Did you know that bits of sheep can also be found in tennis rackets, candles, soap, and most cosmetics and skincare products? Arguably, the coolest part of sheep is their fluffy, beautiful, and versatile coat of wool.
While all of the final projects proved to be interesting, we (Kandace Yazzie and Christine Miller) took a different turn. When Kandace brought up the possibility of creating yarn, it was almost too good to be true. The ability to see a product be made from literally start to finish was too valuable to give up, so the idea became a plan.
It began with Kandace sheering the wool from her sheep Jack and Jill. While this practice is common and taught down by family members, it still proves to require much resilience and knowledge. Kandace brought the wool back to Flagstaff, split it into two garbage bags, and we both started cleaning the haul.
The cleaning process is extensive: it is not for the faint of heart. The first step is to separate the wool to take the dirt, fecal matter, sticks, and random sheep accessories out. Second, the carting process begins. A carting tool does a more precise job of filing the stubborn dirt out of the finely sheered wool. Lastly in the carting steps, it is to be washed and soaked in soap and water.
Here is Christine’s new buddy Esa helping card!
From the cleaned wool, the spinning process can start, and Kandace is the master of all things this area. She expertly twirls the wool around a tool to create the effect of yarn that is commonly recognized. We wanted to dye the yarn with berries and seeds from the Colton Garden, but unfortunately could not fit that into our timeline. Furthermore, this means that selling our product could not happen in time for the Holiday Marketplace. We were disappointed, but we gladly continued working and explaining our practice during the event.
While we weren’t able to financially reap the benefits of our labor and sell our product to someone who could create something with it, not all was for lost. Actually, nothing was. Through this project, Kandace and I grew a unique and irreplaceable friendship. Kandace was able to teach the class and our teachers about the process of creating something from the ground up. Lastly, we got to experience real community through the production of something we were both invested in and the growth of something beautiful.