Molly Mule Hats & Home Spun Yarns
I had asked Bonnie Mae to write me something for this web page. After reading her story I couldn’t help but publish the whole thing. I hope you all find it as heart warming as I do.
Dear Rhonda…I think I have pulled this bio together somewhat…not very good at this sort of thing….I started working wool when I was a junior in high school. My best friends mother owned a very upscale yarn shop in Rancho Bernardo, Ca. I learned to process wool from shearing to spinning with a foot spindle. Most of the real work, as you can see from your buffalo wool, is in the picking and washing, then carding, dyeing, and re-carding…then on to roving and spinning.
After raising a family and nursing for 29 yrs., my husband encouraged me to retire and do something for myself. He helped me set up a small cottage industry processing wool. I was doing some home care in the interim time and took care of a young girl with a terminal illness resulting in loss of her hair and skin prior to her death. She introduced me to her world on the Internet and showed me an African Head-dress worn by Zulu Warriors. She wanted one like it to show her courage in battle…her battle. After she passed away I set out to find a way to make one.
Being as many disease processes cause very sensitive skin and even the slightest weight can be too much, it was important to find the best fiber to work with that was not only warm, but lightweight and non irritating. Buffalo Down. That is what the inner layer of the hump-coat is called, and is Very Pricey. I found a local person using buffalo to train cutting horses and obtained a small amount in very poor condition, but was able to harvest enough to make the inner lining for the first head-dress. Which is the smaller one in your photos. It was then that I happened upon you. I used your buffalo hair for many of the dread-locks as well as some wolf hair from a friend. That particular head-dress is still being worn by a woman on her, now 9th round of chem-radiation for breast cancer. She has been in this battle for 18 yrs now.
The larger headdress is, unfortunately a memorial for a widower who lost his wife to breast cancer. It is made from her little undershirt she wore the last month of her life…stripped and dyed…also made with your buffalo hair. The western style hat is felted from the Buffalo down I harvested from your shipment for the inner layer and Churro wool for the outer layer, embellished with some spun hair from yours. This is owned by a woman with scleroderma who cannot tolerate neither weight, cold, nor the irritation of other fibers. She is able to tolerate this hat due to the Buffalo Down layer on the inside. I do not charge for the hats made for people in the battle with diseases. I keep my business going with the sales of wool felted wall hangings, hats, vests, chair-pads, other items I create and exhibit at a local gallery when I have something to sell, also sell wool at the local farmers market. I could not make head wear from the buffalo down without your contribution. I will keep you updated as to what I have produced and who it goes to as long as I am doing this, which will be as long as I am able. My heartfelt gratitude to you for your part in this, which is HUGE . Just for fun, here is a photo of one of my smaller wall hangings made from dry felting wool.
Love and Hugs.,
If anyone has buffalo wool they would like to donate to Bonnie and her cause, you can just ship it to me. I will send it on to her with ours. Hint, DO NOT WASH IT. I almost made that mistake myself.
PO BOX 1231, Gainesville Texas 76241
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