriously, look at the flags of Spain and Prussia and tell me you wouldn’t have simplified their pictures.)  I think when you try to ignore the black borders, which obscure some of the black sections on the flags, and don’t look too closely at the UK flag, the mistakes are not that bad.  My biggest fear was sewing a flag in upside down, and needing to take everything apart to fix it.  I may have double checked every flag a few times, just to be one the safe side.

There were a few things Big One was very clear about.  First of course was the list of 18 flags she wanted.  She was understanding about everything, and said she was including some she didn’t think I would be able to do, and it was okay if I couldn’t.  (But I did.  All of them.)  The second issue we had was the placement of flags.  She was very clear that the UK and French flags had to be as far away from each other as possible, and that America and Canada should be close to each other.  Beyond that, she made a few little changes for reasons she did not share with me.  In some ways I think I am better off not knowing all of the reasons.

The most fun from this blanket was actually that I learned a little along the way.  I knew Prussia was not around anymore, but while working on the blanket Big One shared a little of the history of the country with me.  We also found it interesting when we visited Salzburg and saw flags with a very similar bird to the one found on the Prussian flag.  It gave a nice reminder that while we are visiting one place that is, we are kind of visiting other places that were as well.  The most fun fact I learned was about a place I don’t think I will ever be, Sealand.  It is a neat little country, with an interesting history.  There might not be a lot to see there, but I have to admit, I still want to go.

However it went, Big One is now not just waving her flag, she is sleeping underneath them as well.  One happy child, and the effort was all worth it.

Running Late

So, remember a few months ago when I said I was taking a pottery class?  I shared pictures of a few in progress projects, and said I would share the finished projects?  I remembered too.  I know it might not seem like I do, as I haven’t posted them yet, but I do.

So, what is bringing on my memory?  I start a new pottery class next week!  Yes, I loved it enough, I am doing it again.  But first, let’s share what I made.

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Before…..

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and after!  (Sorry about the cruddy lighting.  This is why I am planning to work on my photos for this blog.)

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Before…..

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and after!  Plus two more similar sized bowls you can barely see behind!

Sadly I don’t have a all of them as before and after, but I do have the two from my first couple of classes.  They are sad, wonky pieces, and I love them.  Of course, I also love the other, better pieces.  Being a coffee lover, I of course had to make myself a mug (and the only decent picture in the batch).

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And I made a matching bowl.

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I made a pencil holder, for no apparent reason.

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And a set of chopstick bowls.  I only took a picture of one, but I made four.

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I think they last two pictures are my favorite pieces however.  First a collaborative project; I made the bowl, and a friend made the octopus.

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And the final before and after, Little Ones’s pieces.  She made a bowl, a plate, a puppy head, and a heart.

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Before…..

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And after!

Here is to another pottery class, taking better pictures, and posting things on time!

Cold Days

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I hate winter.  It is no real secret, I tell everyone.

And it’s nothing personal.  Winter is very pretty, and if it were not so cold I would be a fan.  The one advantage of winter in my eyes is the logical need to stay inside, drink lots of tea, and enjoy a nice warm fire as I read a book.  Or write a book.

Unfortunately if you are me, it also means tea puddles as I am incapable of not spilling beverages.  I didn’t grow up in a house that was obsessive with coasters, but as I have gotten older I have begun to realize how nice it is to have something to keep the hot liquid from hitting my furniture, my electronics, and my appendages.  Coasters are never enough, so I was happy to adopt the idea of the mug rug; slightly bigger than a coaster, and smaller than a placemat, it is big enough to work with my ability to spill.

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In addition to the function of the mug rug, they are fun to make.  It is a tiny quilt, capable of being completed in one sitting.  It is all the joy of quilting without the long term commitment, and is the perfect way to use fabric scraps or try new patterns.

It just gets better and better.  I might survive winter after all.

Art

Sometimes there seems to be a convergence of information; ideas come together, each feeding each other, and becoming more than they were to begin with.  The connection can be obvious, or not, depending on who is noticing, and what is being noticed.  For me, these current small events coming together seems like an obvious connection, but I would not expect everyone to see it.

