Navajo Sheep: Spinning

music
ambience: Wool being spun, light chatter in the background

Before cloth can be woven, there must be sufficient yarn to complete the task. For some, store-bought yarn will do, but the women of the Navajo nation recognize the superior quality of yarn spun from the wool of their own sheep. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We’re listening to the sounds of a spinning wheel as weaver Tracy Martinez works with the wool of the Navajo-Churro sheep. The Navajo have raised Churro for as long as anyone can remember, and they believe that its wool makes one of the finest yarns available. Tracy Martinez.

“You look for certain characteristics. You don’t want a lot of grease, you want a certain amount of coarse hair and a certain amount of soft fiber. It’s a two fiber type wool — you have a guard hair and a soft undercoat – it’s ideal for spinning. It’s easy to draw the wool apart – and the length of the fiber itself is long, so it makes a nice draw. It makes it easy to pull apart compared to a real short fiber. I’m spinning carded wool, off the tip of the spindle. It’s held at an angle with some tension, and I’m drawing out the wool fiber as the spindle is turning, which my foot is in control of the speed. Okay – the foot’s moving the treadle which is attached by a bar to the wheel. And I can go faster with my foot – and it’s just a matter of drawing out the fiber – and an even flowing motion, as it’s turning – and you can feel it through your fingers. It’s very soothing, very relaxing, therapeutic work.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Navajo Sheep: Spinning

The wool of Churro sheep has a superior quality that is cherished by the Navajo people.
Air Date:08/25/2003
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: Wool being spun, light chatter in the background

Before cloth can be woven, there must be sufficient yarn to complete the task. For some, store-bought yarn will do, but the women of the Navajo nation recognize the superior quality of yarn spun from the wool of their own sheep. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. We're listening to the sounds of a spinning wheel as weaver Tracy Martinez works with the wool of the Navajo-Churro sheep. The Navajo have raised Churro for as long as anyone can remember, and they believe that its wool makes one of the finest yarns available. Tracy Martinez.

"You look for certain characteristics. You don't want a lot of grease, you want a certain amount of coarse hair and a certain amount of soft fiber. It's a two fiber type wool -- you have a guard hair and a soft undercoat - it's ideal for spinning. It's easy to draw the wool apart - and the length of the fiber itself is long, so it makes a nice draw. It makes it easy to pull apart compared to a real short fiber. I'm spinning carded wool, off the tip of the spindle. It's held at an angle with some tension, and I'm drawing out the wool fiber as the spindle is turning, which my foot is in control of the speed. Okay - the foot's moving the treadle which is attached by a bar to the wheel. And I can go faster with my foot - and it's just a matter of drawing out the fiber - and an even flowing motion, as it's turning - and you can feel it through your fingers. It's very soothing, very relaxing, therapeutic work."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.

music