I’ve been feeling a little urgency to talk about a terrible disease that is sweeping the nation. Maybe it’s more than a disease. An epidemic. It happens in secret silence. It’s wreaking havoc throughout the fiber land. This emergency is Wool Huffing.

It starts out innocently enough. You’re a new spinner thinking about possibly working with your first raw fleece. Your pusher – who you consider a friend – places the beautiful locks under your nose and asks you to breath in. A beautiful scent reaches out to you. Wool is lovely. Wool is your friend. Soon your are placing your entire face into the locks of joy…but only in private moments. You can’t seem to get close enough. That beautiful sheepy smell. The feel of the lanolin filled locks on your cheeks.

All would be o.k. if you could just keep it to yourself you think. But no. Within weeks you are drawing others in. You become the pusher.

I know all of these things from my own personal experience. I have become a pusher. Things got so far advanced that I began playing games with myself. I would try to identify the breeds of sheep by their smell alone while I was blindfolded. If there were cameras in the shop they would have exposed me, nervously turning my head toward the shop door, worried that someone would catch me with my blindfold on with shaking hands and bated breath.

It got to the point where I was dreaming of the sheep’s wool. It even got so bad that I dreamed about … o.k. nobody faint…spinning in the grease. That’s when I knew I had to come out into the open and share my problem with the world.

I often host sleepovers in my shop. These sleepovers can be quite raucous and that’s where I first began sharing my addiction with the public – even those who do not spin. I have been known to stand directly over a person who is fast asleep in front of the Wall O’Fleece to get a sniff for myself and share that pleasure with anyone within arms length.

So, that is why I’m writing today. My goal in sharing this is not to scare those of you who have not been affected but to give hope to those who are in the same situation as I was. This is not an epidemic of dire proportions. It can be turned into a sunny part of your life. Sniff the wool, breath in deep. Change the secret guiltiness into something of a remedy for your tired, yearning spirit.

I am no longer ashamed. I sniff in public. I recently asked a Michigan State Representative to take part in the huffing. He was first taken aback but then that was changed when I showed him how and he saw the intense pleasure of the activity fill my eyes and therefore my soul. I can now say with pride that I am a wool huffer and also a wool pusher. Say it loud!

Wool Huffers of the world UNITE!

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