I was in a bit of bliss at Upper Canada Village.
Trying my hand at spinning for the VERY FIRST time! I know I'll treasure this when I'm a master spinner! (I wish I had a snap of the first time I knitted something).
My niece wrassling a lamb (it's a Leicester for those of you who know your sheep: they're one of the most heat-tolerant breeds, so are a good choice for our Canadian summers).
Two pioneer sheep-wranglers (check out those forearms...they don't use electric shears!)
This lovely pioneer lady let each of the kids try a bit of spinning and gave them the bit of yarn they created; I tied Jude's around my camera strap and love to touch it daily now...a kind of talisman to keep me focussed on my years-old dream of learning to spin. When you're 20, you think you have all the time in the world to realise your dreams. Now at 36 I realise it's time to make them happen NOW.
These machines, in the Woolen Mill, date back to the 1860s and are still running. The wool goes from fleeces to what we call roving (they call it "sliver"...that's with a long i), then into thinner sliver, then onto bobbins to be spun, then plied into yarn. Quite an involved process. This took the processing of wool out of the women's realm; hooray for the Industrial Revolution. Although I suspect the women were still doing most of the knitting. Wool was very valuable 150 years ago; a fleece could sell for 25 cents (which as good money at that time). People wove it and knitted it up to create most fabrics.
Now people can't get rid of their fleeces and throw them into the compost pile. It was wonderful to see these machines at work, and to then go into the gift shop to purchase a 3/4 pound bag of brilliant red "sliver", created on these very machines...ready for my forays into spinning!