Fibershed Producer Meet-up and Mill Tour

A couple things I got to do the week after returning home from Scotland – thankfully not both on the same day! – were our annual Fibershed Producers Meeting and a tour of a local wool mill.

The Producer meeting is held to give the group – now about 150 members from all over northern California – an opportunity to meet, share product ideas and generally be inspired.

There was an opportunity to chat informally …

…and to share food and see products others are creating.

We also had some helpful presentations from members on things like how to prepare products for mailing, how to set up displays of your items at sales events, and different ways to prepare your products for sale. I learned some new things to try!

The meet-up was hosted this year by Weirauch Farm, who produce and sell cheese from their flock of East Friesian Sheep. It was great to see them in their open air barn!

A few days later I went with friends for a tour of a recently opened wool mill in our area. Valley Oak Wool and Fiber Mill is a makeover of a mill previously located on this site.

I love visiting wool mills and have now done so in several countries! There are similatities and differences in all of them. Unless the wool (or other fiber) is scoured (washed) elsewhere, they all need to do that. Here the mill owner, Marcail, shows us her set-up for scouring.

Next comes carding the wool. Today she is making sliver which is then pin-drafted to make roving. A hand spinner can work with either of these but here the roving is then spun into yarn with these machines.

At the end of the tour we got to see her picker which is actually used after the fiber is scoured and before it is carded to open it up more for the carding process. I have learned on my own carding equipment the importance of very clean and very open fiber!

I have done all of my picking either by hand or in conjunction with a manual picker. I was inspired by this visit to add an electric picker to my set-up.

All in all, a very inspirational week!

Published in: on June 10, 2018 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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