By Robin Goodfellow-Baikie
In 1984, while living in North West River, Labrador, I discovered that blending caribou hair and sheep’s wool would make a very lightweight but warm felt. Subsequently, I did the research, both on the coast of Labrador, and in Winnipeg (where labs and garment industries were available). Through the development process, it became clear that the process could form the basis of a craft cottage industry. In a successful Pilot Project in North West River in 2001, the Caribou Fur-Felt was used as an inter-liner in snowmobile mitts. To this day, people still both wear those mitts, and request more pairs!
For various reasons the industry as defined was not established, but the knowledge of how to establish such an industry, and lab results from the Caribou Fur-Felt has been thoroughly documented in this 80 page Reindeer/Caribou Fur-Felt Manual. Caribou Fur-Felt can be made by hand, as described in the manual, but the most consistent product is made using cottage industry equipment. Caribou and reindeer hair have the same properties, but the Caribou Fur-Felt cottage industry development is a Labrador phenomenon.
I didn’t want the years of research and practical knowledge lost, so I completed this manual and intend it to be available (at no cost) to anyone/group who wants it.
Some photos from the manual: