Monday was the last day of classes at the Craft College. So, Tuesday we all went on a field trip (cue "Magic School Bus" music). Our trip took us to Legacy Lane Fiber Mill, operated by one of our recent graduated, Alyson and her sister, Amy. Amy (in the black) is due with baby #1 next month! Good luck Amy!
Click on any picture to see it bigger.
The trip was a little longer than necessary due to the unfortunate circumstance of the navigator knitting. We finally made it to Sussex after enjoying the spectacular views of the back roads of New Brunswick. There, we met with Pippi and her Mom (who blessedly knew the way to the mill) and the caravan continued.
It was great to see Alyson again and see what kind of an operation she has.
The first machine was the picker. This loosens and separates the fibers.
Next came the de-hairer. This will separate any guard hairs and vegetable matter that was left after the washing process. Then it goes through a carder and roving or batts come out the other end.
The roving is stored in tall slender drums until enough is ready to prepare for spinning. The roving is then put through a machine which makes all of the roving the same size. The size of the yarn that the customer wants dictates the size of the roving.
Then the spinning happens. They have great control over the size of the yarn that they spin. Everything from fat bulky to gossamer weight.
After the spinning, comes the plying. They can also ply as many singles together as the customer wants.
And the last picture is the cone winder. They also have the option of making skeins. It all depends on what the customer wants. Right now they are specializing in processing other farmers fibers. But soon they will start processing their very own alpaca. They acquired a herd of alpaca in January and will soon begin their first shearing. But more about that tomorrow.