Central Virginia Fiber Mill!

March 27, 2009 at 12:02 pm 7 comments

coopOne big hassle for fiber farmers and businesses like mine in Virginia has been access to commercial fiber processing for small batches.  If you want to keep each fleece separate, or try a new blend, or have less than 50 pounds of identical yarn millspun, the only option was to box up the fiber and ship it out of state, waiting months and months for finished product and relying on phone calls and written order forms to communicate what you want the mill to do.

So, I was excited to read recently on ravelry.com that there is now a new fiber mill in Virginia that is both willing to accept small jobs, offers a full range of services, and can handle ‘luxury’ fibers and custom blending.  I’m talking about the Central Virginia Fiber Mill www.centralvirginiafibermill.com in Ruckersville, just north of Charlottesville, run by Mary and Mark Kearney, who also raise alpacas.  This Wednesday I had a reason to visit Charlottesville and would be passing within 5 miles of this new mill.  I also had a nice little pile of freshly shorn fleece from Forevermore Farm — so of course a visit was in order!  Here’s the virtual tour:

cvfmpicker1Raw fleece is first sorted through for quality, and then washed in 160 degree water to remove any lanolin or other animal oils, and thoroughly air dried.  Next, it goes through the picker, shown left, which separates the locks and any matts into a nice fluffy cloud.

This cloud is then sent through the carder.  The particular machine Mary is demonstrating in this picture can create either roving or batts.  The batts can further be wet felted into felt fabric by the mill.  Roving can be sold as is for handspinners or processed into yarn. 

cvfmrovingmachine cvfmspinner Here is the spinner, which turns the roving into yarn. 

One side spins the singles, and the other side spins the opposite direction for plying.

 Here is a picture of a spool of alpaca singles spun at the mill:

cvfmyarn1

The spools of finished yarn can then be wound into skeins on this machine, which will wind multiple skeins at a time, in whatever yardage you specify (I’d love to have a machine like that — the old niddy-noddy is wearing out my elbow!).

cvfmskeiner So there you have it — raw fleece in the door, finished yarn, roving, batting or felt back to you.  I left some fleeces for custom blending, and am eagerly awaiting the results!  Unlike the out-of-state mills I contacted, Central Virginia Fiber Mill will be able to get the job done in time for the Sedalia Festival on May 16th.

In conclusion, no trip to the Kearney homestead would be complete without a few pictures of their lovely alpacas:

cvfmalpacascvfmalpacatrio

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Entry filed under: HANDSPINNING, OTHER FIBER FUN.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dana  |  March 27, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Thank you for the tour; it was awesome! The mill looks wonderful and the sweet alpacas – – so cute. Can’t wait to see the finished product in May. 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. Leslie  |  March 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    The mill looks wonderful and interesting…looking forward to my own visit next week!

    Reply
  • 3. mindy  |  March 27, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Glad you got to get by- I’ll work Tuesday night and get to see what you dropped off.

    Reply
  • 4. Alpaca Farmgirl  |  March 27, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Super post! It seems we’re all on a focus on fiber nuts and bolts this week. Perfect! Thanks so much for sharing this with Fiber Arts Friday readers. I’ve never seen these big machines before. wow.

    Reply
  • 5. Sandra  |  March 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Congratulations and how exciting to have a mill in Virginia! I wish you many years of great success. I was the third shepherd in VA to carry the VA Finest designation; it will be wonderful to offer an all VA produced product.

    Reply
  • 6. Diana  |  March 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Wow, that sounds like a fantastic find! I would love to visit a small mill like that one. Thanks for the info and the great pics !

    Reply
  • 7. Alpaca Farm Girl » Fiber Arts Friday  |  April 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    […] Wild Hare Fiber Studio8. Dutch Hollow Acres9. Melissa Barton10. Teresa Levite Studio11. starsaponthars/Denise 12. […]

    Reply

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