Sheep thrills: Brookside Museum offers family program

If you've ever wondered what a sheep would look like bald, wonder no more. At Sheep to Shawl on Sunday, May 2, at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa, children and their families will get to see a sheep shorn, its wool made into yarn and that thread transformed into clothing or a blanket, right before their eyes.

Weaver Robin Larkin saw her first sheep shorn when she was 8 and it struck her as "pretty wild." This concept of taking a raw material and watching it become a useful item is a fascination that never fades, she said.

"The idea that you could take sheep and their wool and turn it into yarn and then into a useful functional beautiful item, I thought that was really cool. I haven't learned to spin yet, but that's definitely on my bucket list," said Larkin, who has been weaving for about 11 years and demonstrating her loom skills at Brookside for about four.

What Larkin does, she said, is take local sheep's wool that's been made into yarn and, using a loom, weaves it into blankets, ponchos, halter tops, bags, shawls, vests and more. While she'd love to just admire and hand out her own handiwork, she said, she sells her creations online at colormyloom.com. Her business uses the most basic form of labor " the hands " and this emphasis on simplicity is what she feels is significant to share.

"In this age of technology, it's really important to show children how things used to be done and also to show them something they can create with their own two hands. It's very empowering for them to realize if mom needs new kitchen towels, we go to the mall, but 100 years ago, we couldn't do that and made them ourselves," said Larkin. "I sit them behind a loom and actually let them weave and make fabric; the look on their face is priceless as they think, 'I can do this.'"

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