Sunday, May 28, 2017

Faribault Woolen Mill tour

This spring, Harriet and I spent a day with my aunt Sylvia and we went to the Faribault Woolen Mill. I have wanted to visit for a long time and since we went on a Friday afternoon, we basically had a private tour. The mill was founded in 1865 and has been running almost continuously since then and has always been family owned.

It takes 11 days to make the wool blankets and 22 processes (hence the reason why the blankets are not cheap. Here is a baler to begin the wool processing. They buy wool from southern states in 800lb orders.

After this it goes upstairs for dying (a step we didn't see) and then the wool is carded.

Next it is spun onto these giant spools.

Then put onto smaller spools.

So much yarn.

Then they string the yarn through the looms, which can take days, and the fabric is made.

Military grey. I was surprised to learn that they make all the Army blankets and all the blankets that are given to West Point Cadets.

Matchy matchy.
 Samples. There are some other steps in there that I didn't document because they weren't very visually interesting, but there is a lot of washing, inspecting and sewing the edges. We learned that they now are making summer cotton blankets too, but they import the cotton yarn.

Made in America. I was fascinated by the whole tour, although I think it got a bit long for Harriet.

After the tour we went out for some cupcakes in town and then headed over to the River Bend Nature Center.

We looked for the early native flowers and walked along the trails by the river.

Harriet was thoroughly entertained by this stick the whole time.

Teepee hideout. 

We really enjoyed the day we spent with Sylvia. There is still more we want to go back to explore, like a few of the state parks in the area. So we'll be back for another visit soon.

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