Monday, September 18, 2017

Woolen Mill Tour

Mountain Meadow Woolen Mill is one of the few
mills that processes wool from the raw fleece to the
finished product of roving or yarn. 
Saturday, I joined several Guild members for a three-hour bus trip to the Mountain Meadow Woolen Mill in Buffalo, WY.  We ventured over the Big Horn mountains and encountered snow on the summit, but once we arrived in Buffalo, the roads were dry and the air crisp.

The mill is small but inclusive: they process from fleece to yarn in the large warehouse building. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos from the trip. 

Guild members began the mill tour by learning some of the background
on how and why the mill was started ten years ago.
Mountain Meadow Woolen Mill, Buffalo, WY
September 16, 2017
The skirting process was explained 
Ben explained how the skirting process not only removes vegetable matter
but also short cuts that can occur during shearing 
wool grease is a by-product of the scouring process.
The equipment in the mill ranges in age and some machines
were manufactured and/or obtained overseas. The machines
 often came without instruction manuals or the instructions
were in Spanish or Portuguese. The mill had to be innovative
to get the machinery running.
The wool is sent through drum carders as well as
pin drop machines to make sure the wool fibers
are parallel. Guild members were able to feel the
difference between the processes from the samples
shown in the box
The pin drop machines have fine combs that separate
the wool fibers. The wool is put through the process
several times. 
The wool is guided through a pin drop machine
drum carders
spinning the wool onto bobbins
one of the many boxes of wool being spun into yarn at the spinning machine


The spinning machine was turned on during our Saturday visit, and Ben demonstrated how quickly a broken strand could be repaired.

Large bobbins filled with yarn
Once the yarn is on the bobbin, it is skeined and then
wrapped on cones.
This machine wraps the yarn from a skein onto a cone
Some of the yarn is also dyed at the mill, and the
mill store has many gorgeous skeins for sale.
Buyers can also purchase roving from a variety of
sheep or exotic breeds. 
Finished wool items are also for sale (sweaters, hats,
mittens, throws) in the mill shop

The owners and founders of Mountain Meadow Wool share their story in the following video:



12 comments:

  1. So cool! You've had some really nice/fun excursions lately...I'm jealous - lol. So...did you purchase any yarn? I would have been unable to resist.

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  2. So interesting! You go on some of the most fascinating excursions. I love seeing this story of the mill and yarn making!

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  3. Wow that was awesome! Love the yarn displayed in the wheel.

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  4. Fascinating! I didn't realize there was anywhere in the US that wool went from fleece to yarn anymore. For 10 years early in our marriage we farmed/ranched and ran about 750 ewes and 50 head of cattle. I was always so amazed at how fast the shearers were and that the fleece would usually be almost in a single huge piece. And the sheep looked so embarrassed without their wool. We always kept brown or black fleeces in a separate bag and got premium dollars for the colored wool. Thanks for sharing this.

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  5. Well, since I couldn't be there with you, it was wonderful to see your virtual tour! How interesting to see!

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  6. I hope you brought home some of that lovliness!

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  7. I made Fireman read the post. He was asking me about the process at the sheep and wool festival. Heck if I knew! So thanks Nancy

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  8. This is a great post! I am lucky enough to have been gifted a couple of skeins of their worsted, in a natural white color, and it is some of my most favorite yarn. Maybe someday we can get back to Wyo for a tour. Thx. --Tammy

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  9. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this with us! I enjoyed it so much. As many times as I've been through Buffalo, and I was just there in July, I never knew they had this kind of a facility. Maybe next time I drive through I can stop and see it myself. Or maybe it has to be set up in advance? Anyway, I loved watching the process and the videos. Thank you again so much for sharing them with us. And now, tell us what did you go home with? :-)
    Blessings, Betsy

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  10. What an interesting tour, especially with being able to purchase those lovely goodies from the shop.
    I must have had a "Senior Moment" when I read your blog title - I was sure you had written Woolen Flour Mill and couldn't work out what you meant!

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  11. Wonderful. In years gone by I used to have my own spinning wheel and used to buy fleeces and spin the yarn from them. I really enjoyed the information you shared from you visit.

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  12. I thoroughly enjoyed that tour - thank you for letting us tag along! I found the process fascinating. We don't watch much television, but our entire family has always loved to watch "How it's Made".

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