Upper Canada Fibreshed’ers at TWIST

Written by: Sarah Jean Harrison

Fibre festival season is quickly approaching. As the summer winds down and we all start thinking about cooler temperatures and cosy fibres our minds collectively turn to the fun and excitement of fibre festivals. These festivals are a wonderful way to discover local fibre producers, connect with farmers, discover makers and artisans and generally strengthen our fibreshed community.

Last weekend a few of our members made the trip to St Andre Avellin, Quebec to experience Twist, Canada’s only bi-lingual fibre festival.

Below are some highlights from the weekend!

WellingtonFibresBooth

Wellington Fibres Booth

Visitors to Chassagne Farm

Visitors to Chassagne Farm

Donna Hancock of Wellington Fibres (left) and Barb Ross (right)

Donna Hancock of Wellington Fibres (left) and Barb Ross (right)

Peggy Sue working with roving.

Peggy Sue working with roving.

All Photos Credited to Sarah Jean Harrison of Peace Flag House


Farm to Sweater Workshop: OCTOBER 2nd

Farm to Sweater – Beyond Beginner Knitting Workshop

October 2 @ 10:00 am1:00 pm

Cost: $100.00

Minga is joining forces with Upper Canada Fibreshed to bring textile and visual artist, educator and chronic knitter Bree Zorel to turn yarn from our very own neighbourhood sheep into a cozy sweater you can wear (or gift) with love.

This workshop is for those of you who are familiar with the basics of knitting – you understand knit and purl, and maybe you have knit a scarf or shawl but somehow just feel intimidated by the idea of how the heck to make the leap to knitting a sweater.

In this 3hr workshop, you will be guided through basic sweater construction, fit, types of needles, yardage required, and the importance of a gauge swatch to help you find just the right pattern.  You will leave with the confidence to cast on for your first knitted sweater, and perhaps an armload of the best quality local yarn to boot!

TOPICS COVERED:

  • Fibreshed: what is it, why is it important
  • Different types of sweater construction
  • Basic increases and decreases
  • Different types of needles
  • Yardage: how to know how much yarn you’ll need
  • The gauge swatch
  • Ways to search Ravelry.com’s online database

The workshop will also host a pop-up shop of local, farm fresh yarn from the Upper Canada Fibreshed, including new label Canadian Ewe, providing participants the opportunity to purchase the yarn they need to complete the sweater. A variety of natural colours from local breeds of sheep will connect the sweater to the landscape that sustained it. Different weights are available depending on producer and supply. Bring in any needles you have used for past projects. A selection of knitting needles will also be available for purchase at the workshop (cash only).

REGISTER HERE


When: Sunday October 2nd from 10:00am-1:00pm
Where: Chassagne Farm -6783 Concession 1 RR2 Puslinch, ON, N0B 2J0  chassagne_sheep
Cost: $100 includes yarn required to practice making gauge swatches with.  Sweater yarn and needles extra.
Bring: Needles you have used for past projects. A selection of knitting needles will also be available for purchase at the workshop

The Gift of Perspective: Peggy Sue Collection Wins TFI New Label Award

GUEST POST: Sarah Jean Harrison 

How often to you ponder the intricacies of the fashion world? Do this season’s heel heights wake you up at night? Can changing silhouettes send your mind reeling?

I didn’t think so.

For many of us the world of fashion has about as much relevance on our daily lives as say, the planet Mars. We know it exists somewhere between us and the Sun, but the details of its composition are a mystery that we are content to ignore.

Allow me to suggest that while you can safely go on ignoring Mars, it’s time to pay attention to fashion, particularly Canadian fashion.

PSRunway2

Peggy Sue Collection Inc. at the TFI New Label’s award night. Credit: Peggy Sue Collection Inc.

In May of this year Peggy Sue Smeltniks-Deavon, creator of the Peggy Sue Collection, won the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s (TFI) New Labels Award. Why, you may be asking, does this pertain to you? Because Peggy Sue, who is a member of the Upper Canada Fibreshed, won with a runway collection made exclusively from local materials.

Yes, you read that correctly. A runway collection, worn by very tall and lanky models, composed entirely of local alpaca, wool, mohair and cashmere with a little natural-drop antler thrown in.

PSSkirting1

Designer Peggy Sue skirting fleece at Allison Brown’s farm. 

While this is undoubtedly a phenomenal accomplishment for Peggy Sue, and we must all celebrate her achievement, I want to draw your attention to the bigger story behind this success. Peggy Sue hasn’t just won a prestigious award. She has given us, the Upper Canada Fibreshed, an incredible gift: the gift of a renewed perspective.

PSwGraceClare

The designer and Upper Canada Fibreshed member Grace Claire with her flock. 

