A yarn story: Long Way Homestead

We are a small-scale, family-owned and
run wool mill and fibre farm. We process the wool and fibre from sheep, alpacas, llamas. And we really try and focus on small batch, local,
wool production. One of the things that we have been able to focus on because we have the mill is looking at the specific fibres that are produced by specific breeds. We can look at the character qualities of
that breed, whether it be, you know, a very long staple, or a very resilient fibre, or a very soft and fine fibre, or a coloured fibre. This is something that informs knitting and fibre arts in a really exciting way that we can’t do on a larger commercial level. This also helps us preserve breeds. Just like there’s endangered animals out there, there’s
also endangered domestic animals. And sheep, being one of them, is under huge threat. Focusing on breed-specific fibre allows us to also preserve those breeds through supporting those farmers. We lived in Vancouver – my husband Luke, and we have two sons, and I owned a yarn store in Vancouver. And I loved, the, owning a yarn store, loved the knitting and fibre arts community, but even then really felt like there
was a missing gap between farmers in the Lower Mainland and then
also all these knitters and dyers and people who loved yarn in the city. So I kind of thought, you know, there needs to be this bridge between those two. So, fast-forward five-and-a-half years and we had just kind of outgrown Vancouver. We needed more space and we really always thought that we would have a farm –
raise our own vegetables and our own meat and, of course, sheep. So in 2015, we sold the business and we moved out to Manitoba and we realized that there were a lot of people in urban centres that actually really wanted to understand where the source of where their fibre was coming from. After our first shearing, we
went to get the wool processed. I realized that there was no mill in
Manitoba, no mill in Saskatchewan, and any mill in Alberta had a very long wait list and it was gonna be very expensive to ship. It took some planning, and some time
but we got the mill equipment. We have a mini mill and we’re able to finally process our own wool and the wool of other people. We love doing mill tours, you know, people are always amazed at what actually goes into the
process of making their yarn. One of the things that we also really strongly believe in and we’ve been focusing on at the farm is
bringing people to the land. Having people interact with the animals and observing the the process of raising fibre animals. So we have a shearing festival where people can come and watch the annual sheep shearing. So not only being connected to the source of their food, but also the source of their clothing and
watching that process. One of our favourite things as a family to do in the spring and summer is when we go out, and we, and we bring the sheep their evening oats, we just hang out in the pasture. And sometimes our boys are chasing the sheep,
or playing with the sheep, and sometimes we’re just sitting there, and listening to the birds, and the crickets, and the bugs, and the sheep and, we just love the fact that we can do this. And, I don’t know, it’s like this magical little world that we get to experience every single day.

1 thought on “A yarn story: Long Way Homestead

  • Hello…what a great story…thanks for telling it. Many years ago I did one of my first knitting workshops at your store in Vancouver. That was many many many knitting workshops ago…I actually know how to do them now….Sylvia Olsen

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