Wool Gathering

Wool Gathering

This past weekend, my husband and I went to pick up 200# of wool and took it to the processing plant. This is the wool that I will be using to build a yurt this summer. It was really exciting to get started on this project.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWe got up early on Saturday morning and drove to Florence, MT which is about 3 hours from our house. We arrived and the little white trailer is where the wool we were buying was stored. We loaded it on to our trailer and strapped it all down.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere are a few of the sheep that were on Suzanne’s farm.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMost of the wool is this dark color. This is either a Targee or Black Welsh breed of sheep.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe dogs wanted to get in on the act, so here is Suzanne trying to calm them down a bit.


All of the bags of wool were labeled with the sheep name for the fleece. This is Sophie and there was also Elmo and Ernie and a few others I have forgotten.


Here’s some of the darker wool. I got a mix of Targee, Black Welsh, Romney and BFL.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThen we took off for Hall, MT. We had to make a stop for a cargo net to go over the tarp as we were afraid all the wool was going to blow away. Once it was strapped down more tightly, we were back on the road to Hall. After another one and half hours of driving we arrived at Sugar Loaf Wool Mill.


Here I am helping to unload the wool from the trailer. It was cold and windy.


Once we got inside, Ed weighed all the bags of wool. We had 206#.


Here’s Sue and her assistant adding up the wool amounts.


Here is the carder and it is really huge. Ed was really nice and turned on the carder to make a batt that will be similar to the ones I will be getting back. The videos below show the carder at work. I wasn’t able to edit the videos because I need a better editing program but I think they are worth watching if you haven’t seen a big carder running before. The videos are fairly short and the last one shows Ed cutting the batt off the carder.


This is a rolling felting machine that Ed built himself. I need one of these πŸ™‚

15 thoughts on “Wool Gathering

  1. I think the videos were quite good. I have seen videos of this process before, but they were not that informative. I noticed how thick that batting is. I can’t imagine working with anything that thick, but this will be interesting to watch your progress. Wool is such a wonderful fiber.

    1. Thanks Judy. I had about decided that I would need to have double that thickness so it will be really thick. But for walls and things like rugs, you have to start really thick to get the full thickness you need as the end result. And yes, I agree, wool is wonderful πŸ™‚

  2. You look frozen Ruth, but how exciting. Those carders are amazing as is that felting machine.

    You are going to have great fun this summer. Can we all bring a tent and lend a hand? πŸ˜‰

    1. It was definitely cold. I would love for everyone to come and help with the yurt. Wouldn’t that be great fun? Bring your tent, everyone’s invited.

    1. Paula – I’ll be felting the yurt all summer at my home in Kalispell, Montana. I’m not sure how long it will take, but if you’re in the area, you are welcome to stop by and give a hand. We’ll be starting the process in early June and I hope to be done before the snow flies πŸ™‚

  3. Oh now thats a big bigger than my drum carder Ruth lol That batt looks so comfy it would have been so good to curl up in it πŸ™‚ I”m really looking forward to seeing your progress on the yurt, in fact i cant wait till you start. Is 206lb enough wool for the whole thing or will you need more ?? πŸ™‚

    1. I know, the carder was huge. I’m really getting excited about the yurt building. I have to sit down and do some figuring though on how big the panels need to be etc. I did some preliminary calculations and thought it would be enough wool but I’m not sure. Hopefully, it will be plenty but I’ll find out soon enough.

  4. After being in that cold outside, I’d have took that batt home and made myself a nice quilt for the bed! You’re going to have so much fun making the yurt, Ruth! How many weeks of summer do you usually get?

    1. That is the main thing they sell there is quilted mattress pads. So it would certainly make a cozy quilt. It was fun just getting the wool and seeing the mill. The yurt building should be amazing. Summer (where it is really warm) is mainly just July and August. June can be really nice or really cold and rainy. September is usually fairly warm but again, it can get cold early. Our growing season is about 90 days.

  5. Wow, Ruth I wish I was closer. It would be such fun (and work) to help out with the yurt. It’s great that you can get your wool done so quickly. I hear of people waiting up to a year to get wool back. Big carders are so cool. I want a rolling machine to but I want one of the ones that is a big tube and the felt rolls around inside it. I am looking for a big tube cheap. No luck so far but I know it will turn up.

    1. It would be fun for everyone to visit and help with the yurt. I’m sure I’m going to need all the help I can get.

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