Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Wool Story

Te Koha organic, biodynamic wool, fresh from the sheep.

Cleaning and sorting the wool to use in my lavender and wool filled pincushions, see the previous post.

One gorgeous pile of the softest, sweetest smelling wool for me to use.

Now to the story which my friend Bev, of "French Street Plum Jam" fame, told me last week. I have typed it out exactly as it was written:

I was five years old when my mum invited me and my five siblings to go wool picking and the wool would be made into half-quilts for our beds.

Mum would make a picnic of fresh homemade bread, butter from our churn and delicious plum jam made into sandwiches and a bottle of cordial for each child which we stuffed into our leather school bags and slung over our shoulders. In our hand we each carried a sugar sack to gather our wool in.

We walked up hills and around the fence lines picking the wool off the barbed wire fences where the sheep had stopped to scratch, leaving behind little tufts of wool snagged on the sharp wire. The sugar sacks quickly filled with wool and for the smaller children the sack was heavy to carry but the thought of stopping soon for the picnic spurned us on.

Time for lunch and how we scoffed those delicious gooey sandwiches, licking the last of the jam off the wrapping paper, the jam staining our lips. The cordial had already been opened earlier as we had got thirsty so we finished off the last of it.

Some time later Mum said it was time to get going home as Dad would be home from his farming chores and be wanting his tea. It was hard to get going again as the nearly full sacks were heavy and it was harder to pull them back to the homestead. It was a slow walk now.

Next day Mum handwashed the wool with soap and hung it in the sun to dry then combed it to fluff it up, making it bulkier. Mum cut up squares of leftover material that had been gathered over the years - pretty florals, old curtains, too-small dresses all cut to perfect squares with no pattern in mind to make half-quilts for the girls. Little embroidered rosebuds scattered over the plain material embellished some patches and these were all sewn together and stuffed fat with the wool to put on our beds.

The boy's quilts were more masculine looking made with coarse cotton, khaki serge and even pieces of old blankets and how thrilled they were with the warmth on those frosty, frosty nights.

Thankyou Mum.

I love that story, thanks for sharing it Bev.