While spinning on my uber-patriotic Bosworth Moosie this morning, I had a thought. Why not share the spinning project that I am so close to starting? It is as Canadian as those colours, and is special besides. Who cares if we spoke only yesterday, right?
Ontario produces superb wool
Two months ago, I wrote something. It is long-hand, on a sheet of yellow legal paper. It came after an on-line discussion with Canadian knitters who asserted that Ontario does not produce high-grade fibre on a commercial scale. As I sorted my thoughts on the topic, I wrote:
Recently, I turned to N, and asked what does he think my favourite fibre might be? He answered, “Wool. It is still wool.” We smiled, and he is correct.
This fibreshed is precisely where my passion is rooted. As TKK readers know, it all began in 2009 with a raw local Romney ram’s fleece. I still work and find good value close to home. Leading spinners whose work I respect, Deb Robson, Clara Parkes, and Sue Blacker all focus on the importance of using local fibre from specific breeds.
We now even have Canadian knitting yarn dyed in-house by my friend, Sasha. These single breed yarns are available here.
It is fast becoming a Magical Side to Side scarf designed by Susan Santos. Knitters, do help support a new breed-specific grassroots label!
As an aside, Sasha’s newsletters are also very good. What does a knitter need to know? Well, this as Sue Blacker says in “Pure Wool” (2012, Oceana, p. 7):
Finding the right yarn for a project is vital. The sheer versatility of wool and the possibilities of creating specific yarns for specific purposes are, perhaps, not fully appreciated.
Your success lies in thinking about the breed’s strengths/uses.
A made-in-Ontario blanket…
… or putting a project where my mouth is!
My celebration is to use the remaining 1.876 lbs/ 851 g of local Romney ewe lamb’s wool, and make a family blanket.
It has Most Favoured Fleece status in the stash. Buttercup’s farmer is Julie Hartford of Engleheart, Ontario. You can see its 3lbs 5oz beginnings here from July 2010 as raw fleece.
In formulating these thoughts, I did use my gradient of hand-prepared local wools. It’s now a useful fibre basket in my spinning room – for wool, of course!
Everything about this was freeing. How many stitches did I cast on? Well, an even number. The yarns range from well-spun to those that I was hiding under a rug but they all work together in this mesh stitch.
That middle grey? Oh, it came from the Romney ram’s nether regions, I am sure! The marled is from a mohair blending experiment (also local) with a free meat fleece.
My longwools came into their own for the i-cord effort at taming the too-large opening. The top white wool, and mauve (logwood dyed!) are both Border Leicester from Lambsquarters farm in Holstein, Ontario.
My parting thought was that if I could use such disparate yarns then I am actually ready for this effort. We could use a blanket. A little knowledge has led me to suspect that our childhood blankets are both of acrylic extraction!
The home improvements are enriching Melvin’s life considerably in the meantime.