Profile of Ontario Shepherd Barbara McLean

24 April 2024

Sponsored in part by:

Ad featuring a mocked up cover of a book called Quilting, and the words "Essays and exercises for creative exploration. Back the book on Kickstarter from Nine Ten Publications."

Ad for the book Gathering Colour, featuring the book cover and the words, "Use natural pigments to make dyes, inks & paints from the world around you." A button at the bottom says, "Buy now."

After spending time with Barbara McLean’s new book, Shepherd’s Sight: The Farming Life, I was eager to learn more about how she came to farming and her crafting practice. We spoke via Zoom on an early spring day—raining for both of us, but likely to snow for Barbara. She sat in her home studio, a large loom behind her, bookshelves and woven blankets in view, wearing a cabled cardigan knitted from a blend of her own sheep’s wool. Our conversation ranged widely—she described Lambsquarters (her farm), we shared thoughts on sheep genetics and the challenges of academic teaching, and we focused on our shared love of wool and living in concert with a place.

Photos courtesy of Barbara McLean.

Digits & Threads Is a Member-Supported Independent Online Magazine

The articles, tutorials and patterns we publish about Canadian fibre and textile arts, crafts and industry are made possible by our members.

Copyright © Sarah Thornton except as indicated.
Sarah Thornton head shot

About Sarah Thornton

Sarah Thornton is a connector - she loves bringing people and ideas together, especially over local fibres and foods. When not teaching college Biology labs, she knits, spins, designs, teaches, and occasionally weaves in her new studio space on Vancouver Island. She's also a cyclist, skier, hiker, and gardener! Find her patterns and classes at sarahthornton.ca and @sarsbarknits on Instagram.

Related Posts

Circular by Design: Slow Fashion by Anne Mulaire

Circular by Design: Slow Fashion by Anne Mulaire

Anishinaabe/French Métis fashion designer Anne Mulaire is part of an innovative movement of clothiers committed to building a slow, circular Canadian fashion industry. Inspired by teachings passed down through seven generations of her family, she creates garments that reflect her deeply held family and personal beliefs.

Get 10% off!

Join our mailing list to get special Studio Membership pricing! PLUS hear about new Digits & Threads content and community news.

Subscription success! Well done, you.