Grown and Sewn Close to Home

April 10th was a beautiful sunny day for the Sunshine Coast Fibreshed’s “Grown and Sewn Close to Home” event at the FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in Madeira Park.  Fibre farmers and processors, artists, teachers and fibre art enthusiasts gathered together to meet, network and learn from each other.


There were displays of local fibres and beautifully coloured wool dyed with plants and mushrooms from the Sunshine Coast.



Participants enjoyed Jean Pataky’s display with pictures, descriptions and wool samples from different breeds of sheep.


When Helene Nissle lived in Ontario her Guild did a study of the fleece of different sheep in their area.  Members visited local sheep farmers and collected samples of fleece which were divided up among members who processed and studied the wool from each breed.  Helene then wove the yarn into two weavings.


It was interesting to look at the weavings and see the difference between washed and unwashed wool in the final product and the appearance of various combinations of fibres in the warp and weft.


Members of the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild gave ongoing demonstrations of carding,





and spinning.


Participants could admire Marie-Claire DeClerck’s beautiful handwoven Fibreshed scarves and shawls while watching her weave with her own handspun yarn.


Doreen MacLauchlan worked on weaving her handspun local alpaca and Shetland wool into a scarf, patterning it in the Fibonacci sequence.



Participants enjoyed meeting rug hookers Mudito Drope and Lynne Hunt.  Lynne started the group Hooked on the Coast in 2013.  Here they show off Lynne’s wall hanging of Icelandic sheep, inspired by her visit to Iceland.



Ron McInnis of Imaginary Image was busy recording the Fibreshed’s first big event (see the April 12 blog to watch his beautiful video).  Here he’s filming Andrew who’s demonstrating carding and spinning beautifully soft local llama fibre.


Two visiting sheep, Razz and George, were a great attraction.  They’re part of Kate Skinner’s flock of 10 sheep that she uses for training sheep dogs.  Kate was delighted to meet fibre users to learn what they’re looking for in a fleece and how she might improve her own fleece.  She was interested to see the whole process of wool preparation from the sheep through carding, spinning, dyeing and making a final garment.


We were delighted that Anna Runnings of Qualicum Bay Fibre Works could come to the Coast for the event.  The mill plays an important role in the Fibreshed.  Anna processes all fibres and does washing, picking, carding into rovings or batts, pindrafting and spinning.


Local sheep owner Wendy Gilbertson shows off some of her Shetland wool that was washed and carded at Qualicum Bay Fibre Works.


Catherine Simpson of Kensington Prairie Farm raises suri and huacaya alpacas.  She brought her beautifully soft yarn, rovings and fleece.


The Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild and the Fibreshed are planning a display for the 2017 ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers’ Guilds) Conference in Victoria, British Columbia.  The project will be a blanket made with local fibre, local dyes, washed, carded, spun, dyed and woven by local artisans.  Deanna Pilling wove a beautiful shawl out of her handspun local fibre as a trial run and as a display at our event.


In the summer of 2013 some members of the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild planted and dyed with Japanese Indigo for the first time (see October 5, 2013 blog).  Since then, Japanese Indigo has been an important part of our Fibreshed dyeing.  To further encourage growing and dyeing with this wonderful dye plant we gave out free seedlings and instruction sheets.


Everyone enjoyed the delicious nibbles and refreshments made by local cooks from local ingredients – Fibreshed flatbread, rhubarb punch, kale chips, borlotti bean dip, homemade goat cheese, pesto, salmon, muffins and devilled eggs.  Fibreshed team members Deanna Pilling, Lynda Daniells and Merrily Corder show off Deanna’s delicious Fibreshed flatbread.




As part of the networking that took place, Noelline Bellemare of the Ecole du Pacifique met sheep and llama owners and Fibreshed team members who were happy to help with a project of taking her Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes to a farm to meet animals and  follow up with demonstrations of carding and spinning.  It’s so important for young people to experience where their clothes come from and how they are made.


Participants enjoyed and learned from the displays.



There was lots of communication and sharing among artisans, fibre producers and school teachers.



Our Fibreshed team members were kept busy answering peoples’ many questions.



Kate Skinner summed up the event, “It was a fun, informative day with a group of friendly, welcoming people.  I learned a huge amount.” It was a wonderful day with participants feeling an increased enthusiasm and commitment to make responsible clothing choices that support local sustainability and protect the environment.

Heather Apple

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