I’m so looking forward to the next fibre adventure in my life. As a teenager I primarily designed and sewed clothing as my creative outlet, but I didn’t do very much in the fibre arts until Bryan and I left the city life for the farm in our early 50’s. In the first years that followed on the farm, alpacas, sheep and rabbits arrived. Which meant a lot of fibre! I signed up for a 6-year spinning program in Haliburton which was a deep dive into understanding fibre. I learned to felt and knit. I joined an art collective and farmers markets, at which I sold fibre-based items. But, I was generally up to my neck in fibre, as I could never hand-process as much as the animals produced.
Then, my oldest daughter Gwendolyn and her husband Brody expressed a desire for us to relocate north and join them in a new farming business. This was a fairly long process of 3 years+. Once we arrived, I decided that we would be better off with sheep as our main focus (Angus cows were Bryans first choice!). Somehow, I won and we got a flock of dual-purpose sheep (Polypay) with really excellent fibre. My spinning course had extensive requirements on the study of breeds which helped in this choice. From my previous experience, I already knew we could never process all the fibre by hand – but there wasn’t a wool mill anywhere in the vicinity of Thunder Bay. So, I decided the logical thing for a fibre farm to do was to have its own wool mill.
After a year or more of research, we placed an order for a Mini Mill which is the equipment necessary to process our fleece (and the fleece from other fibre farms in the area). It takes a while for the equipment to come, but we should have our wool mill up and running by next summer. We plan to have a wide variety of products –from batts to roving to yarn to felt, as well as fully completed felted items for home and personal use. This last weekend we traveled to Winnipeg and took a 2-day Introduction to Wool Mill Production course through Longway Homestead. They use the Mini Mill equipment, so it was a great opportunity to work with the equipment we have on order. This year is going to be a year of learning and experimentation– and I’m really excited!