Until now we have, perhaps unconsciously, accepted that fashion happens somewhere else, somewhere that is not Canada, somewhere that is far away from sheep manure and shearing day. Peggy Sue has confronted this perspective, our perspective, by revealing and celebrating the relationship between farms and fashion.

She has disrupted our assumption that fashion happens elsewhere by presenting Ontario’s fibre landscape in the form of sumptuous coats, sweaters and dresses. Watching her pieces come down the runway is unnerving; we can, perhaps for the first time, see our home reflected in haute couture. And, here’s the biggest revelation of all, it’s beautiful.

PS@DoverFarm

Not surprisingly, Peggy Sue isn’t from the Upper Canada Fibreshed. In fact, she’s not even from Canada. She hails from the most opposite of climate realities: Los Angeles, California. Perhaps this is why when she moved to Milton, Ontario with her Canadian husband she saw what all of us natives had ceased to notice: an abundance of textile resources just waiting to be utilized.

PSAndAlisonBrownSkirting

Designer Peggy Sue and Allison Brown skirting fleece.

Winning the TFI New Label Award is truly a major accomplishment for Peggy Sue but I think the most important aspect of this award has to do more with us than with her. Peggy Sue is giving us the opportunity to take ourselves seriously as textile producers and to truly see the abundance of resources being cultivated in our very own fibreshed

There is beauty, abundance, and dare we say fashion, growing right here at home.

PSRunway1

Peggy Sue Collection Inc. at the TFI New Label awards night. Photo Credit: Peggy Sue Collection Inc.

All Photos Credited to Sarah Jean Harrison unless stated otherwise.

 


The 50 Mile Coat Project

Gust Post Written By: Sarah Jean Harrison 

CoatFinal

The 50 Mile Coat on display during the closing celebrations.

To the untrained eye The 50 Mile Coat looks like an average coat. Perhaps one with a very arresting felted collar, but a coat nonetheless. It isn’t until closer inspection that its secret is revealed: this Coat is the Upper Canada Fibreshed crafted into wearable art.

YvonneAtTheInkleLoom

Yvonne Lane of EHS at the Inkle Loom.

The 50 Mile Coat was an art installation presented by the Etobicoke Handweavers and Spinners Guildthis spring. From April 23 to May 15, Guild members worked in the gallery of Neilson Park Creative Centre, making a coat from raw fibre to finished product. All materials and skill came from within 50 miles, (yes, even the buttons and thread), and the public was able to watch the multiple processes and skill sets that were required. This ambitious project was part of EHS’ 50 th Anniversary celebrations,culminating with a well-attended Closing Celebration on May 15 th .

RosemarieCarolandElizabeth

Rosemarie Carroll, Carole Gay and Elizabeth Evans spinning warp yarn.

Fibreshed’ers know that simply acknowledging our homegrown resources is an important aspect of building successful local fibre-based economies. In our globalized fibre world it’s very easy to look half way around the world for those metaphorical greener pastures. Need to do some felting? Buy some Australian merino. Need to dye your yarns? Pick up some acid dyes online. Need some neon pink BFL combed top? Order a little from New Zealand. With so much material available via a single Google search it’s easy to forget what’s in our own backyard.

50MileCoatCloth

Soft grey cloth on the bolt after fulling.

The 50 Mile Coat was an exercise in remembering. The gray warp was spun from Dover Farm’s Gotland ewe Brandy and the weft from Linc Farm’s Rambouillet ewe Sleepy. Decorative inkle bands used alpaca from Alpaca Avenue and llama from the High Park Zoo in Toronto. The felted cuffs and collar were dyed with madder, tansey and marigold all grown in the EHS Dye Garden and harvested last fall. Finally, the buttons were Black Walnut gathered from a Guild member’s backyard.

SeamingTheBack

All of the sewing was done with hand spun thread from Dover Farm’s Gotland ewe Brandy.

The 50 Mile Coat has quietly issued us a challenge. Rather than immediately reaching out to the global market for your next yarn purchase, look around the Upper Canada Fibreshed first and get creative. The number of excellent fibre farmers, millers, spinners and dyers producing astounding fleeces, rovings and yarns is growing steadily.

50MileCoatBackCollar

Felted collar using natural dyes from the EHS Dye Garden

If EHS can make a whole Coat from within 50 miles, the possibilities for the rest of us are truly endless.

All Photo Credits: Sarah Jean Harrison.


Farm to Felt – Felted Slipper Workshop

14503279904180

During this day-long workshop you will learn how to make a pair of felted wool slippers. The entire process will be explored and examined, including different techniques of laying out wool, shrinkage tests, using a resist and fulling and finishing techniques. Many examples of different felting methods and wools will be on hand to examine and compare. You will leave with a unique pair of slippers and a record of your felting experiments. The wool being used for the class will be from local farms in the Upper Canada Fibreshed.

MORE INFO


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 949 other followers