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London-Wul is a fibre farm in New Brunswick Canada where animals are neither destroyed nor sold without exception. Also a national award winning shop and studio, London-Wul is home to textile artist Heidi Wulfraat.


Friday, April 25, 2008

....AND ON THAT NOTE

... so, I started to tell you.
We had a fantastic Baby Lock demonstration day here in the shop. All those super sexy sewing machines in one place at one time. Wow! The rest of the weekend was spent away at a technical training session at which I learned sooo much about the inner workings of a BabyLock machine. Well, as you know, I must be enamoured with a product before it becomes a member of our product line and these machines are no exception (now even more so). Even my sewing instructor has fallen for them. That's right, I'm definitely not the head of the sewing center here at London-Wul as I'm very much in the learning stage. So here's a bag, that I made in class, on the Ellure Plus. What do you think?


On the knitting front I have been on an adventure with Charlene Schurch as I flitter in and out of Sensational knitted and more Sensational Knitted socks. Now there are a few books that I simply must have both on my shelf at home and in the store. Without question these sock knitting compendiums are firmly on the list. All of my family members are "outdoorsy" people so I have been working in Briggs and Little Tuffy for that heavy, comforting, ski boot effect.

....back to the London-Wul Homepage: www.thewoolworks.com

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A QUICK NOTE

....to say that these classes are up and coming :)

SPINNING CLASSES: We have scheduled two spring spinning classes on Saturday May 3rd and again on Sunday May 4th 1pm-4pm. Take the opportunity to discover the world of hand spinning. Discover the magical properties of fibre, how they have been prepared and how to spin a yarn! – you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in one afternoon!$45.00 instruction/workbook/material fees plus HST, students will be registered upon payment. Equipment available or bring your own wheel.




LEARN TO NEEDLE FELT and create your own whimsical sculpture from wool! You will form this lively, expressive character using dry felting/sculptural technique.
INSTRUCTOR: Heidi Wulfraat

COST: $85 plus tax, includes instruction, materials, workbook, snacks
(don't forget to pack a lunch. We'll be picnicking with our felted friends.)
Sunday May 25th 10am - 4:30 pm
....back to the London-Wul Homepage: www.thewoolworks.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'M BACK ...SORT OF

...well just back long enough to commit to a "real" post tomorrow:)
I realize that this in itself is a ridiculous thing to post but sheeeeeesh! It's been busy around here.
lets just say:
Baby Lock, Baby Lock, Baby Lock, Goat shearing, iPod, dog hair and more dog hair, Janet Evanovich, bus tours, knee socks, baby booties and Bobs your uncle.....

Now I must to run to knitting night but in the meantime, I'll leave you with the 2008 summer schedule here at ye olde London-Wul:

Group Activities
London-Wul invites your group to take part in our varied workshops and activities tailored to special interests and hands-on learning experiences that will both entertain and inspire. Explore a living, working farm, unique in its commitment to sustainability, tradition and animal well-being.

Explore
Enjoy the inspiration of our rural setting with a guided walk through our lively woods, pasture and gardens.
This activity will encompass discussions about traditional wool production, local dye plants and London-Wul’s unique animal care philosophy.
Learn to transform natural fibre into yarn using a traditional drop spindle technique.
An informative workshop on handspinning will have you prepare your very own handmade yarn!

Duration: 2 hours
Group minimum: 10
Notes: considerable walking, outdoor environment
* please wear Comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for farm environment.
Recommended for: Family
Cost: $10.00, Adult $3.50, children

Experience
Partake in an intimate afternoon of fine craft. Learn to make felt using a needling technique. Create your own your own whimsical sculpture from wool!
All materials included.

Duration: 4 hours
Group Minimum: 6 (group maximum applies)
Notes: No prior experience is required, Light refreshments will be served
Recommended for: Adults
Cost: $45.00 per person

Encounter (available in 2008)
Encounter the inner workings of a fibre farm and fibre arts studio. This adventure will walk you through a day in the life of London-Wul. Exploration will include a guided tour of London-Wul farm, as well as a Nature walk and collection of natural dye plants. Learn to wash and card wool then use the plants that you have collected to dye these natural fibres. Also learn to spin your own yarn using an ancient drop spindling technique. Let this exquisite setting, these beautiful fibre producing animals as well as knowledgeable interpreters and artisans ignite your creative spirit!

