Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Janis and Marge

The social knitting groups from Y2Knit got together and went on a field trip Monday. We piled into cars and vans and headed south to Virginia. Janis and Marge rode with Doug and I in the Outback and we knitted and talked the whole way to Staunton, Virginia.

Our driver: my husband Doug (the only male in the entire group)

First stop: Chester Farms, home of Cestari Yarns. Mr. Chester (below) took half the group on a wagon tour of the farm while the other half toured the mill. Only a part of the operation is at this location. Most of the sheep are on another nearby farm. He talked about his sheep, Merino and Columbia, and it was clear that he really loves raising the sheep and improving the bloodlines and the wool. He was very enthusiastic about the whole process.

We got to meet Reggie, a partially shorn cat (matted hair removed) and some of the rams.

The whole yarn making process was fascinating. The machines used are all from a mill in Maine and were made in the 1940's. I saw a date of 1947 on one of them.

They send the wool to Pennsylvania to be dyed and it comes back in 700lb. bales.

They spread them out and feed them into a machine that mixes and fluffs them. Then they go into a huge machine that cards and combs to wool. It comes out the other end a pencil roving on long rolls.

The rolls are then taken to another machine that spins the roving onto spindles. The spindles are taken to another machine that plies them onto other spindles. Those spindles are taken to another machine that winds them onto really big spindles. The big spindles go to the last machine that winds them into center-pull skeins. I think. I could be wrong about any of those steps.

I took lots of video of the machine running. I hope to upload it to YouTube soon. Stay tuned for more later...


malegra said...

Wow, that's so cool. I'm glad you posted the pics. I would love to have gone, but wasn't available on that day. Which, I haven't even made it to Social Knitting because darned if there isn't something going on nearly every time it rolls around. Guess that's what I get for having four homeschooled girls :-)

Anyway, thanks for sharing - looks like it was a fun and educational day!

Margaret said...

Drat, I was working at the LYS on Monday or I would have come on over to the Valley to meet you all. The tour sounds really great!