In Ottawa, Tis’ the Season of New Fibre Acquisitions!

In Ottawa, Tis’ the Season of New Fibre Acquisitions!

My first fleeces of the year were purchased today.  Even better, I was picking them up at the same Farmers Market where Ann sells delicious tarts, cookie, Bread and pies! The Market is set up so you go in a big circle with all the booths have space and a wide gravel path. This year there are more booths.

1-2 Barhaven Farmers Market

 3 Ross and Ann!

I bought Mom a couple of Chocolate chip cookies (they are her favorites) as well as Cookies and tarts for Glenn. More customers were arriving so I couldn’t stay and chat so it’s time to move on to the Fleece.

 4 Note the bag of fleece in the back left corner of the booth!

The fleeces I purchased were Rams who belong to a flock of about 300 sheep. The Ewes are gainfully employed as professional Lawn maintenance specialists, keeping the weeds trimmed under solar panels! I hear the burrs that were in last year’s fleece have been almost eradicated.  (I did not see any in the fleeces I got this year as I re-bagged them).

 5 This is a bit better view of the 2 skirted Rams.

 6-7 Distracted by small cool wild flowers beside the parking spot.

Now to get back to the important parts, these rams are Canadian Arcotts. This is a breed that you may have had  the opportunity to  have  fun with before. Its one of 3 breeds (Canadian, Outaouais and Rideau Arcott) developed by the Canadian government here in Ottawa.  The last part of their name, Arcott, stands for Animal Research Centre Ottawa.  The Arcott breeding program began in 1966 with the goal to create a breed which reproduced rapidly for genetic and other sheep research. The original mix of breads are listed as Finnish Landrace, Southdown, East Friesian, Suffolk, Leicester, North Country Cheviot, Ramnelet, Dorset Horn, Shropshire and Ile-de-France for the Arcotts.

1982 all three Arcotts were recognized as distinct breeds.  Rideau Arcott mature quickly  grows rapidly and often have triplets. Although they are primarily a meat breed, their wool is described as a medium quality and variable. The Outaouais Arcott are also know for fast growing and often having triplets. There fleece is considered variable and there was a mention of good for milking. The Canadian Arcott is considered as a good meat breed with fast growth.  The fleece was listed as Soft, lustrous 3-4 inches long and a 25 – 33 micron count.

I unfortunately do not have a photo of the rams who produced these fleeces. If this was in smell-i-vision you could experience the lovely sheepy aroma. Some rams are a bit aggressive aromaticly, but both of these fleeces have a more normal sheepy smell.

8-11  Fleece #1- Ram professionally sheered and well skirted. The crimp is tighter than fleece #2. The locks I used as an unwashed sample are about 3.5 inches long.

12-15   Fleece #2 – Ram professionally sheered and well skirted. Not as crimpy as Ram #1. The stale length is about 3 inches on the unwashed sample I pulled.

Both these look like they would make fun spinning fleeces and I look forward to sampling them for felting. I have not worked with a Canadian Arcott before so this will be both fun and educational. There will be samples to share but first I have to finish cleaning up the side yard so I have space to wash and dry the fleeces!

Coming up on Monday will be our guild A.G.M. We will also be having a fiber poker challenge. This year as well as Spinning and Weaving there will be a deck for Felting! I will tell you about that in a future post.

Have fun and keep felting, spinning, weaving, fleece washing! So much to do we need to make the days longer! Oh yes its summer, that will help!!


19 thoughts on “In Ottawa, Tis’ the Season of New Fibre Acquisitions!

  1. We bet that Ann’s stall sells out quickly!

    What a pleasant way to have a stroll with so much fibre to see. You’re going to be very busy when you get home.

    1. Yes Ann dose sell out a lot but when we use to have Monday guild socials she would occasionally bring in a few tarts or cookies that were left from Saturday! We Loved Leftovers!!!

      there are lots of new stalls, vegtibles, plants, wine, beer, prepaired food, crafts, one has dryer balls in felt but no embelishments, we got Asparigus, Shellots, Lamb kabobs and Ann’s Bakeing last week. this week was Ann’s Backing and the outside of the sheep insted of the inside! there is a lovely old log house that has a farm store in it (you can buy the farms eggs and Mapple serup). the vender beside the Lady with Lamb sells Pork but mentioned he has 3 fleeces avalible i am not sure what breed. i wonder if thay will look like belted galloways (black with a white stripe around the middle – it is the colour pattern in galloway pigs and cows, but i have never seen a sheep in that patern. i wonder why?)

      it was a lovely place to take a walk, and i am loveing the walker! its an instant chair when my back tells me sit now! it also alows me to carry what my back says is too heavey. silly back i use to be able to lug 80lb crates of glass why is 1 bag of fleece so heavy?(thats ok i spit it in two and its much lighter now! after a wash it will be even lighter!)

      there may be a delay in the washing even though the weather is good. i still have to finish sorting through the rest of the stuff that came out of the garrage when we evickted the Racoons. its all in the area i set up for fleece wathing.

      i hope you have cool devers farmers markets near you to get dinner, exersize and maybe pick up a fleece or two! Have fun and let me know if you ever see a sheep that has the Galloway colour pattern!

