A Zero-Waste Wool Mill!

As The Wool Turns......

Did I really just say that?  

So let's go back to the pre-historic days of life BC.  Before computers.  Our social media back then consisted of monthly publications, like magazines as well as the library for sources, ads in the local newspaper and classified only papers as well as word-of-mouth.  If you were lucky enough to know someone who belonged to a spinning group, you might get invited to that, or not.  I remember awkwardly attending one gathering under the assumption that I would be offering my raw fleeces for sale to a bunch of strangers.  That's exactly what I did. I loaded up all of my fleeces and  I offered them.  I had no takers.  The ladies just sat stoically holding their purses tight if not spinning.  That's a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift.  Awkward. 

I remember thinking about putting an ad in the back of a magazine in their classified section and realizing at the time that even that was too expensive for the risk.  

I went the route of washing some of my own wool and I didn't really enjoy the process like some people do.  I found a mill in Washington to process my wool.  I was SO excited.  I sent it off and it came back smelling like pesticide!  I vowed to never do that again. 

And then there was the internet!  I started selling on ebay as soon as I got dial-up.  Anyone remember those days?  It took FOR.EVER, if you could get online at all.  And just try loading pictures.  We've come a long way in that area very quickly, thank goodness.  One of my customers told me about these groups you could join and chat via email.  No, nothing instant about it, but it did finally connect me with the people who could appreciate my wool.  I was able to sell fleeces on those groups as well as listing them on ebay.   I have forgotten the original name of the listserve it was, but I was in several groups.  The companies were eventually bought out, changed names a couple of times and now it's yahoogroups.  I still belong to some of them and run a couple of my own.  One in particular, which was very memorable, was called SheepThrills!  We talked about anything in that group.  You would log on, typically once a day so your home phone line wasn't tied up all day, and receive the emails either in chronological order or in a group of 10 or 12 sent in one email as a digest.  This opened a lot of doors for me.  I was friends with a woman whose husband sold their wool through the wool pool.  She told me the way I did it was too much work. For her maybe, but the wool pool didn't fit the bill for me and my wool.  I met some very cool people selling them my raw fleeces.  I also learned that "clean wool" is a relative term.  Everyone has an opinion, but for crying out loud people, they are sheep and they do live outside and poop and pee where they live and eat.  That's the reality of if.  

At this point in time I was using various mills around the country, trying them out to see which one I liked the best.  I was not only selling raw wool, but I was able to sell my roving online as well.  I would ship the wool off, they would ship it back and then I would ship it off to the customer.  That's a lot of fossil fuel, time and expense.  I loved it when the customer bought it and had me send it straight to the mill for them.  And then, to my good fortune, a mill opened up just 8 miles from my house.  I really didn't care what the prices were, I no longer had all of that shipping expense to pay.  I could drive it over and drop it off and that was worth a lot to me.  

Things are so different now with high-speed internet, instant access and so many selling groups online.  Anything and everything you need or want is literally at your fingertips.  There is already a generation who never knew anything else.  

This blogging thing is nothing new for me either.  I've had a blog for many, many years.  Writing is something I have always enjoyed.  I blogged before blogging was the thing to do.  I hopped on face book fairly early on and my kids laughed at both.  I guess I am just a social person and like to connect.  



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published