Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

field trip to green mountain spinnery

While at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival on Sunday, Franny and I were quite taken with the Green Mountain Spinnery Cooperative's booth. Their commitment to sustaining a worker-owned business, and to serving local shepherds really intrigued us. We were delighted to learn that they offer factory tours on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month, and so this morning, we drove down to their factory in Putney. Sixty percent of their business is done as custom orders, the other 40 percent of the skeins wear the GMS tag. The photo above shows bags of raw fleece waiting to be processed.
After the fibers have been soaked and washed, they are spun until nearly dry in this circa 1896 extractor, acquired from the laundry room of a now defunct, local hotel.  
After being washed and dried, the fibers are "picked" and then carded. The carding machine, above, was built in 1916 and it's still going strong. After carding, comes blending and roving and then it's twisted and plied into yarn and steamed, and skeined or coned.
We lingered in the factory store while I tried to decide if I had the courage to attempt a cardigan, and then, what color? I went with glacier lake in a 70% wool/30%yearling mohair blend.
I'm going to give Maureen's Cardigan a try. The pattern is from 99 Yarns and Counting, More Designs from the Green Mountain Spinnery.  While there, I had my book autographed by 6 members of the co-operative. I am very excited about being able to knit really long sleeves for my really long arms!

I always love a good factory tour, must be a leftover from my days of watching Mr Rogers with my little brothers. :-)

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