"The Thread of the Seasons"
You can follow the thread of the seasons
around the farm, if you know where it goes.
In spring Vendel shears the sheep,
teaching Thorsten and Sindri
how to handle them gently
and firmly in the process.
The fleeces are bagged up
to be washed and carded later.
These are jobs that the children can do
all summer under Rowen's supervision,
first picking out the big bits of chaff, then
rinsing the wool and putting it in baskets.
The older ones work at the carding,
while the women (and a few men)
spin the bats into yarn.
As the weather cools, out come
the big cauldrons for dyeing, on days
when a roaring fire is welcome.
Aisling goes to the garden to gather
the plants, then returns with a garland
of flowers and seedpods in her red hair,
basket full drab things with hidden treasure.
The fire burns, the cauldron bubbles, and
the dyers carefully follow the old recipes.
The woolen yarn goes in white, and
comes out dripping with color.
Arnvid makes bobbins and spindles
to hold the yarn while people work.
Winter is the season for knitting and
weaving, when the warm weight
of the fabric is welcome.
Tofa and Trygve are good at weaving,
while most of the women can knit
at least well enough for scarves.
A highlight of the days before Jul,
when the children grow restless,
is the choosing of the yarn.
Even the littlest are invited to lay out
the colors they want for their hats
and scarves and mittens to come.
They older ones help pick the hues for
the blankets that will go on their beds.
The adults join in the fun, the farmborn
bright with nostalgia and the villagers
learning the customs as they go.
Auduna smiles as she chooses some
of the softest lambswool for a baby blanket.
The thread of the seasons,
like the family ties between the people,
winds around the farm to bind everyone together.
* * *
Carding wool is easy with the right tools, which now include drums as well as hand combs.
Wool is simple to dye using natural materials.
Yarn holders come in various styles including bowl and spindle.