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A Treasure Map for Agro-Tourists on the Yarn Trail

Tucked into the Victorian countryside are hidden gems: sheep and alpaca farms, mills, dyeing studios and yarn stores. Many are by appointment only, and unless you are in the know, you wouldn’t even think to go looking for them.

Jess Meyer of Yarn Trail Victoria is charting a treasure map. It is her vision to connect small producers scattered across the wool supply chain with each other and with the broader community. Jess anticipates this map will not only inspire agro-tourism adventures, but generate income for small businesses throughout regional Victoria. As wool lovers and tourists seek out farms and craft shops on the Victorian yarn trail, they will also discover local delicacies at tea houses, bakeries and pubs.

I am joining Jess on Yarn Trail Victoria’s first official excursion this May. The Farm and Yarn Day Out is a full day field trip, departing Ballarat train station at 9:30am on Saturday 27th May 2023. Our first stop will be Tiny Lola Farm in Avoca. Shepherdess Vicki-Claire McDonald uses a crofting model to raise three breeds of sheep: Bond, Ryeland and East Fresian. Each breed’s fleece is valued for its unique characteristics. The fleeces are handspun locally in Avoca, and sold as knitting yarn, or as Elena Studio garments.

Vicki-Claire uses a crofting model: her sheep enjoy roaming a paddock in the middle of town and 45 acres of paddocks around Avoca.
Vicki-Claire uses a crofting model: her sheep enjoy roaming a paddock in the middle of town and 45 acres of paddocks around Avoca.
Elena Studio pieces are mostly made from Tiny Lola's East Fresian wool. At 21+ micron it holds shapes and textures beautifully.
Elena Studio pieces are mostly made from Tiny Lola’s East Fresian wool. At 21+ micron it holds shapes and textures beautifully.
Yarn for sale in the Tiny Lola Studio is made from fleece grown and handspun in Avoca.
Yarn for sale in the Tiny Lola Studio is made from fleece grown and handspun in Avoca.

After taking a mindful moment among the sheep and lambs or getting into some crutching with the shearer, the bus will depart Tiny Lola. With bagfuls of handspun yarn most likely! The trail will then lead on to lunch at The High Tea Mistress in nearby Clunes. This is the kind of tea shoppe you dream of encountering in the countryside, but rarely stumble upon. Jess has planned a delicious spread of sandwiches, scones and tea at this velvety parlour. Next: more yarn shopping at Little Bluebird Yarn in Creswick before rolling back into town.

Refueling in style, halfway along our yarn trail at the High Tea Mistress in Clunes, Victoria
Refueling in style, halfway along our yarn trail at the High Tea Mistress in Clunes, Victoria
Little Bluebird Yarns, Creswick with an open blue door
Little Bluebird Yarns, Creswick
Lots of little yarn stores like Little Bluebird Yarns dot the Victorian countryside- the Yarn Trail Victoria map will help people find them.
Lots of little yarn stores dot the Victorian countryside- the Yarn Trail Victoria map will help people find them.

I am really looking forward to this experience with Jess (who also happens to be the co-host of my podcast The Knitrepreneurs). We still have some spots on the bus, if you would like to join us? Head over to the Yarn Trail Victoria website to book.

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