Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Home Grown Knits in Red Cliffe, from Sheep to Socks



A flock of sheep in Frenchman’s cove (“Sheep on the Winterland Pasturelands.” Decks Awash. (1989). Vol. 18, No. 05: 18.)

Sheep have played an important role Newfoundland’s economy for centuries, with as many as 130,000 sheep living across the island at their peak in the 1930s. Sheep are a particularly versatile and easy animal to raise in Newfoundland, both because they can be raised both for meat and for wool, and because as hardy little animals they have an easier time adapting to boggy fields across the island and require very little oversight.

From February to April of 2021 HeritageNL researcher Maryssa Barras interviewed Hilda and Dorothy Quinton about the Quinton Premises. Throughout these interviews Hilda and Dorothy shared some interesting memories and facts about the Quinton premises, their work in the shop, maintaining the gardens, and cooking food, all centered around a general theme of sustainability and local living. As Dorothy put it, “there’s not much we had to buy really,” since most things could be grown or made locally, including the wool used to spin the yarn used to make people’s clothes. 

As conversations progressed, Dorothy and Hilda shared some interesting memories on their recollections of traditional spinning and carding, and the importance of sheep in outport Newfoundland life. Using the information they shared, and some research on shepherding, knitting, and spinning, heritage in Newfoundland this article explores the ‘farm to table,’ or better yet, ‘sheep to sweater,’ this new article walks through one aspect of the sustainable way of life people in outport communities led until very recently. 

To access this article, follow this link:

To access the three interviews conducted with Dorothy and Hilda Quinton, follow these links:

Interview 1 

Interview 2 

Interview 3 

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