A lot of things are mechanized these days. I will never bash machines because after all machines and tech are as complicated as quantum computers and as simple as a weighted stick.
But I do think there is something to be said about process especially regarding the handicrafts.
The spring shearing season nudged me to finally try my hand at processing a fleece. And wow. When I get a nudge there is something in my character that unearths everything I can without physically doing the process before the actual process begins. For weeks I poured over breeds, combs versus cards, different washing methods, more breeds, fantasizing about future knitting projects with future fleece(s). In the end. As it usually goes all the learning went out the window once I saw the bags of fleece lined up and whiffed that heady smell.
For me there is something fiercely nostalgic about sheep smell. Yes I grew up on a farm but beyond that. I am convinced that my people who lived so close with their sheep for hundreds of years even so much as to bring them in their houses at some points–that sheep and wool is in my dna somehow.
I walked away with a romney lamb and pining for a romney ewe in silver grey.
It took about three days of should I do it now? do I have everything? right now? to alright we’re doing this. I’m not sure how to describe the washing process aside from feeling a little like an expectant parent waiting to see if I did it properly–checking for felting–wondering where all the vm was going to go. I scented the fleece with a spicy vetiver–vetiver reminds me of temples and I have it in my mind to dye the yarn a deep red and make a ritual garment from it.
The combs ordered the night of the fleece’s arrival showed up a week later–perfect timing for the first third of the fleece that had dried. A few passes of the combs and
I’ve happy to have found the rhythm and satisfaction of freshly hand combed and pulled roving twisting up merrily on my spindle.
It’s really quite something to reflect how every single garment prior to the industrial revolution held this much human and earth energy in order to come into existence.
What was ordinary a few hundred years ago has become extraordinary in a world of consume and dispose.