Duration: 7 hours
Group minimum: 6
Notes: considerable walking, outdoor environment * please wear Comfortable clothing and footwear suitable for farm environment, a hearty lunch and nutritious snacks will be served. *Emphasis on learning new skills, lively discussion and creativity.
Recommended for: Adults

Cost: $85.00


.... back to the London-Wul Homepage: www.thewoolworks.com

Sunday, April 06, 2008

BOSTON GLOBE TROTTING

linked from the Boston Globe, © Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

A fiber artist's patterned life in New Brunswick
Boston Globe

By Kathy Shorr, Globe Correspondent April 6, 2008


LAKEBURN, New Brunswick - "Knitting is in again," author Margaret Atwood said in a recent radio interview. In Atlantic Canada, I'm not sure it ever went out of style. The weather here is like New England's, plenty of rainy days and even longer winters. That means lots of time for needlework.
It's what people here have done for centuries. The shops sell knit gloves and socks, crocheted shawls, hooked wall hangings, woven placemats, and more.
Just a few miles east of Moncton, London-Wul Fibre Arts brings together the old and new aspects of handwork as a new économusée, a small network of skilled artisans who work full time on their craft. Each économusée welcomes the public and is a combination of cottage industry, open studio, museum, and store, offering demonstrations, workshops, exhibits, supplies, and finished items for sale.
At London-Wul, owner Heidi Wulfraat devotes herself to the techniques and traditions of hand spinning. But spinning is only one part of the experience. Wulfraat raises sheep, goats, and rabbits, shears them for their wool, collects plants on her land to produce dye, spins and hand-dyes the wool, and then creates one-of-a-kind designs.
Much of her business comes from selling supplies, among them skeins of colorful hand-dyed wools, hand-turned knitting needles, pattern books, and kits to make your own project.
But this was hardly what she had in mind when she and her husband bought these 140 acres in the mid-1990s. Wulfraat has a degree in animal science, and her flock includes about 60 animals, including 30 angora rabbits, seven angora and cashmere goats, and 17 sheep, including Shetland crosses, Horned Dorset crosses, Lincoln and Romney crosses, and pure Jacob sheep. There are also two dogs and a smattering of geese and chickens.
"Making a living with needlework was nothing you'd know at the time," she says, "but looking back it was there." She grew up in a household steeped in handiwork. "My grandmother supported her children on embroidery at some point, and she lived with us. Even my brothers did some needlepoint."
After college, Wulfraat apprenticed at a textile museum in Dorchester, southeast of here, to learn to spin wool, and continued exploring on her own and with others to learn felting, rug hooking, and lacemaking.
Some of her study partners show up for a weekly "sock walk," taking an evening stroll before they settle down to knit. Another night it's a group of lacemakers working together to make lace patterns out of silk, linen, and wool.
Wulfraat is in her third year as an économusée and says she gets several bus tours a week. When I arrive at 10 a.m., there's a group waiting at the front door. They're not a tour bus group, but about a dozen men, women, and children from the Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton Area. Gentille Mutoni, 5, from Democratic Republic of the Congo, skips in hand-in-hand with Juliana Lopez, 4, from Colombia.
All are recent immigrants learning English, and they have questions: How long did it take to build this building? You own all this yourself? Do you milk any of the animals? "No," Wulfraat answers with a smile. "I'm just not a morning person."
Seokgyu Lee, 3, from South Korea, holds a piece of fleecy red spun wool up to his cheek. Wulfraat hands around a large furry brown mitten that she made out of the hair of her dog, a Tibetan mastiff. Gentille and her younger sister Irene, 4, reach out to touch it and hand it back and forth.
We all walk down to one of the fenced pastures to see the goats. They hang near the back of the pasture for the first few minutes, but wander toward us after lots of high-pitched calls from the kids. Wulfraat leads one of the angora goats named Louie over, holding him by a rope. He stands beside her and lets everybody stroke his coat.
It has started to drizzle so we head back inside for a demonstration on how to spin wool into yarn. Wulfraat hands a small spindle to each person, gives a quick lesson, and everybody sets to work. Evens Estime, young man from the Dominican Republic, sits side by side with Gentille, Juliana, and Irene, and all four turn their spindles around and around with solemn focus. When it's time to go, Wulfraat comes to each person with a pair of scissors, snips off the ends of yarn and knots them, leaving each with a length of spun wool to take home as a souvenir.
If it hadn't started raining, Wulfraat might have included a trip into the gardens to pick plants and then boil them down to use for dying wool. She's planted woad, which has been used for centuries to make blue, but lots of the colors come from weeds. "You get a soft green from dandelions," she explains. "In the fall we're full of goldenrod, and use that for a rich burnt yellow."
She walks outside toward one of the pastures as the visitors leave. "You could run a fiber arts store without animals," she acknowledges, "so it's self-indulgent - because I like having them around. I couldn't just have a yarn shop in Moncton."
She prides herself on having a no-kill farm, where the animals get a little more babying than on the average farm. "We bring the animals in at night," she says. "That's probably not conventional. Our sheep - they don't like to get their feet wet. There's a bug zapper in the barn, and fans on hot days. The animals call the shots around here."
Kathy Shorr, a freelance writer in Wellfleet, can be reached at kshorr@mail2.gis.net.
© Copyright
2008 The New York Times Company
If You Go

