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Evolving through Handwork: The Value of “Process”

In our modern world, we have become a “product” oriented society. The enthusiasm and appreciation for “process” has been lost. With technology, we insist upon immediate gratification and instant results to meet our ever-changing whims. Vermont Grand View Farm, a sheep farm in the Green Mountains of Vermont, runs fiber classes and summer camps for moms and children in hopes to provide a means to slow down, observe, explore, and create. Children and their moms are invited to spend a week at the farm learning about animal husbandry, farm life, and the many fiber arts of spinning, felting, weaving, and knitting.

Getting to Know the Sheep

One goal for their summer camp focuses on teaching children how to enjoy the “process” of creating, by engaging all of their senses. The farm becomes the perfect tool for meeting this objective as it abounds with numerous opportunities for learning. The setting allows the children to slow down, discover the world around them, and fully engage in the steps necessary to produce a product without distractions.

This July, one group of summer campers met this challenge with much enthusiasm and proved that children can still enjoy the creative process. Within a week’s time they learned how to go from sheep to yarn. They began their week being introduced to the sheep, angora rabbits, and llamas who live on the farm. All week, they cared for the animals, providing them with fresh water and new pastures for grazing and learning about the relationship between nutrition and fleece quality.

Washing Wool

Their first day, the children skirted and washed a newly shorn Romney fleece. They learned about lanolin, crimp, and lock formation as well as the importance of careful feeding habits to reduce vegetation from contaminating the fleece. In the days that followed, the children dyed the fleece and learned how to card it into batts for spinning.

Dyed Wool Drying on Screens

By the end of the week, they were ready to spin the wool with drop spindles made with recycled CDs. At last they had yarn to take home with them.

CD Drop Spindle

To help them bring all of these steps together and to better understand the “big picture” of where knitted items come from, the children worked on a group mural which highlighted what they had learned. With wool as their medium, the children made the background for their mural using a wet felting technique. After layering the wool into a large batt, they covered it with a sheer curtain and began gently massaging warm, soapy water into the wool. Next, they rolled it up using a swim noodle and recycled pool cover. Now they were able to work the wool more vigorously rolling it back and forth until the wool turned to felt. This piece of felt became the background for their mural.

Gently Wetting the Wool

Rolling the Wool

Once they had made the background wool fabric, the campers were able to begin depicting each of the stages of going from wool to yarn. The children had decided to represent the sheep, shearing and washing the wool, carding and spinning, and lastly knitting the wool. They spent one afternoon making sheep and placing them on the background. Needle felted clouds and flowers were also added.

Making Sheep

Over the next couple of days, the children each made felt dolls which represented themselves. The dolls had pipe cleaners for arms and legs which were wrapped in wool. Then, they wound more wool around their figures for pants and shirts needle felting them into place. Using wet felting, they created small wool felted balls for heads and found yarn or wool to match their hair color. Each of the campers decide which stage of the process their doll would engage in on the mural and they began felting and assembling their portion of the mural.

Shearing

Carding

Spin

Knit

Completed Mural

By the end of the week, the children had completed their group project. With smiles on their faces, they proudly presented their masterpiece to their moms.

The children approached their work all week with much joy and laughter. Often, as adults, we sometimes lose sight of the joy in the process of doing something and get bogged down in the steps. We want to hurry along just to get to the end product quickly. The value of taking time and savoring each piece of the project gets lost in the desire to have a final product in hand. When this happens we often skip the process entirely and grab the finished product from the store. The campers at Grand View Farm, fully embraced each day and the tasks set before them proving that there is just as much value and joy in the process as there is in the finished product.

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Kim Goodling

Kim Goodling

VT Grand View Farm

Kim, a home schooling mom, is shepherd to her flock of Romney sheep on her Vermont hillside farm. Kim’s sheep, llamas, and angora rabbits provide the fiber for her mill spun yarn which she sells as yarn CSA shares. In addition to tending her flock, Kim teaches fiber arts classes and runs fiber retreats and camps for adults and children. Her farm offers B&B Farm Stays and invites you to visit their farm for a full farm immersion experience into the wonderful world of wool. Follow the activities at VT Grand View Farm on their farm journal and facebook pages.

Spin

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Giveaway

VT Grand View Farm is giving away one night’s stay in their Farmhouse Suite which sleeps up to 4 people. Sleep under cozy down comforters in 4-poster beds and enjoy waking up to roosters crowing, farm fresh eggs, and home baked muffins. Relax on the porch overlooking the mountains, visit with the sheep in the pasture, or stroll the dirt roads and forest trails.  To enter drawing for this gift, valued at $200 please leave a comment by Thursday, August 18th midnight pst.  Winner will be announced on Saturday August 20th.

We have a winner!

Christine Condon
Submitted on 2011/08/16 at 8:35 pm
What an absolutely lovely business you have. I would love to see your beautiful farm and B&B! Thanks for the fun contest!

 

Posted by Kim Goodling on Aug 15, 2011 06:15 AM | 321 Comments

321 Responses to “Evolving through Handwork: The Value of “Process””

  1. Stefani says:

    I am so pleased to be reminded of the simple lesson we so often forget …”there is just as much value and joy in the process as there is in the finished product.”
    Thank you for reminding me! I’d love to expose my children to your farm for a whole week!

  2. Zabe says:

    What a great project!

  3. Sara Kay says:

    What an amazing place! Thank you for sharing. I’d love the opportunity to visit!

  4. Emily says:

    What a wonderful place! Thank you for offering such a terrific giveaway opportunity!

