Waulking Wool

Waulking Wool

 Waulking Wool

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

If you have an interest in raising sheep, learning more about the breeding of sheep for wool, meat, or milk, or the art of spinning, knitting and crocheting then you need to attend the Shepherds’ Extravaganza being held now through Sunday in conjunction with the Puyallup Spring Fair. The Extravaganza is offering craft booths of finished wool related - fiber related products, spinning fleeces for show and sale, fiber related classes on spinning, dyeing and weaving, and an introduction to color genetics in sheep. In addition, there’s a special treat this year for those attending. Amy Wolf, a coordinator with the Shepherds’ Extravaganza, expounds.

WOLF: We have a group coming in from Seattle, the Northwest Gaelic Association, and they will be waulking wool, and that is the ancient art of “blessing of the wool” in medieval times.

Wolf gives us an insight into the art of “waulking wool”.

WOLF: There’s a bagpipe player that will come and he’ll give an introduction by calling the group together. He’s more like a herald, and so he’ll get people interested. Then there’s singing - it’s almost a chanting, because there’s a rhythm when you pick the cloth up and set it back down your hands hit the table.

Wolf explains what the process of waulking wool does.

WOLF: What that does is it shrinks the fiber together. When it’s woven there’s space in between the strands of yarn, so when you take it off the loom you want to make sure you shrink it a little bit so that when you’re using it for garments it doesn’t actually shrink up on you after you’ve worn it for a while. You get it preshrunk by “waulking” the wool.

For workshop times and a schedule of events visit shepherds-extravaganza.com.


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.

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