Grace Clare started her flock with a gift to one of her children – a Romney/Corriedale ewe and her two ewe lambs – in 1997. Since then, the flock has grown to 30 sheep of mostly long wool breeds which produce lustrous fibre that is clean, easy to spin and managed in an ethical and sustainable way. Grace’s efforts have not been overlooked with her fleeces winning Grand Champion Fleece and Reserve Grand Champion Fleece, three times each, at the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair. Located near Cambellford, ON, the local ecology is a mix of rural farm land, small lakes and waterways, and some of the only remaining Black Oak Savannah in Ontario. Some notable plant species include Canada bluegrass, wormwood, big blue stem, New Jersey tea, wild bergamot, butterfly milkweed, panic grass, prairie buttercup, yellow flax, and cylindrical blazing star.Of the long wool breeds of sheep, Grace’s flock is composed of Border Leicester’s, some Blue Face Leicester crosses, Romneys and Romney Corriedale crosses. Their wool is medium long to medium fine that is great for hand spinning, felting, knitting, weaving and rug hooking. The long wool sheep are best adapted to cool, high rainfall areas and are commonly raised in the UK and New Zealand. The Romney date back to the 13th century and have fibre well suited for knitwear, blankets and carpets, while the BFL, established in the 18th century make gorgeous knits. The Corriedale are a dual purpose breed, used for both meat and wool. Below is a photo of a blanket Grace had made for her son with wool from her flock.
The fibre is processed at Wellington Fibres in Elora. Each skein of yarn can be traced back to an individual animal. When fibres are mixed, Grace uses alpaca and mohair from local producers. Yarns and fleece can be purchased at the farm by appointment, or at a few local fibre shows including Gathering in Port Hope in April, Spin In in Campbellford in October or at the Hand Spinning Seminar in June. The natural coloured yarns are available in Kingston at Wool on Wellington.
For more information, or to contact Grace to make an appointment, please email us at uppercanadafibreshed [@] gmail.com