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 Christine 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.
Canadian Ewe: As long time knitters, we have always loved the feel of natural wool fibres and of course, the animals that the fibre comes from. We also started wondering what the characteristics were in each breed’s fleece and how they differed from each other. Once we started looking into how many breeds were offered in Ontario we were so excited. There are so many available, and we wanted to explore them all. We were so surprised to also learn that the fleece is often considered a nuisance by many farmers. Many bag up the fleece and ship it to the Canadian Wool Coop where 90% of it is exported, often to be returned to us processed, and then under the generic term of “wool.” We really wanted to offer a locally produced finished product from local sheep. Plus, producing yarn is the closest we’ll get to having our own sheep farm with all kinds of different breeds! We still have to convince our husbands that leaving the city to explore our passion would be best for all involved.
UCFS: Tell us more about these gorgeous yarns you offer that are also milled locally.
Canadian Ewe: We are just starting out so we have small quantities and at a limited amount of weights. All our yarn so far is the natural colour of the fleece, but we are looking into exploring natural dyes to have more to offer. All our yarn, so far, is from Ontario, all within a four hour drive from Toronto. We are committed to supporting our local farmers and local mills. We have launched an online store through Shopify and are excited to seek out more fleece!
[In terms of mills,] we have used Freelton Fibre Mill, Wellington Fibre Mill, Alpacas at 8th and Mud, and Grand Valley.
UCFS: What are some of the challenges you have experienced with fibre production?
Canadian Ewe: The biggest challenge is finding a mill that doesn’t have such a waiting list! Also not being able to keep sheep in my small Toronto backyard.
UCFS: Why did you want to join the UCFS?
Canadian Ewe: We wanted to join UCFS because of their philosophy and commitment to locally produced products. It was so great to learn about them after we started the process of getting Canadian Ewe off the ground. So great that there a number of passionate supporters of the cause.