Waulking Wool at Sheep Street
|Removing the blanket from the soaking tub. Photos courtesy of Pat de Caparariis.|
|Fulling the blanket.|
|A finished, fulled blanket!|
One of my favorite fiber shops, Sheep Street, is nestled in the rolling, forested hills of Morgantown, Indiana. The shop is located on a farm, so while you spin Shetland rovings you can watch the flock of nearly eighty Shetland sheep grazing outside the windows-heaven!
Earlier this fall, the lovely folks at Sheep Street hosted a wool waulking event. Waulking is the Scottish term for the process of fulling woolen cloth to increase its density and warmth. The fulling process is used in different parts of the world and varies widely. In Scotland, this method of finishing cloth traditionally brings a community together and, of course, involves music. The waulking afternoon at Sheep Street blended old customs with new to make a unique day. Fiber artist Donna Jo Copeland wove the blankets to be fulled using handspun and commercial yarns. Donna Jo led the group in traditional waulking songs, and a bagpiper even stopped by to join the fun! You can learn more about their day on the Sheep Street photo gallery.
If you are interested in learning more about wool waulking, check out Norman Kennedy's DVD From Wool to Waulking: Spinning Wool and Creating Cloth with Norman Kennedy.