  5. rachel steinberg says:

    I know where my daughter and I are going the summer she turns 7!!!!! and then again when my son does!!!!!!

  6. Jessica says:

    What a fantastic experience and a wonderful giveaway! Thanks for promoting an amazing opportunity! I know a little girl of mine would love to attend this!

  7. kimberly sion says:

    Hope to visit your farm either way! Thanks for the opportunity to win ; )

  8. Carrie says:

    What an amazing camp and experience. Thank you for sharing this!

  9. What a wonderful opportunity! We would love to visit the farm!

  10. Natasha says:

    I would love to be able to win this giveaway
    For my family!! I so miss getting your magazine
    In the post so it’s wonderful to get to read Rhe blog
    Since it makes the pain just a little less! :)

  11. Kristin says:

    dreamy! the project is so cute and beautiful, nice work, girls!

  12. Anna says:

    Sounds just wonderful!

  13. boatbaby says:

    Sounds positively dreamy! Thanks for this chance!

  14. mary B says:

    Oh, How wonderful! Kind of a “dream” getaway. What a great article also and very generous.

  15. Ann says:

    Such a wonderful story – and such important work! Thank you for keeping us informed of special places like this which provide such unique opportunities! What a treat!

  16. Halyna says:

    This sounds so interesting!

  17. Jess says:

    Wow! What an amazing experience! I love that the whole process is experienced.

  18. Tamara Woodruff says:

    What a great idea and a lovely result. Vermont Grand View Farm sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

  19. sara says:

    What a beautiful place!

  20. Jodi says:

    This is fantastic! What a wonderful trip this would be for my girls now while I have few (hopefully) months of time not working. I grew up on a farm and the girls love their trips to visit Granpa and his tractors but miss the farm animals. Thanks for sharing with us that this beautiful place exists.

  21. Donna says:

    What an amazing process. Thank you for sharing! We love sheep :)

  22. Robyn Caywood says:

    I’m so grateful to know this exists. I’d love to visit Vermont and the farm with my family.

  23. Christine Condon says:

    What an absolutely lovely business you have. I would love to see your beautiful farm and B&B! Thanks for the fun contest!

  24. Amy says:

    I would love to felt wool! I love the look! I would also love to see this farm and have my daughter see real lambs!

  25. Melanie says:

    This sounds amazing!

  26. Lisa says:

    My kids and I would love this experience. We are all crafters and would love to visit your farm. Thank you for this giveaway and for an idea for a family facation.

  27. Phyllis B says:

    I would love to visit the farm and participate in some of the activities.

  28. carolina amador says:

    Great article, sounds like a lovely experience!

  29. Claire says:

    Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to visit this amazing Vermont farm family. I would love to learn more about their wooly animals and have our child be engulfed in it too.

  30. Kelley says:

    Kim what an awesome job. Great to have kids take something from start to finish. They must all be so proud of their beautiful work!

  31. Nicole says:

    Please, please pick us! This would be the perfect birthday gift to my oldest daughterand not to mentin a fun time for the rest of us!! Thank you for the chance!!!

  32. Claudia says:

    Thank you for another great article!

  33. Suzanne says:

    I teach preschool and I work hard everyday to remind parents that for kids it is the process not the product that is the important work of children. Thank you for a great reminder.

  34. Tanya says:

    What a wonderful opportunity for children to see the entire process; from source to product!

  35. Jenny Tavernier says:

    WOW! This is such an honorable enterprise! – and so well written! – I am not in the running (no kids and wrong side of country!) But I can’t wait to hear more of your adventures, and all the love and blossoming creativity you are so wonderfully engendering! This is true integrity being taught – may you stay abundant!

  36. Agnes says:

    Yes, the process is more important than the product. Children are wonderful reminders of the pure joy in creating. Thank you for this article. I enjoyed learning about this farm!!

  37. Louise says:

    Wonderful! Thanks so much for the chance!

  38. barb says:

    Great opportunity! Learning to stay with the process will stay with these fortunate campers for life and serve them well in the future.

  39. KIm says:

    Oh how wonderful. Such a great experience for all. I would love to share this with my daughter. Many thanks.

  40. adriane says:

    Wow, would love to win this farm stay! We are just one state over so maybe we’ll have to make the trip anyway! Thanks for the chance!

  41. What a wonderful experience…Lorna

  42. Stephanie, MI says:

    First do, then understand….what a brilliant project to connect children….and really all people to fabric in a living way!

    Hooray for a drawing too :) we would love to go on vacation!

  43. R Howell says:

    This would be a great trip. What an oppurtunity to teach the kids about the journey the fibers travel from sheep to clothing.

  44. Jolita says:

    What a wonderful place and what a wonderful idea for a children’s camp! Reminds me of a favorite book at our house: “Peles new suit” by Elsa Beskow :) There is so much value for children to be involved in a process of caring and creating. I am looking for my vacations with children next year to be meaningful and wonderful and this camp would provide just that! Will keep you in mind for next summer :)

  45. Michelle says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  46. Ralph says:

    My wife and I have a small flock of Corridales and we sometimes have children out to card/spin or felt the wool. They always enjoy knitting or creating something out of the felted wool.

  47. Lynn D says:

    What a nice givaway.
    The felted peice that was a result of the group is a learning experience in itself. USually I make things on my own and went to a group that made lap quilts for charity. We made 5 tops in a short time. The feeling of accomplishment to share.

  48. Peggy says:

    My husband is from Vermont. How wonderful to be able to slow down the pace for an incredible learning experience!

  49. Susan says:

    What a wonderful story. We’d love to visit the farm.

  50. angie says:

    what a great farm! This would be amazing!

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