Felting Wool in Canada
Why is felting wool in Canada not really a thing? As a Canadian business owner selling wool, I've tried sourcing my felting wool materials from Canada to no avail. I wondered, why is it so hard to find felting wool in bulk in Canada? I've searched and called around to mills in BC and Alberta with no luck. I've found small farms that sell wool in small amounts on Salt Spring and other rural communities, but these farms do not produce substantial enough quantities to supply my business on an ongoing basis.
At Cowichan Fibre Fest, I took the opportunity to interview textile artists and fibre shop owners to ask the same question.
What is the Process of producing Fibre?
Here at Magic Trout Imaginarium, we buy our wool from Ashford in New Zealand. This is because New Zealanders breed their sheep specifically for their wool. Sheep farmers even bring sheep inside during bad weather and feed their flock high quality feedstock. This results in a higher quality fleece.
The processing of fibre involves many steps!
First the sheep are shaved, then fleece is sent to a mill. A the mill, the fleece is washed in very hot water to remove the lanolin from the wool. Lanolin is an oily layer on the sheep wool that help protect them from the rain.
After the washing of the wool several times, the wool is dyed, blended, carded, plied, winded, and woven into 'bumps'.
Here is a video that shows the processing of sheep wool at Ashford Mills in new Zealand.
Take A Stab at Felting!
The Magic Trout Imaginarium sells felting kits, supplies and online courses for artists and teachers that want to try out a earth friendly new hobby! We even sell our own custom made Jute felting pads!
Once you learn the art of felting you can move onto creating your own wonderous wool creations. Check out our blog for tutorials,and our gallery to see all the fun projects you could create with wool! We also have a Youtube channel Instagram and Pinterestwhere we create boards for felting inspiration for beginners up to advanced felters.