Do you have a question? We've tried to answer some frequently asked questions here, but if there's something we haven't answered, do let us know!
All orders are shipped via Canada Post with tracking. We no longer offer vacuum sealed shipping for two reasons:
1. Waste - plastic shipping material contributes to global waste and although we had invested in biodegradable and compostable shipping material, many municiple compostings facilities don't accept this material. As such, all of our shipping materials are paper based and easily recycleable.
2. Compacting - certain wools are prone to compacting, and in some cases, felting within vacuum sealed packaging. The beauty of mill-prepared spinning fibres is the loft and alignment of the fibres achieved via that processing, and vacuum sealing it means losing that beauty, as well as potentially compressing the fibres or even felting them. Pre-drafting should be a choice made by the spinner, not a necessity due to compacting.
For US and international customers: please know that any shipping estimates are just that - estimates. Packages can take a long time to be processed by customs, and once an item has left our hands, the best we can do is keep an eye on tracking. If you need an item in a rush, expedited and rush shipping options are available when you purchase your items.
At the Small Bird Workshop, we have a commitment to be as sustainable as possible, and we just don't like plastic packaging. As a result, all of our shipping materials are paper-based, with the exception of our packing tape, which is plant-based.
CAN I USE YOUR YARNS AND FIBRE TO MAKE THINGS TO SELL?
Of course! Our yarns and spinning fibres are crafting materials, not finished items, and as such, we expect that crafters may want to sell the items they make with them, such as batts, handspun yarn, or knitted items. We even appreciate it when people acknowledge our products on social media - be sure to tag us using the #smallbirdworkshop hashtag!
What you may not do is use Small Bird Workshop branding or the branding of the farms we work with on your commercial website without permission. That's known as brand or trademark infringement, and it is illegal and unprofessional. If in doubt, follow the golden rule: don't do what you wouldn't want done to you. Or, even better, get in touch so that we can discuss what works best for all involved.
FIBRE PREPARATION: also know as: what's the difference between roving, combed top, pindrafted roving, etc?
How your fibre is prepared makes a big difference to your end product! Here's a list of the types of prepared fibre we carry, but if you have a specific question about the best fibre preparation to use for your project, please get in touch!
Roving: roving is a carded preparation, meaning it has passed through a series of rollers with teeth that align the fibre in a regular but unorganized manner. Roving can be spun woolen (for a true woolen yarn) or worsted (for a semi-woolen yarn), and can be used for felting as well. However, roving will always been more inconsistent in diameter (and thinner in diameter than combed top) and will contain nepps, noils, and more vegetable matter than other types of fibre preparation.
Pindrafted Roving: has been taken one step farther than roving. After being carded, it passes through a pindrafter, which has a series of moving comb-like pins that aligns the fibre, removes more of the nepps, noils, and vegetable matter. It tends to be thicker in diameter than roving and more consistent, but not as consistent as combed top. Pindrafted roving is my favourite type of commercial preparation to spin, and yields a semi-worsted or semi-woolen yarn, depending on how the pindrafted roving is spun. I often use the abbreviation "p/d" on my fibre tags to indicate pindrafted roving. It can also be used for felting and other fibre crafts.
Combed top: commercial prepared combed top has been pindrafted, and then put through a comber, where the fibre is straightened, aligned, steam, and most of the imperfections and vegetable removed. It tends to be the thickest in diameter (although that can vary from mill to mill) and is the fibre preparation that yields a worsted spun yarn. Felters and macra-weavers should note that what is often referred to as "roving" in their crafts is actually combed top - if you order roving from a small batch or mill, you'll likely not what you were hoping for! It's best to get in the habit of using the correct terms for your fibre, so that you can make sure you've got what you need for your project.
There are other types of fibre preparations, such as batts, rolags, punis, faux-lags, and pencil roving, and I've discussed these in Episode 4 of the FibreWorks podcast!
WHOLESALE ORDERS TO LOCAL YARN STORES: At the moment, we are not taking on more wholesale accounts.
WHOLESALE TO ONLINE SHOPS: Wholesale orders to online shops are not available at this time.
YARN SUPPORT FOR KNITTING PATTERN DESIGNERS: Yarn support for knitting pattern designers is available, usually in the form of a discount on yarns. Please send us an email with a design proposal, and we'll set up a time to chat!
Small Bird Workshop yarns can be found at select brick-and-mortar yarn stores, including:
The Beehive Wool Shop, Victoria, B.C.
Please view our "Events and Classes" page to see where you can meet Catherine and view Small Bird Workshop yarns and fibre in person!
CAN I VISIT THE WORKSHOP IN PERSON?
At the moment, we don't offer in-person shopping. The workshop is that - a workshop behind our home in a residential neighbourhood where dyeing and fibre preparation happens, and while we hope to host in-person workshops down the road, our online shop, fibre festivals, or LYS stockists are the place to purchase Small Bird Workshop yarns and fibres. Local pick-up can be arranged, but we just don't have the space to accommodate in-person shopping.
BOOKING CATHERINE FOR A WORKSHOP OR PRESENTATION
As a life-long educator, Catherine is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of wool with like-minded fibre friends. To date, she has done presentations for the Tzouhalem Weavers and Spinners Guild, the Victoria Handweavers and Spinners Guild, the Langley Spiners and Weavers Guild, the Canadian Wool working group, the Campaign for Wool - Canada, and otheres. She has also taught technical classes for the Tzouhalem Weavers and Spinners Guild, the Cowichan Hand-to-Hand, and the West Coast Nest Fibre Arts Retreat.
Should you wish to book Catherine for a presentation for your guild and group, please do get in touch via email to discuss schedules and presentation material. A complete list of the technical classes that Catherine teaches will be available soon on the "Events and Classes" page.