It started with an article on another person’s blog.  It wasn’t a big deal piece, nothing meant to be controversial (and I don’t think it technically was).  The article simply caught my eye because the blogger was discussing reading more books lately, partially due to their subscription to the service, Oyster.  This excited me, as it was essentially a Netflix for books; pay a subscription fee and have access to a large collection of digital books.  I had been wanting something like this for a long time.  Yes, I know, many other people call this service a library, but for a person such as myself with a pitiful local library, I was willing to pay for a better option.

As excited as I was to have this service as a consumer, I could not help but wonder how this service is for the writers.  Are they paid per read, or a one time book purchase?  Does allowing their book to be on a service like this help them by allowing them to reach a larger audience, or does it hurt them by keeping their work from producing a paycheck, therefore making it more difficult to earn a living from their writing?  Does it matter?  I mean, it’s not like libraries have killed the book business; this shouldn’t be any different.

It was almost just a passing thought.  I am working towards joining the ranks of published authors, so I think about these things now.  I wonder how my behavior as a consumer effects the producers.  And yes, sometimes I wonder if my opinion on these things will bar me from entering the elite ranks.  It doesn’t always change my opinion, but I think about it.

So I wondered about it, made a note to research it a bit, and signed up for the free trial which would allow me to see their collection of works.

A week or two later I caught notice of a large hullabaloo involving Taylor Swift removing her music from spotify.  My caring about this technically makes no sense.  I’m not really a fan of Taylor Swift; nothing personal, she’s just not my style.  I’m more suited to the SNL commercial then anything else.  Additionally, I have never listened to spotify; I hadn’t even heard of it before this.  So why do I care?  A musician I don’t listen to on a service I don’t use?  I care because her reason for doing so fascinated me.

Now there are a lot of different reasons available on the internet as to what contributed to this, everything from flat out money issues, to the potential for fans to be embarrassed about buying an album.  If you do a search, I’m sure you can find many reasons and pick your favorite.  However the first reason I found (linked above) targeted an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal discussing her opinion on art and compensation.  Simply put, her music is her art, and giving her art away for free undervalues both her and her product.

I’ll be honest.  Not being a spotify user, I don’t totally understand the idea of this service being equal to giving away her music.  From my understanding, it is similar to other services I have used, Pandora and Jango, but with a little more control over how often you listen to a specific artist or which songs to listen to.  Using these types of music services in the way I do, free access with occasional ads, does not feel like it is taking away the paycheck of the artist.  To me it feels the same as when I was younger, listening to the radio and hoping to hear my favorite songs.  If I like something enough, I’ll spend money to hear it whenever I want to, but most songs I am good hearing on the radio only.  Does this mean I am undervaluing art?

What is art?

Yes, art is rare and unique.  You and I could try to make the same thing, but it would not work.  We would end up with one of two results; either we would have similar items or one of us would have an original while the other made a copy.  Whatever an artist does is unique not only because of the vision they used to create it, but because they are the only person who could create that exact piece.

Of course, using this as the only definition, the sandwich I made for lunch yesterday could be considered art.  It was my own vision, and no matter how many people in the world choose to combine tuna and avocado in an open faced sandwich, this one is unique because it was made by me.  Additionally, because I do not make sandwiches for mass consumption, sandwiches made by me are quite rare.

Now, the sandwich was good, but I would not call it a work of art.  It wasn’t that good.  So what is art?

I would absolutely consider music to be art, but I don’t feel it is more beautiful simply because I pay for it.  The beauty of the music comes from it’s ability to express or invoke a feeling, particularly one I had thought was unique.

Of course, paintings and sculptures are art.  I have stood inside the Sistine Chapel and while it was beautiful, it was no more beautiful than when I had seen it on the internet.  In fact, I could easily argue the images I have seen elsewhere were better; I could zoom in on details and look for as long as I wanted without the pushing and body odor of other tourists.  I was moved to stand and appreciate the Venus de Milo, but that does not mean that all other images of her lose their beauty.

Writing is absolutely an art.  When the words are right they are magic.  It is more than just the beauty of the right words; you are transported.  No one else can tell the same story, and it does not matter what the format the story takes.  Digital, paperback, first edition; the words are the same.

For me the art is not in the creation, it is in the sharing.  I love the art of others because it allows me to not only see a part of myself laid out, but a part of the artist.  It is the beauty of what is inside us all, even when we do not realize we share these qualities.  We think we are one individual until another shows us how much we are alike.

