Knitting, Crafts, Food

Woolgathering

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They give us so much, I think we should honor them today by extolling their many virtues, not to mention what they consistently give up without complaint I might add, to us knitters, crocheters, weavers, spinners, etc. Lovely, wonderful wool!

I like the phrase “wool gathering” which today refers to indulging in idle daydreaming but did, believe it or not, originate in the countryside of old England. When sheep would move about and graze freely in the fields, they would brush up against a bush and deposit a bit of wool. At one time, the poor people living in the rural areas would wander around the countryside and collect these bits of wool. This literal use of the phrase started in the 16th century and according to the 1553 Oxford English Dictionary, the expression was always preceded by the word “a” (“their minds have gone a wool-gathering”).  Because this habit required erratic movements and did not produce anything of value, the word woolgathering took on a more figurative meaning, hence what we know it as today, i.e., a dreamer who never makes anything happen. You can read the full article here if you would like.

Or it could be referring to the book, “Woolgathering” by Patti Smith (love the cover).

Or better yet, we could be talking about a booklet that Elizabeth Zimmerman used to write called none other than “Wool Gathering” which was what her original newsletter she started in 1958 became eleven years later in 1969. You can find back issues of this at Schoolhouse Press.

And. . . . the end product we are often left with is a beautifully dyed hank of yarn such as Miss Babs “Yummy” hand-painted fingering made of 100% merino wool in the colorway, Verrassing. Sheep, wool providers, we thank you.

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