Slow Fiber: From Field to Needles

Welcome to Ash Kearns Handknitting, a blog dedicated to exploring the bounty of knittable fiber available in Canada! My name is Ashley and I am a knitter living in Guelph, Ontario.  I relearned the basics a few years ago and my knitting obsession has taken on a life of its own! After spending time in BC at my best friend’s sheep farm over the past couple of years, my interests have also turned to “slow food”, a movement dedicated to reinforcing the connections between the earth, farming and the food we eat. “Buy Local” are big buzz words in our communities- What sense does it make to fly apples from New Zealand or truck potatoes across North American borders, accumulating thousands of gas-guzzling miles, when we grow these produce right in our own backyard?

Similarly, much of the yarn that we use as knitters has arrived from abroad. Some yarn has even gone on holiday- Animal sheared and fiber cleaned in one country, spun and dyed in another! Don’t get me wrong, I love it all! There’s nothing better than going into a place like Romni Wools and having the selection of beautiful exotic fibers, from bamboo to camel hair. But being around all this selection makes me think even more about yarn coming from my own province and country- Where are these animal being raised? Who is raising them? How does the fiber travel from the fields to my needles?

Over the next year, I will seek to investigate local fiber farming, the people who do it and the products they produce. By visiting farms, understanding fiber processing and using the finished yarn product, I hope to connect what I knit to its origins and to the earth. This journey promises to inspire me, and hopefully you too, to think about where your handknit sweater REALLY came from and allows us to pay homage to the dedication of Canadian Fiber Farmers and their craft.

So Cast On and follow me in my journey!



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