Art is not meant to be hidden away, it is meant to be free for everyone to enjoy.  Yes an artist has a right to make a living, but without sharing, are you really an artist?  The creation should not be done because you need a paycheck; that is business.  Creation of art comes because it must happen.  You write the song because your soul is singing.  You carve the sculpture because the angel is screaming inside the marble to come out.  You paint because the picture belongs on the canvas.  You write the story because you must tell the tale.  You sell the art because you need to live, but you create the art because it makes you alive.

Does this mean it is wrong to value your art based on what someone is willing to pay for it?  Maybe, but then again, maybe not.  It is your art, a piece of you, not me.  You have the right to make artistic choices, just as I have the right to make my own artistic choices.  For you, you might need the paycheck to feel appreciated; right now I just want to be read.

So thank you, for reading.

Bragging Rights

Normally, when I make a post bragging about something homemade, it is something I have made.  Today, I am bragging on behalf of Little One.

Last week, she had a half day of school on the same day I had pottery class.  As a future artist, she was excited at the prospect joining me and seeing a real pottery studio.  At first she was a little shy, scared to try anything or leave my side.  After putting her hands on the clay on my wheel, and feeling it move without hurting her, she was addicted.  She sat right down with our teacher and made a bowl.

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After her bowl, she couldn’t figure out why everyone else was struggling.  As far as Little One was concerned, pottery is easy.  She sat down to make a bowl completely on her own, only needing a little of my assistance to turn it into a plate.

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With her one class success, she was sure she was an expert now, and offered to help me if I couldn’t quite get it.  As she told me, “Keep working Mama.  Soon you’ll make good stuff like me.”

Branching Out

I have been at a creative impasse lately. My writing has been slow moving, and I am including the blogging on this point, and my sewing has been a bit of a non activity latterly. The last thing I worked on with my machine was a pair of pants that needed a waist adjustment.  I needed a little bit of pick me up, something that would allow me to stretch my creative legs.

Luckily for me, I was able to sign up for a pottery class.

Pottery has been something I have wanted to try for a long time.  My high school gave pottery classes, but my schedule was always too full to take one.  In retrospect I probably should have skipped drama one year and tried something new, but it is too late to change that now.

I can’t change the past, but I can change the future.  Or the present.  Whatever.

I’ve only taken two classes so far but it is a lot of fun.

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Look what I made!  A wonky cup thing!

Alright, so that was just my first class. I did not accomplish much, but I managed to center the clay and make this thing.  This picture is from before I did any trimming or anything, so it looks a little better now.  I guess I should have taken another picture, but my hands were in the clay mot on my phone.

That wasn’t all I made.

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Look!  A bowl!

Okay, this is a little wonky too, and my teacher told me I pulled the walls a little thin.  But he also told me the ability to pull the walls thin was an okay thing, so I’m choosing to look at it as a good.

I haven’t done much.  In two classes I have managed to make exactly two things.  The others in the class have each made more, and some of it is better than what I have managed to make.  But I am going to try to finish this class without being too hard on myself.  Maybe I need to let myself slow down, and work at whatever pace feels natural. And hopefully at the end, I will be happy with what I have done.

50 Books- Frankenstein

 

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Only six weeks in, and six books finished.  Ugh, I feel like I should be much farther! I can’t tell if it is simply because I am only beginning or if I should actually be farther, but I suspect the later.  Some of these books are a little harder to tackle than I thought, and many of them are much longer.  I’m sort of glad that I decided to keep a page count as well; even if I end up reading a smaller number of books this year than normal, I think I might just even out in page count.  Of course I have never kept a yearly book count before, so I’m not sure how many books I read on a normal basis, only that I used to have books I would finish in one day occur more than once a week.

Oh well, moving on.  For anyone who is new to this feature, I am working my way through a list of 50 books you should read before you die in one year.  This is an attempt to learn more about writing, feel more cultured, and have the bragging rights next time I am in a crowd of literature nerds which comes up much less often than I would like.  If you want to see the whole short trip, start here!

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Where did I get the book and how many pages?

I cannot remember exactly when and where I purchased this book.  I’m pretty sure it is one of the books in my collection I ran across in a BX bookstore on a base somewhere and put aside to read at some point.  I am certain however that this book has 213 pages, so at least I am sure of something today.

Have I read this before?

