Someone has told Mistress Agnes that it is ‘wool week’ this week. Who knew there was such a thing, certainly not Mistress Agnes? ’Tis not really the season for her to card and spin, though as the autumn chills permeate her cottage she may be persuaded to knit the odd Monmouth cap or two. Of course Master Christopher has the first job, to shear the sheep. Then it is into the cauldron with the fleece and boil it up with some soapwort to remove all the pesky sheep’s droppings. After several days drying in hot sun, then carding begins. If she has been east to the Somerset levels, Mistress A will have picked up fullers’ teasels for this task, otherwise it is the common teasel from her garden. Carding done, rolags at the ready and ’tis time to spin. It truth be told, Mistress A isn’t awfully good at spinning, be it using a drop-spindle or the traditional spindle of Sleeping Beauty fame. Once spun, she might weave the wool to make cloth, knit or even lucette cords. Master Christopher is after new breeches but he will be lucky. He’s only had his current pair for seven years. There’s got to be a good few more years life in them yet.
Mistress Agnes will shortly be writing a column for The In-depth Genealogist. Well, not actually Mistress Agnes of course, she can’t write but she will be advising someone close to her. Her first column will be about making clothes, so there is a chance to learn more.
If you live not far from Darkest Devon you can try some of these skills for yourself at our family day on 24 October. Register your interest here.