Share with us a bit of your story. How did you get started in your art form?
I went to art school at ACAD and NSCAD for drawing and loved every minute of it. I
had learned knitting and sewing skills as a child, but it wasn’t until I got out of school
and found it difficult to maintain a messy drawing practice that I got seriously into textile
arts. These art forms are more portable and less messy than large scale ink drawings…more
Tag Archives: Slow Fashion
Share with us a bit of your story. How did you get started in your art form?
Leslie and Bob have been farmers, collectively for over forty-five years. Bob, along with his family, cash crop 1300 acres and raise beef cattle. Leslie was involved in the equine industry, breeding and raising Canadian horses. Canadian horses are a light draft and Canada’s national breed. In 2003 Leslie made a very good trade and acquired 37 registered alpacas for 6 registered Canadian horses. From that point on, a career change took place and Canadian Comfort Alpacas took off running.
Our farm is nestled in the Southwestern Ontario countryside near the village of Thorndale and close to London. We specialize in 100% Canadian Alpaca Products made from the fibre of our own alpacas. Our products include luxurious alpaca yarn, warm alpaca insoles, alpaca socks, alpaca fibre for hand spinning & felting, wool dryer balls, hand knit accessories and bird nesting materials.
The Upper Canada Fibreshed is bringing farm-fresh yarn, roving and fleece to the urban maker.
12-4 pm, February 5th, 2017
Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
@uppercanadfibreshed #landmade #uppercanadafibreshed
LandMade brings local fibre farmers to the Gladstone Hotel, giving urban knitters, spinners, crocheters, weavers, felters, makers and artists the chance to discover fleeces, rovings and yarns direct from the farm.
Eight farms that raise sheep, alpacas and mohair will be available to talk all things fibre, and to provide locally and sustainably raised materials to the natural fibre enthusiast.
Be sure to bring a long your needles, hooks, spindles and wheels. Making and conversation is highly encouraged over coffee, tea or wine in the Melody Bar or Cafe.
Meet the Farmers
LandMade is the perfect opportunity to meet your local UCFS farmers, learn more about ethically and sustainably-raised sheep, alpaca and mohair and purchase fleece, roving and yarn fresh from the farm.
With Special Guest the Peggy Sue Collection
LandMade is the perfect opportunity to join in with Fibershed’s Knitalong.
Fibershed’s Knitalong encourages local makers to engage with their local producers through a simple knitting project. Radiata, the Knitalong pattern created by Emily Cunetto, is available for purchase on Ravelry or via Emily’s website.
Are you a new fibre enthusiast? You are very welcome to join our knitting circle at LandMade for some intro-level knitting instruction to get you started on your very own Radiata.
Share Your Project
Tell the world about your project and the gorgeous local materials you used to make it! Be sure to document your project’s progress via social media using #landmade, #FibershedKAL and #uppercanadafibreshed.
Post your pictures and send us your thoughts on making with local materials. After 4 weeks we’ll compile everyone’s images and thoughts into a final blog reflecting on the process of creating your very own LandMade project.
Please help us spread the word about the beautiful local fibres available in our fibreshed. Remember to tag us (@uppercanadafibreshed) and your local fibre producer in your posts!
About Fibershed’s Knitalong
A “knitalong” is a way of knitting in community despite distance, a way that we can support strategic geographies around the world in coming together around a knitting pattern and theme.
Working with yarns from your local ‘fibershed,’ including small-batch yarns direct from local farms or unique handspun fiber combinations, often means that you are making adaptations to patterns written for a specific type of yarn. Here, we present a pattern that is designed specifically to highlight the unique qualities of locally-sourced yarn.
These are yarns that tell a story — of the land they come from, the breeds or varieties of plants and animals that produce the fiber, the dyestuff gathered or grown in your region, and the management and care that has gone into each step in getting the yarn into your hands.
Knitting your own local garment is also an act of prosumption — a way of engaging dialogue between producer and consumer. By nourishing the relationship between who grows and who makes our clothing, we can move beyond the barriers of strictly producing and consuming materials.
We hope you will be inspired by the 2016 Knitalong to choose a new yarn or fiber from your area, and to connect in a deeper way with the people, plants, animals, and land-base that are producing these fibers in your region.
The Wool & Fine Fiber Symposium
For everyone who’s been following us online this fall you know that our fibreshed co-founders, Becky Porlier and Jennifer Osborn, were invited to speak at this year’s Wool and Fine Fiber Symposium along with our fibreshed member Peggy Sue Deaven-Smiltnieks, founder and creative director of Peggy Sue Collection. (Due to the arrival of her second child, the beautiful Severine, Becky was not able to make the trip).
The Wool and Fine Fiber Symposium is hosted annually by the original Fibershed in Merin County, California. The Symposium features panel discussions from farmers, makers and fibershed community members, as well as a marketplace with demonstrations.
Both Jennifer and Peggy Sue delivered dynamite presentations that were very well received by the audience. Jennifer highlighted the history, fibre varieties and membership of UCFS and outlined our current and future projects. Peggy Sue shared her story of creating her award-winning high-fashion line using only local fibres and local labour.
Now that we’ve had time to sleep off the jet-lag allow us to share some of what we learned.
5 Take-Home Lessons from the Symposium
Farmer-to-Farmer Conversations Are Very Valuable
New Economic Spaces Are Developing
Don’t Throw Out The Coarse Wool
Climate Beneficial Farming Is Here
Become A Prosumer
From breeding practices to predator control listening to the panels discuss farming practices amongst themselves and with the audience was insightful, even for the non-farmers. It was also clearly helpful for all the farmers in the room. These opportunities to share information, strategies and best-practices are invaluable. The more these can be facilitated, whether formal or informal, the better for everyone looking to understand a fibreshed from the soil upwards.
We heard a lot of discussion around new economic spaces like using sheep flocks for custom grazing (in California this is for fire control purposes) and the need for skilled and knowledgeable shepherds. While grazing for fire control isn’t likely to be widely used in Ontario, the potential for flocks to be used as alternative lawn mowers is very real within our municipalities. Rather than viewing sheep as a single-use animal, farmers are increasingly looking for multiple uses and income-streams from their flocks.
While our understanding of what “coarse wool” is certainly differs between Merin County and Upper Canada, it was refreshing to see heavier wools being understood as useful. Many of us are familiar with wool blankets and throws (ahem…Upper Canada Mercantile) but what about wool duvets and comforters? Wool mattresses? Wool pillows? Wool’s capacity to absorb moisture while remaining warm and its fire resistant quality make it ideal for bedding. Moral of the story: get creative with your coarse wool.
Fibershed is partnering with researchers at UC Davis to track the carbon-sequestration of land management systems that focus on building soil carbon through manure application and careful pasture management. The research, gathered through the Citizen Science Protocol and Climate Beneficial Wool, is tracking how carbon is being draw-down from the atmosphere and moving through the ecosystem. The clothing and textiles made from the fibres of animals involved in this research are addressing climate change one sweater at a time.
Producer + Consumer = Prosumer. This simple formula was shared with us around the Community Supported Cloth project, a new initiative which is asking folks to fund the development of locally grown and USA produced wool fabric by pre-purchasing yardage. Rather than blindly consuming or producing in isolation, the prosumer is involved in and connected to both the production and consumption processes. On the simple end, this may look like knowing your fibre farmer and towards the more complex end of the spectrum it can mean supporting a project like the Community Supported Cloth.
Be sure to check out our Instagram page for photos and commentary from the day itself!