Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Heritage Wool

Yesterday, Shawn and I headed down the Northern Peninsula to Daniel's Harbour - about a 2.5 hour drive from Corner Brook.  To get there, we have to drive through Gros Morne, a World Heritage Site and National Park.  It is jaw-dropping beautiful, even with the grey, foggy weather.  Besides the amazing scenery, Gros Morne is famous for being home to many, many moose and it did not disappoint.

This was but one of the four moose we spotted on our drive (we also saw a fox with a rabbit in its jaws dash in to the bush).  This guy looks like a teenager who has just been kicked out of the house by his mom in his second summer - she has a new baby to care for so now this one is on is his own.  Later we saw a mother and very young baby - the smallest moose I have ever seen yet still the size of a pony.  It never fails to amaze to see these huge, awkward yet beautiful animals.

We were heading to Daniel's Harbour to collect 20 lbs of washed, uncarded wool from Newfoundland sheep raised there.  Well, we weren't collecting the wool directly from the sheep.  We were collecting it from a woman named Kay who runs a store in Daniel's Harbour and is a fellow fibre enthusiast.  

Shawn and I have been on the hunt for local wool for over a year now and this is our first success.  And what a success - the wool is gorgeous.  I might compare it to Shetland in qualities - not as fine as merino, not like Icelandic, nor as rough as Coopworth.  I spun a little on a spindle Kay had and it was definitely a keeper.  We are all looking forward to making yarn that we can say is 100% Newfoundand - Newfoundland wool, Newfoundland dyes, Newfoundland spun.  I think we are almost there.

Kay seemed to be happy to encounter two people who understood her excitement about all things wooly.  She said that her neighbors had started looking at her as if she had two heads with all her wool-related activities.  But we had a moment of true understanding - just smiling at each other.  We understand Kay, it's going to be alright.  And then Shawn and I gave her lots of tips for her new etsy shop (please check it out - she has wonderful, traditional Newfoundland knitted products).  

We gave her our dandelion dye recipe and we admired her many items for sale.

The yarn you see here is made from the same wool as we purchased yesterday.  Kay has it processed and dyed in PEI.  

Kay has gorgeous sweaters as well as quilts made by women in the community.  If you are passing through Daniel's Harbour, stop in and check it all out.  Her place is called "The Store" same as her etsy shop.

It is hard not to mention that yesterday, the temperatures were in the mid-40sF (around 5C).  It was quite windy as well.  In other words, it was COLD!  Hard to believe it is mid-June but then again, every year is like this - winter coats until the very end of June when you are just about to give up all hope of summer arriving.  It will, but it sure is short.

Here are some pictures of Daniel's Harbour.  A compelling place in its landscape, natural and otherwise.


LICraftgal said...

I must say I am a bit envious of you. Newfoundland looks amazing and wonderful and I would love to have a place like that to escape to. Can't wait to see what the wool becomes when it's done.

Anonymous said...

This is a nice place to be in, with lots of inexpensive things to survive this costly life. During times like this, we must put up small businesses to contribute for the welfare of many. Thanks.

Jo-Anne said...

Hi I am from the west coast and will be flying to NL next week and will be going to Gros Morne for the Woody Pt. Writers fest! I am going to see if we can get to Daniel's Harbour and check this out!

I am a beginner/intermediate knitter/crocheter but love the process and my constant learning.


Robyn said...

Hi JoAnne, I hope you have a wonderful trip!! We went there a couple of years ago so I don't know if it has changed at all but do check it out. Would love to hear how it goes. There is a lot more interest around spinning in the Newfoundland even since I wrote that so you will find more if you look and ask around. People have things that aren't necessarily on the beaten path (such as it is) so definitely ask! And have fun!!