You read that right - we're buying a(nother) mill! Our mill mentors and dear friends at Abundant Earth Fiber, Lydia and Alan Christiansen, are entrusting us with the legacy of superior yarn services they've provided the region over the last 10 years.
When we first thought about starting a carding mill by purchasing Rosie in January 2022, one of our first calls was to Lydia. To start a mill in this area and NOT get her two cents would be folly; Lydia built her mill from the ground up, with hard-won lessons and wisdom along the way. From the very beginning, she and Alan have been stalwart mentors and supporters. They are the dearest friends, and trusted business partners.
Lydia, Anna, and Jess in August 2022
We've always felt that spinning our own yarn would be in our mill's future; it's something we both have years of experience in, from the actual spinning of it (Anna) to extensive knowledge of the yarn and design industry (Jess). As soon as we told people we were opening our carding mill in 2022, the first question was always 'will you be making yarn?!' It's what people understand, and what they think of when it comes to wool.
While we've cut our teeth over the past 2 years by producing innovative wool products, it's a tough road for sure. The amount of education required to get average non-fiber folks to see the value in wool products takes a huge amount of effort, one that is hard for a two-woman operation. But yarn is something that both consumers want, and farmers want to have made. It's a known quantity, and it's an obvious opportunity for growth. While we continue to diversify the wool products we offer, additionally producing yarn is a huge step for us.
Our most recent batch of local yarn - Thistledown Shetland; dyed and blended at Skagit Woolen, and spun at Abundant Earth
When Lydia and Alan discussed leaving the region, we were immediately heart-broken - saying goodbye to dear friends is never easy. And when they then offered us their equipment...we were stunned but immediately knew it was the right path for us.
We've spent the last couple of months getting our plans sorted out, mapping out the big move (end of February) and training on the equipment. It's all a lot to manage in a quick time frame but we're up to the challenge and so honored to be entrusted with what Lydia and Alan have built. Their impact on the region, and their support of small farms and fellow mills will be felt for many years to come. We hope to grow and carry on that tradition of excellent product, focusing on serving our local fiber producers as best we can.
Stay tuned for more information on when we start accepting new projects, and our own yarns produced - now in-house! Sign up for our mill services newsletter here.