Every spring, the wooly sheep at Oatland Island Wildlife Center get dragged in front of a crowd of onlookers, unceremoniously tossed on their sides and shaved bald. I can’t imagine it’s a whole lot of fun for them, but it’s probably the only day each year they have to do anything so unpleasant. They really don’t have it so bad.
To celebrate the annual spring shearing, Oatland hosts a Sheep to Shawl festival. This year we met up with buddies to gawk at the poor sheep and marvel at all the ways we can use their gift of wool.
First, there was felting to do. The kids worked at felting wool of various colors before stuffing it in a ziploc baggie, adding warm water and squishing and squishing it, turning the felted wool into a bookmark.
There were cards to lace with woolen yarn.
And then there was the cool rope-making station where Camille crafted a multi-colored rope, and I gained a new appreciation for ropes. Doing this by hand is a lot of work!
I just love this kind of stuff – stripping away modern advances and discovering how to make things by hand. I would’ve been a terrible, horrible, starved-to-death pioneer because I can’t grow a thing and couldn’t bear to kill a thing. But I would’ve enjoyed making some ropes. And felt.