Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tour A Wool Processing Mill

I actually took these photos about 3 years ago and meant to post them after the Mohair came back from the mill, but I got so excited with our harvest...dying, spinning etc, that I forgot to write this post. I was recently reminded as we just dropped off the harvest. In 7 weeks will be getting back our 34 pounds of beautiful Mohair roving. 

After the first year of processing the girl's wool by hand, it felt as though the work would never be worth the outcome. I would empty the hot water tank each time I did even a small batch. Washing and rinsing the lanolin from the fiber, the smell of the greasy oils, Dawn dish washing liquid and vinegar would permeate the house.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind hand processing. There is something about the tactile pleasure of handling fiber, inherently human, like coming home. I still hand process our Kid Mohair, but as our herd is growing it was taking weeks to wash, dry, pick the vegetation from the fiber, and hand card it into rollags.

Click here to read about the hand washing process.

Zach and I went to a local fiber show and a member gave us the name of Zellinger's Woolen Mill in Frankenmuth, Mi. We decided that we would bring our harvest to be processed into roving. That first year we had a blend of Angora and Mohair, which I stopped doing because I didn't realize how many people had allergies to Angora.

When you walk into the mill it smells wonderful. The earthy smell of the different natural fibers mixed with gentle cleansers wraps around you and envelopes your senses like a soft comforter. 

One of the employees of the mill was happy to take us on a tour, she showed us the beautiful machinery, the yarns and processing equipment. I'd like to share these photos with you.

To view our collection of hand dyed mohair roving and hand spun yarns, please visit the Iron Oak Farm Etsy Page. 

The drying racks

a delicate yarn

the sock knitting machines

sock knitting machine all the different needles

raw fiber right from the animal waiting to be processed

large carding machines

the roving coming out

for natural batting quilts

finished yarns and threads

a different view of one of the carding machines

a beautiful naturally colored yarn

finished wool waiting to be picked up

sock forms

close up of the needles on the carder

I believe this is used to determine the strength of the yarn


Janet said...

Very interesting post. I have been able to visit two of the mills that process my fiber into yarn and it is such a treat for the senses. I love your goats and all your pictures.

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