What to do
London-Wul Fibre Arts
1937 Melanson Road Lakeburn, New Brunswick506-382-6990; thewoolworks.comDaily 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mondays. Free admission. Fee for special tour, workshop, or walk. Call to arrange.

Where to stay
Avalon Terrace Bed & Breakfast
739 Frampton Lane, Moncton (exit 452 off Route 2)506-854-6494, 888-833-7177avalonterrace.comRomantic, private B&B has whirlpool baths, will serve lobster dinners to guests on request, and sits beside a 300-acre park. Doubles $115-$145.

Future Inns Moncton
40 Lady Ada Boulevard (exit 454 off Route 2) Moncton506-852-9600, 877-389-9600futureinns.comNo-fuss pet-friendly hotel with free Internet, local calls, and gym, plus low-cost laundry facilities for guests. Doubles $129-$219.

Where to eat
Little Louis' Oyster Bar
245 Collishaw St., Moncton506-855-2022; littlelouis.caCasual, elegant atmosphere with more than 30 wines by the glass. Dinner daily from 5 p.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Dinner entrees $20-$30, lunch entrees $8-$15.

Boomerang's Steakhouse & Bar
130 Westmorland St. Moncton506-857-8325; boomerangs.caAustralian-themed child-friendly restaurant. Huge, eclectic menu. Daily from 5 p.m. Entrees $10-$29, $5 kids' menu.

Friday, April 04, 2008

FEELING BETTER


Wheewh! It's been a rough few weeks.
Spring is a super busy time in the shop with work schedules, show schedules, tour schedules, class schedules and production schedules to put in place. Follow this with a week of the ever pervasive flu that is circulating. I'd like to say that I have been kept on my toes however I was actually knocked off my feet for a week with said flu (with an apology to Arn who was first to get sick while I rolled my eyes thinking - it couldn't be THAT bad- oops).
Thanks to "the girls" who always keep the shop running smoothly and who are now - you guessed it-down with the flu.
Worse than all else, one of my goats, Louie, fell ill this week. Now when I started out with sheep and goats it was with the understanding that these animals are not on level with our dogs who are our constant companions and who share our home. Sheep and goats are "livestock". They live apart from us. They exist in our world with a degree of separation. Wrong. Well, wrong for me, anyway. My Sheep and goats are embedded in my world. They are intrinsically timid, cautious animals who have come to trust that I will be consistent and caring and respectful. Trust is trust regardless of the direction from which it comes at you. It's big and it's real and when Louie became ill, his suffering weighed on me like a ton of bricks. I have been medicating, rehydrating and working to maintain his rumen function for the past 5 days. he, in turn, has been working on pulling through a bout with (?)not full blown bloat - possibly toxicity ? All this to report that yesterday evening Louie met me at the gate, was most interested in his feed and I finally got a good nights sleep. This morning he lays perched on a snow mound taking in the spring sunshine........ they exist to test me, why did I sign up for this? - oh yah, to enjoy the good bits, that's right.
a side note to this story: the animals at London-Wul are used in fibre production only. The farm remains entirely no-kill, no-sell in it's functioning.
....on another note: our next handspinning classes will be held on Saturday May 3rd and again on Sunday May 4th... deatails to follow or call 506-382-6990
...back to the London-Wul Homepage: www.thewoolworks.com
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