Category Archives: Fibreshed Retailers

The Common Good

The Common Good Upper Canada Fibreshed

On the corner of the Cockshutt Road and the 11th Concession just outside of Waterford in Norfold County, The Common Good is part slow fashion marketplace and fibre arts creative space, part social enterprise tea-room and part faith-based farm community.

Conceived of and built by Rita Stratford, The Common Good combines “farm, fellowship and faith”. Inside the large creative space within the barn-like house, complete with gorgeous wrap-around porch, women are encouraged to explore the fibre arts by learning from one another and participating in classes that range from natural dyeing to weaving.

The Common Good Upper Canada Fibreshed

The space also houses a cooperatively run tea-room and a local-based marketplace that focuses on promoting slow-fashion and slow-craft.

Rita, an advocate for the “slow goods” movement, seeks to encourage a cultural shift towards slowing down and being responsible with our collective resources, supporting our local economy, creating community through trust and relationships, nurturing our creative souls and connecting with the makers of our goods.

The Common Good Upper Canada Fibreshed

In keeping with this philosophy, Rita raises a small flock of sheep on The Common Good farm.  Cotswold, Gotland and Polworth sheep produce her range of raw fleeces, yarns, rovings and batts.

The Common Good is not your average local yarn store, local marketplace or fibre farm. While it may always defy definition as it continues to grow as a self-sustaining and living entity, it certainly offers a space where the fibre arts are seen as an opportunity to recharge the soul and seek a spiritual journey.

In Rita’s words, “The Common Good may be hard to define but it is simple to experience”.

 

 

The Common Good

946 Concession 11 Townsend Road in Waterford, ON

tcgshepherd@icloud.com |  519-428-8894

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Producer Profiles: Canadian Ewe

CanadianEweBannerWeb.jpg

We are so pleased to announce our very first local yarn producers to our ever growing network of sustainable,  revolution inducing local fibre supporters. Carla and Christina started their local yarn business as a way to connect their passion for the rich heritage of Canadian breeds and knitting. Their online shop has launched and you can read more below and follow this link to their website.

UCFS: Share with us your story. Where did you start and what was your motivation? 

Both Christina and I come from a Film background. I worked in a film laboratory for 12 years (until the onslaught of digital film production killed the need for physical film), and she is a media archivist. We have been knitting for many years, and often spend our time together looking at all the gorgeous fibre available. We were also inspired by the Prince’s Trust Campaign For Wool in England that started a few years ago to promote wool. We thought it was so great and that we really need something like that here. There was also quite a movement in Nova Scotia that was very exciting, but nothing more local for us.

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Producer Profile – Upper Canada Mercantile

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Recently I was asked by an artist what the landscape means to me. A simple question, but it strikes at the heart of the Upper Canada Mercantile and why I decided to work with the natural resources available in our Fibreshed. The landscape plays such a major role in the psyche of Canadians. But to me, and I’m sure many others, the meaning of landscape goes beyond imagining A.Y. Jackson Jack Pines and lakes. I default to the french concept of terroir, which translates to mean the soil, climate and culture of the people shape the flavour of the wine. So too does the soil, climate and culture of the people I work with dictate the colours and designs of the blankets. To me they are inextricably linked, the landscape or bioregion that supports us and males the blankets possible.

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Producer Profile: Wellington Fibres

Wellington Fibres Logo

Connecting the dots along the local fibre supply chain immediately brings us to the importance of the fibre processing mill. Once a thriving industry in Ontario, many small towns in the rural Ontario landscape are situated along rivers with falls or fast current needed to turn the drive shaft that powered the machinery. During WWII, mills such as the Dominion Woolens and Worsted Ltd in Hespeler, employed mostly women to support the war effort. All of these mills have long since closed their doors, but there are a couple of wool processing mills locally that have since opened to serve fine fibre producers. One of which is Wellington Fibres located just outside of Elora, owned and operated by Donna Hancock. I sat down with Donna to discuss her mill and how it connects into the fibre supply chain of the Upper Canada Fibershed.

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