The commitment to a Sunshine Coast Fibreshed began 3½ years ago with an article in ‘Weaving Today’ on Rebecca Burgess and her quest to bring together farmers, spinners, knitters, weavers, dyers and clothing makers within 150 miles of her Northern California home. Her commitment to caring about “how do we clothe ourselves?” was echoed from the book ‘The Hundred Mile Diet’ which made us aware of “how do we feed ourselves?” Just after its 25th Anniversary, the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild accepted the Sunshine Coast Fibreshed as a project and the Fibreshed became the first official Fibreshed Affiliate in Western Canada. The search for local fibre was then underway.
Now it is time to share the joy, excitement and pride we experienced with the incredible contribution of Yvonne and FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in hosting and managing this first Fibreshed Fleece Sale event. The sun shone brightly over the many tables covered with eleven Icelandic fleeces from Leila Bee’s Round Table Farms.
Each was weighed and labeled with a picture of that particular sheep. Yvonne had washed a handful of each fleece as the colour can change after washing.
A Fibreshed display of books, samples of the wool processed as fibre and yarn, and knit and woven into hats, gloves and scarves showed off the beauty and versatility of the dual coated Icelandic Sheep and helped members see their chosen fleece’s potential.
The Team Roxy project included a 3 ply of the tog on the niddy noddy, a knitted hat and hand warmers, spun and plied skeins, some carded fleece and unprocessed tufts of Roxy.
This first Fibreshed Fleece Sale was limited to Guild Members only. Buyers arrived prior to the one o’clock sale time, felt fleeces and measured staples. Here Lynda C. is doing the snap test to test the strength of the locks.
At 1:00 sharp Yvonne conducted the sale by asking members to stand beside the fleece of their choice. It went well – no arm wrestling was required. Only three fleeces weren’t sold and these will remain at the Yurts for future teaching and processing opportunities. Here Lynda D. and Merrily happily claim Stormy’s fleece.
Marie Claire shows off Bella’s beautiful fleece.
Leila Bee, owner and shepherdess of the Icelandic flock, joined us to share in the pride of her hard work of caring for these beautiful and gentle creatures whose fleeces are already growing anew and will appear again in another Fibreshed Fleece Sale in the fall. With new lambs this year there may be eighteen plus fleeces.
Our incredible hostess Yvonne, who had organized and managed this event so well, brought out glasses and wine to toast and celebrate this wonderful day and milestone. We shared sunshine, wine and a deep connection not only on a fibre level but in our spirits. That one hour of a circle of friends celebrating the day’s event in answer to “How shall we clothe ourselves?” will remain a precious moment in time.
It was the day to celebrate the 3½ year odyssey of the simple notion that handmade cloth heals, not only with the making of the cloth and how we use it, but also with how it re-connects us to the farmers, the sheep and the soil. It connects us all as artists and community to all the women who have gone before us down the Fibre Road.
Deanna B. Pilling with contributions from Lynda D. and Merrily