River Cottage Australia

Meet the River Cottage Australia Wool Expert

Tabitha knows a thing or two about sourcing the best woolen products for those cold nights around Tilba.

It's time you got to know a thing or two about her!

Who is Tabitha?

Tabitha and her partner Andy Zarins run a mixed flock of around 60 unwanted, rescued and pre-loved mixed breed sheep and goats near the town of Candelo in southern NSW.

Their small on-farm based business focuses on value-adding wool for spinners, felters, designers, and other craftspeople, and Tabitha herself also spins and felts her own wool into beautiful art wearables and millinery.

The natural, mottled wool tops come from a variety of sheep breeds. Their Perendale and Suffolk sheep give structural qualities for millinery and the elasticity in yarn. Border Leicester and Lincoln long wools give lustre, strength and vibrant dyeing properties. The black and coloured sheep are from white Merino flocks and they’re collected to preserve their beautiful dark fine Merino wool. Finally the White Merino sheep is soft and luxurious, great for the soft handle and drape needed in felted garments and finer knitwear.

Supporting the local wool industry

A passion of Tabitha’s is to promote and encourage other wool producers to promote their own fibres, and particularly rare breeds of sheep and other types of fibre animals, such as mohair and camel. She now buys local small wool clips from other farmers, invests in these by value-adding for a particular market and then promotes them at any opportunity . Tabitha feels like this value adding gives farmers a sense of pride, being involved in the process, from beginning to the end. Their involvement means that they can retain the high quality product within the region. The more the farmer value adds to their product the higher the profitability, so if the farmer can be involved in as many links in the production puzzle the more dynamic the business can be.

Tabitha has increased awareness of fibre-use by giving many talks at clubs such as View and Evening View, different garden clubs, Probus, CWA and by presenting at local Agricultural Societies

Tabandy Farm Shop

As well as selling at various markets in the Bega Valley Shire, Tabitha has recently started stocking her woolly wonders as well as the product from other locals at her new shop in Bega, NSW

In 2014, an exciting opportunity came up at the Bega Valley Marketplace, to sublet a space, so Tabitha jumped at the chance to open her very own craft store – a permanent shop and work space to stock everything under one roof.

Tabitha also uses the space as a creative hub, to teach and collaborate in weaving, crocheting and felting and knitting, and with five spinning wheels, she’ll happily spend 30 mins with anyone who wants an impromptu lesson. With her passion about reviving the Australian wool industry, she often holds workshops for school kids.

For more information

Tabandy Farm Store at 70 Gipps Street, Bega NSW

Website: www.tabandyfarm.com/our-story

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