  2. Looking forward to seeing the fluffy, washed fleece. I hope you enjoy trying out this breed you have not tried before. Sounds like a fun farmers market.

    1. I will show you how it gose as soon as i can get a bit of space to set up the fleece washing. i was wondering how white the fleeces will be i can tell there is definatly lanilin and dirt in the fleeces, one a bit more than the other.

      i am very excited to try out the Canadian Arcott although the breed is discribed as the “Meetyest” of the 3 arcotts the fleece still is listed as soft and Lusterous. where the other two are considered more variable. i have tryed quite a few Rideau Arcott and thay are vary varyable from fun spinning to well i could make this into a sack for pattaos or other root vegtables quality yarn. (strong but not realy anything you want to ware).

      with my small sample of 2 rams i will report back on how thay wash up. i am sure i can get enuff of the pots cleared so i can get a sample washing going shortly! then we can find out how the boys will be for spinning and felting!

  3. This was so interesting and educational! Here in Wyoming USA the sheep are raised for market… I don’t know if any ranchers sell the fleece. We do have a group of spinners and weavers, I should ask. I am starting some art projects but I purchase “ready to use” roving and needle felt it. I love doing it!!

    1. Thanks Marybeth! its fun to bump into new sheep; meet, wash, spin and felt! Wyoming sound wonderfull if you have Sheep farms! i wonder what your local breed options are? the Arcotts were developed to be low matinence, fast growing, good mothering charictoristics and lots of multiple births. they were discribed as good in pasture or paddock. we have a huge amount of post glacial geological fetures in parts of Ontario. so Rocks/ trees and more rocks. there is better soil depth as you go south closer to the st lorance river and the US border (you guys got a lot of our top soil when then the glacer pushed it south and then left it there when it retreated!)

      i wonder if any of your sheep farming nabours have the Arcotts? it would be fun to hear what breeds you find there! even a mixed breed herd can have some individuals with quite nice fleeces.

      the washing can be a bit of work but if you are gental (no adgitating) and patent (let is soke and get cleen) it is amazing to see a smelly dirty bag of wool transform into a much cleener fleece. then the next step will be carding or combing depending on what fleece you wind up with. to take a fleece from sheep to shall or blanket or sweater is an accomplishment as well as giving you the apresiashon of why roving and top are so expencive!

      for needle felting, i have picked up a cuple fleeces that were graded “Corse” there is less crimp and more luster and wave to almost kemp (Hair) like. these would be fleeces that would make wonderfull rugs but most of the hand spinners are not intersted. but for a needle felter these can be fun for serface details. i live about half an hours drive to the wool growers Co-op (when things open up i wil try to do a trip and post you picktures) all the fleeces in eastern canada that are not sold privetly usualy wind up there. they sell in big lots with quite a bit going to china. it is cleened carded spun into yarn and sold back to us and the rest of the world. some of it is used in comertal felktmaking! if you have the space and the time (if you get a fleece i am shure lock down will be emediatly lifted so you have not time to wash it) and are patent its an interesting experience washing a fleece. you may decide never to do it again or you may find you enjoy Fiber Prep as well as felting! it dose give you full controle over how your fiber is prosessed!

      Have fun and i look forword to your investigation of your nabours sheep!

  4. great shots Jan. I really like the one of Ross, not so much the one of me though I have seen worse. I hope your mom liked the cookies.
    The fleeces looked nice and crimpy when I was looking at them. I wonder what kind of flowers they are. they look a lot like petunias but so close the ground.

    1. Mom Loved the Cookies! and she remembered them!
      Yes i realy thot i cot Ross well and that is not a horrible shot of you! (i do have some realy bad shots of you if you would like them?)
      i have ram number 2 seperated into washing baskets and have the first bucket full on the dryiing rack. I started with ram 2 since he seemed more intersted in dust baths. i did fine 2 burrs but that was all so well skerted. there a cupple second cuts in this first of 7 stainer basdkets. this was a very cleen looking section, the next 3 are from the other end i think!
      i hope you have cookies ready for tomorow!! See you soon! i will check out the flowers again tomorow, i thot moring glory by the flower but there not realy a vine.

  5. Love the market Jan, it looks a great place to wander round.
    A lovely crimp in fleece No. 1. I might even be tempted to go for a raw fleece looking like that, but I gave up doing that years ago. I’d rather be felting!
    No wonder your back’s not good if you were humping (or should I say carrying – I don’t want to cause offence!) such weights around.
    Ann, the flowers look to me to be Convolvulus Minor, or bindweed. Great in the wild, not so great in your garden, though not so bad as C. Major (with the big white flowers.)
    Looking forward to the next instalment Jan.

    1. Thanks the market is a good spot for exersize, thay will let you go around more than once as long as you are going the indicated direction. i will check and see if the gentalman Porkseller has brot his 3 fleeces tomorow. i dont remember if he said the breed. (im hopeing for someting intersting if he brings them!)
      i have had problems in my garden with stray Moring glorry. thay are not ANUALS!!! thay lied i cant get fully rid of them i only spoted 2 plants so far groweing out of teh razbarys which are over growing the bleeding harts.i will be having a strong discution with all the plants in that bed!
      today i picked 5 rubarb stocks, it was an argument with one of the big stocks, i may have won but i had to retreat to seated postion with my back throbed and yelled. but there will be rubarb saus tomorow for icecreem!
      i wish i had remembered to way the fleece befor i started to wash it. i will try better on Ram #1 (he looked liked the one with slighly better personal hygeen). the tipping of the watter tubs was a bit more challanging this year since i put it up on the salt box which is easyer for lifting and lowering the strainer baskets but not eptying the water out. i will think about this and make a better plan.

  6. Oh my, you’ve given me fleece envy! I’d never heard of those breeds and would love to try them someday. Maybe they’ll be available in the UK in the future.

    As for the cookies… envy nr.2! I’m off sugar and the thought of chocolate made my mouth water. I hope your mother enjoyed them very much, there’s nothing quite like homemade sweets from a fair to make one’s tummy happy 🙂

    1. YOu have access to WOW!! i was filling up part of Ann’s order and wishing we could go look at some of the intersting breeds listed! Some day!!

      OH no no sugar is Horrible!!! it keeps the shakes down if i keep the sugar levels up (esental tremors) unfotnatly this also increases my width. i have had a lot less sugar but dont seem to be getting any thiner. this dosnt seem fair!

      Mom Loved the cookies and remembers to tell me how much she liked them! and asked me to thank Ann. i probubly shouldnt tell you she makes butter tarts too?

      i did a test wash of Ram#2 (a particularly cleen bit) and looks very white and quite soft! i have the test section drying i will go check it , yes almost dry and looks good! if i am able i will try to get a sample done tonight but after the icecreem with stawberys

    2. I do, I do… however, I do have to say I’ve had some unfortunate experiences with them (matted wool tops!) They do have a fantastic range of fibres, though 🙂

      A positive thing about sugar, who’d know? I’m sorry you have tremors, though :/ I hope those strawberries and ice cream helped!
      Butter tarts… yum… you’re evil 😀

  7. Looks like you had a great trip out Jan….meeting friends, sampling their baked goodies & buying fleeces.
    You will certainly have much work to do prepping the fleeces. Look after your back. I’ve vowed not to buy any more until I’ve carded what I have here….6 I think!

    I was fascinated by your info on the Arcott breeds & even more so by one of the names – Outaouais….5 vowels in a row, 9 letters & only 2 of them consonants! I’ve never come across such a word/name. Pronouncing it must be fun.

    1. It is always fun to go see Ann! and espeshaly if she has been bakeing! Ram #2 is the one i started with (he looks a bit dirtyer) i devided him into 7 strainer buckets and have 1 done and the next one in soaking.

      Outaouais is (i looked it up and copyed and pasted so i should have it spelt correctly.) if i spellit it looks like this Oota-wa or the Oot-a-way for the regon.its french and is also the name of the area around Ottawa Hull and Gatineau. My grade 7 french teacher was horrified our class could speek but not read or write in french. she had some wonderfull ideas like some letters could be egnored (jsut for decritive perpouses) and 3 vowels could sit together which the english teacher did not agree with with it started to pop up in english words. she tracked this new bezarness to the french teacher and had me kicked out of french! it had been my favorite class no reading or writing and i was trying out a hipothosis that maybe i was not dislexic in french. i didnt get to stick around long enuff to find out!! but i suspect my hypotosis was due to fail.

      i rember someting about objects were mail or femail if it looked sexy it was probubly femail, if it had cervation legs the table was a lady? it was a long time ago now but i think the table should decide whethre it want to have mail or femails chairs sit with it. or maybe it dosnt like to have people stairing at its legs all the time trying to decide the gender of a table. maybe i better stick to slottering english.

  8. Wonderful, the fleeces look like someone has spent hours with a hair crimper! Fantastic 😍

    1. i have started with Ram #2 who is less crimpy but there are still parts that look like someone snuck up and used a tiny crimping iron on him! the fleece has washed out the lanolin and very soft with the sent of sunlight dish washing soap.
      i am going to try some of my first part washed with the hand cards and i will go get my mini combs next. lets see what happens next!!

      i wonder who would do all the hair crimping for sheep? Pixies? chipmonks? someone with very tiny fingers!!

  9. Really interesting article Jan. I have to say I get a bit warm and fuzzy when I see crimp. A farmer once caught me standing by his trailer which had different breeds of sheep he was moving. He looked at me rather suspiciously as I breathed in their aroma I just love it!

    You live in a beautiful location and the farmers market looks fabulous! Sunshine, open air, great food – what’s not to love!

    Great that you are able to meet up with Ann too and buy some of her delicious goodies. 💖

    1. thanks Helene! it is a great location. i will have to get a ticket so i can go take photos of the log farm itself to show you. i have herd rummors of sheep!

      i am realy impressed with the Canadian Arcott. i did a test wash on ram #2 and then tryed both combing and carding the washed fiber. i dont have enuff comb wast to try felting yet. better get back to work!!

      i will have to tell you what followed me home today maybe in the next post!

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