I meant to, but never got around to it, like many of the other books on this list.

What do I know?

IT’S ALIVE!!!!!

Sorry.  It had to happen at some point here.

I actually have never seen the classic movies (unless you count Young Frankenstein as a classic.)  Mostly what I know is the common knowledge from movies.  Frankenstein is the Doctor, not the monster.  The fire adverse monster is made in a lab, gets out, and terrorizes people mindlessly.  There are many different versions, but the common monster look is the tall, lurching, green guy with stitches  randomly across his skin and bolts in his neck.

What did I think?

I don’t even know where to start.  This book leaves me speechless.  Seriously, while reading I did a lot of grunting at my family and waving them away since they were interrupting my reading time. 

This book is so much more than a tale about a mindless killing machine.  In fact, reducing it to that is insulting.  This book is about the pursuit of knowledge and scientific achievement.  It is about a man who works to achieve greatness and is driven mad by the results.  It is about the outsider who is desperately trying to fit in, and is angry that they never will. 

This is considered to be one of the greatest horror novels, but to me that seems to be a bit simplistic.  This is not just a horror story; this is a story that delves into the psychological and philosophical.  This shows the devastating results that can occur when one acts without forethought.  Frankenstein examines the ideas of man, and God, and creation in a way that makes sense; it is not some far away concept, it is relatable and understandable.  Even as the monster kills, you understand his actions.  I could even find a level of sympathy.

I know I am not necessarily making sense as I ramble on.  I honestly do not know how to explain why I found this book to be so amazing.  All I can say is it spoke to me, and I am glad I listened.

Should you read this book before you die?

Read this book when you are making a hard decision. Read this book when you are questioning the humanity of man.  Read this book when you want to think.  Read this book when you want to feel better about your own decisions.  Read this book when you have messed up. 

Just read this book.

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I almost feel a little breathless right now.  I wasn’t expecting to add any new books to my personal top ten or even my top fifty, but I fell deeply in love with this book.  Not only am I glad I read it, but I am sure I will read it again.

Unfortunately, I must move onto the next one and hope I can find something that gives me even a fraction of the joy I found in this one.

As I said before, or at least as I meant to say before, after Frankenstein, I am moving onto The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  I have no picture, since I am reading an ebook version.  I could give a picture of my ipad, but somehow I don’t think it will have the same punch.  After reading about the picture, I pan on a trip down a river with Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  Hopefully after a couple of these shorter books I will have the energy to tackle another long one.  This is definitely a marathon, but it’s not my first.  I know how to take the pain.

Happy reading!

Long Term Project

Whenever I get into a funk about one thing, it tends to leak out into other areas of my life.  I’m cranky about my writing, so I don’t feel like running.  My runs are not going well, and suddenly I don’t want to sew.  As crazy as it is, I think there is a part of me that doesn’t want to feel better.  Maybe I have a secret martyr complex, and want to stay miserable.  It’s slightly tragic, but mostly just annoying.

There is one good thing about having my moods from one project bleed into another; as soon as I have something going well, I start to feel better about other things.  It doesn’t matter that they are completely unrelated, I get my hope and good spirits back.

With my recent funk, I started looking for something to do.  You know, other than lay on the couch playing endless games on my phone while watching Netflix.  While the couch potato act might be satisfying to the funky mood, it is not productive in any way, shape, or form.

I was digging around in a box of sewing things, for a reason I can no longer remember, when I ran across a kit to make a cross stitch bookmark.  It had been years since I had done any cross stitch, but it seemed like it would be a quick project while I waited for my lives to refill on Free Fall.  I worked on it a little at a time for a couple of days, and had a cute bookmark to show for it.  Yea me!

This brought me down to my basement where I was pretty sure I had a couple of other cross stitch projects waiting to be finished. Enter Oscar.

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Oscar the Grouch, one of the most relatable Sesame Street Characters (the other being, of course Cookie Monster).  I’m pretty sure this was bought to go in my daughter’s room when she was a couple of years old, making it a project I started around a decade ago.  When I pulled it out of the package again this week it was just a blob of green stitches I had done and abandoned. 

