First place
Laurie Maus holds her first-prize white fleece from the A Stitch in Time event at the Glengarry Pioneer Museum.     Van Dusen photo

by Tom Van Dusen
AgriNews Staff Writer
GLENGARRY – Laurie Maus swears the fix wasn’t in. And it wasn’t. Fleeces on show at A Stich in Time July 7-8 at Glengarry Pioneer Museum, Dunvegan, were professionally judged.

Can Maus, chair of District 10 of Ontario Sheep Farmers and chief organizer of the event, help it if her white Tunis male fleece was judged first-prize winner? It was all above board.

A Stitch in Time featured exhibits of antique and contemporary fibre artwork, various workshops, a fleece competition and vendors offering quilting supplies and other items. Wet felting taught the art of creating decorative flowers to adorn hats, bags and to wear as brooches.

The event was mostly held outside on the museum grounds, with some activities inside the historic buildings. Hot weather kept attendance below what had been hoped for by organizers led by Maus who declared the weekend a success, primarily because it brought like-minded wool lovers together in an inspiring setting.

“We had a great partnership between the museum, the Sheep Farmers, Heritage Livestock Club of Eastern Ontario, and Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers,” Maus observed. “Volunteers from each organization helped out.”

Among other things, the event was intended to show that fleeces should be treated as more than a waste byproduct of raising meat sheep. With that in mind, Coop apprentice wool grader Nathan Pappas-Barabe provided a fleece-handling tutorial, including tips on what buyers are looking for.

It was a worthy follow up to last year’s inaugural Wool Day at the same venue. At that time, Maus announced fleece judging and an auction would be added this year. They were and results were encouraging, including on a personal level, she said.

Maus’ 6.8-pound first-prize white fleece was sold for the highest price – $65 – by auctioneer Barb Newman. Maus’ second-prize five-pound white sold for $20 to a small group of buyers, and five other fleeces sold for $20-$30. While that sounds low, Maus said it covers shearing expenses and is more than the Coop pays for graded raw wool.

“We had 14 sheep fleeces and three llama fleeces and we couldn’t sell them all,” Maus noted. “But it was still a good start for what I believe was the first fleece auction in eastern Ontario.”

With no A Stitch in Time planned for next year, Maus hopes to participate with some of the same partners in the Wool Growers Coop annual Lambs Down Park Festival held in Carleton Place in June.

This year, the Coop is celebrating its 100th anniversary which will be officially recognized during the annual meeting at Almonte Fairgrounds Oct. 18-20.