Monday, August 10, 2009

Visiting a pioneer woollen mill

Every so often I get a hankering to visit a pioneer village. This one - Upper Canada Village just south of Ottawa, Ontario - has a wool mill, as announced by the pile of unprocessed wool just as you enter the building:

It's washed in a series of three basins to clear out some of the dirt and hay bits. This is the first soak:

Then it goes upstairs. When you go up, you may be given a small piece of pencil roving to keep, and if you are me, you will keep it in your pocket to bring out and hold onto for the next few days. It's amazingly comforting to the touch.

Because the process pioneers used to dye wool was toxic, the wool is sent out for dyeing.

Then the spinning begins:

I kinda missed my chance to ask questions but I think this step, in the same space on the floor immediately below, may be related to the process.

You can see how some of the finished yarn is woven:

Downstairs, there are more finished yarns ready to be put to work.

A lot of the yarn goes into weaving these blankets. There is a matching trio of stripes on the other end of the piece.

Gorgeous, yes? And worth every penny of the $300 Canadian that they cost in the gift shop - but I resisted, because my visit was in August. Heaven help me if I go back in January!