This past weekend was the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) which I always look forward to going. In the mail I received an invitation to the Echoview Fiber Mill which is still under construction. They shuttled us to the mill and even fed us lunch which I thought was really thoughtful.
The building (as seen from the model and drawings from the architect who explained it all to us) will be very lovely when finished. In fact, it was a huge building and much larger than I expected. There is a large reception area with a retail area on the side. There will be meeting rooms for community groups as well as a library with internet capabilities for those who need it. Julie (the owner), Didi (The marketing director), and Gwen (the mill manager) were very welcoming!
As a beginner spinner, I really don’t know much about processing fiber so felt this was an excellent opportunity to learn. I thought I would take the time to share pictures of the mill and the process as it was explained on the tour and in their brochure.
Here are the steps:
1. Washing/Scouring which involves cleaning the fiber of dirt, veggie matter, and other debris.
2. Opening/Picking which eliminates tables and clumps.
3. Dehairing separates coarse fibers from softer fibers and eliminates any remaining debris.
4. Carding to get fibers separated and aligned.
5. Roving/Sliver and Batts are created.
When you want your fleece processed, you would call customer service and they send you what is needed to send the fleece to them. They mark it with an RFID number so the customer can track it through the process. They also plan on putting some kind of dye in it so they know exactly what your fleece is so it doesn’t’ get mixed up with anyone else’s fleece.
I never miss an opportunity for a tour if at all possible. Sometimes our students can’t always go on tours so with pictures and explanations, it is the next best thing. As a visual learner, it helps to see things rather than just read about them. Even my husband who is not a spinner or a knitter found it very interesting.
Have you ever gone on a fiber mill tour? What other tours have you found interesting? Please share.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Pat Hensley