Sunday, October 4, 2015

Five in a Row: Warm as Wool

I bought this beautiful book, Warm as Wool by Scott Russell Sanders, last year as part of our Five in a Row curriculum, but for whatever reason, we never got around to "rowing" it. Well, as it turns out, the timing was perfect. The story is about a pioneering family in 1804 who travel to Ohio to try and start a farm. The mother brings with her a spinning wheel, loom, and a stocking full of money to buy sheep, and eventually, through many trials, is able to start her own herd of sheep and clothe her family in warm, wool clothing.

Old Sturbridge Village was hosting a Homeschool Day in mid-September. They offered a series of inexpensive, hour-long classes, and one was in Carding, Spinning, and Weaving. The teacher gave a talk and slide show about how clothing was made from wool in the 1800s and my older girls got to try their hand at carding and weaving on the looms in their educational center. She really did all my work for me this week. I love Serendipity Homeschooling.
Carding wool with carding paddles while learning a fun alphabet game.
Watching the big loom in action

Trying out the seated looms with foot pedals. These were the girls' favorites
Trying a smaller table loom.

 We even met a friendly sheep there who let us pet her.
 We extended learning with lessons on western expansion. We read a book about Sacagawea and Lewis and Clark, and did a math activity to see how many goods we could pack into our covered wagon. We learned facts about sheep and read the 23rd Psalm at our tea time.

When we got back from OSV, the girls were eager to do more with wool. Since I have been trying to learn to needle-felt for a few years, I introduced the girls to the craft. We used a Sheep Finger Puppet craft from Martha Stewart Crafts for Kids book as an inspiration. We wet-felted the white part around our finger. Then we needle-felted the faces. Needle Felting needles are extremely sharp and barbed, but I found a safe way to let the kids try it, by using a cookie cutter. We used an acorn shaped mini-cookie-cutter for the head, filled it with black roving and carefully poked it with the needles. I helped them shape the wool for the eyes. Then we needle-felted the face to the white wool. We also had to make some needle-felted hedgehogs by the kids' request.  For these we used a large egg-shaped cookie cutter like below, and kept the wool we were shaping inside the cookie cutter and our other fingers on the outside to protect from pokes. Overall, it was a success, and we hope to try some more cookie-cutter felting for Christmas ornaments in the future.

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