I cannot clearly remember why I set this aside, but I can only presume by the fact that it has survived a couple of moves, that I intended to finish it.  I’m not quite there yet, it will probably take a couple of nights of watching tv with the kiddos to finish from here, but soon I will finally be able to call this project done.  Big One no longer cares about a Sesame Street cross stitch, since she is 13 and too cool for that, but I am still calling it a win.  Not only am I finding an old hobby again, but I am proving to myself, I finish what I start.  A small, less than 5×7, cross stitch project that I come back to finish after 10 years?  This shows at least a little determination.

Who cares if I am in my 30s.  Oscar will hang above my desk soon, reminding me that I can keep going, even after a little break, and big grump.

Spinning A Yarn

I don’t hide my identity as a writer (or writer to be as I occasionally feel), but I do have a few secrets here still.  I do not only spin a figurative yarn, I occasionally have been known to spin literal yarn as well.

Most of my creative sharing here revolves around sewing, and even more specifically quilting.  I like sewing projects because they are, relatively speaking, quick to complete.  I cut pieces out and put them together like a puzzle.  I can always see exactly how long I have until I am done, and can even have a level of control over how quickly I finish.  If I want a quick quilt, I cut big pieces; if I want to make the project last, I cut smaller pieces.  Easy to control.

In another life, I was an obsessive knitter.  I may have had a short lived blog about knitting (and no, I will not tell which one, I don’t expect anyone to recognize it anyway), before realizing I simply didn’t have enough to fill the space. Even posting once a week, I felt like I was rushing through projects, simply to have something new to talk about.  I had lost the fun of the process, much like I quickly did with book reviewing.  There are some things that simply don’t fit everyone, and that’s okay by me.

While the sharing of my obsession didn’t stick, the knitting, and other yarn related activities did.  When we moved to Belgium, close to the beginning of winter, it seemed like a good idea to get back into my knitting ways and warm up my family.  Then, an even more brilliant idea occurred to me.  What if I get an entire fleece from a sheep out here, clean it and spin it myself, and then turn it into sweater.  I mean, what could be more of a Belgian knitting treasure than that?

I made a few calls, and found someone who knew someone, and managed to get a fleece.  Even better, I got it for FREE! 

The first problem came in when I realized how large a fleece is.  Do you remember the black sheep from the nursery rhyme?  Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool?  I didn’t think too hard about that answer of, ‘three bags full.’  I didn’t end up with three bags, just two large, overstuffed bags.  I had no idea what to do with this stuff, and I had a lot of it. 

It ended up sitting in my garage for a year.

A month ago, my husband reminded me I do need to deal with this fleece before it is time for us to move.  A full, unwashed fleece might not travel well. 

When we started having a little sunshine, I pulled it out, and began the process of skirting the fleece.  Skirting, for those who are unaware, means laying it out, and pulling yucky stuff out of it.  Surprising as it may be, sheep are not clean animals.  They spend their time outside in mud, grass, and hay, don’t bath regularly, or use any form of toilet paper.  All of that outdoor stuff gets stuck in their wool, and some of it will not wash out easily. 

Now I was not able to meet the sheep who gave me my fleece, but I’m pretty sure his name was Steve, and he was a clean guy.  The other sheep may have had fecal matter in their fluff, but Steve was not okay with that.  Not only did he use toilet paper, but I’m pretty sure he even had a bidet in order to stay extra clean.  In spite of Steve’s great bathroom habits, he did enjoy his mud baths, which is why he still had a bit of brown stuff clinging to his wool coat.  Nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise.

I laid out Steve’s donation to my knitting habits and evaluated the mess, picking out what was not worth washing.

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It might not look it here, but Steve was not real clean.  Check this out next to a portion of washed and carded or brushed pretty fleece.

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You do not want to know the mess Steve left in my bathtub. 

It took me close to an hour to skirt the fleece I had out, and I still have another full bag of Steve to clean.  When I picked up Steve’s fleece, they told me I could easily get another free fleece the next year, and I am glad I did not take them up on this.  I like spinning, but cleaning the fleece is a lot of exhausting work, and it left my craft room smelling like a farm.  I am happy I tried this, but I don’t think I would want to do this regularly.

I still have a lot to do with Steve, and maybe sometime this winter I will be able to show you the Steve sweater.  Until then, wish me luck in cleaning my tub.

And for anyone getting and cleaning their own Fleece of Steve the Sheep, you can find the great tutorial I used, right here.  It’s a nice, easy to understand, simple process.