Yes. You read that correctly. No, not my knitting journey, or even my yarn dying journey. It’s a journey I began with a local mill that has turned into a great partnership. Have you ever wanted to see the inside of a yarn mill? Well, continue reading please.
I was sitting at my local car dealership while having some work done on my car and as always, I was knitting. I almost always have a project with me for long wait times, as most knitters and crocheters I know; I’ve even been known to take a knitting project into a restaurant! Anyway the project I was working on was a shawl that I had gone through almost all of the fiber steps to work on, short of shearing the sheep, cleaning the fleece, and pin-drafting the fiber into roving. I had dyed this fiber (merino and bluefaced leicester for those who are curious), ran it through my carding drum to add silk and some blue sparkle, spun it on my wheel, and was knitting it. It’s a project I’m still proud of. A lady was sitting near me, also waiting on her car, and was eying my handy work. She decided to spark a conversation.
She ooh’ed and awww’d, asked me where I had gotten my wool. I told her it was just some that I had purchased from Etsy, but I had dyed it myself and added the blue sparkle and silk to it. Here is an image of the finished shawl.
She was impressed. But then she said something that was going to change my yarn business…. She told me I should check out Northern Woolen Mills in Fosston, MN. I asked her where that was. Just over an hour away she said. Whoa, wait, what?? There was a mill just over an hour away from me and I hadn’t checked it out???! (Turns out there’s two!) I committed the name to memory to check out later that day, thanked her, and went to collect my car.
It took me a month to make contact with the mill. I’m not sure why, insecurity probably. Anyway I made arrangements with the owner to make a visit on my birthday. Yarn people, what a way to spend your birthday, right??! I even made sure to take some of my colors with me for the possibility of future business networking. Guess what? The owner’s name is Stephenie, as well! We hit it off immediately! It must be the name. 😉 She gave me a tour of the mill.
Some of her equipment at the mill even dates back to 1935!
Stephenie absolutely loved my colors and wanted me to dye some on her mill yarns. They were a hit!
So with what just started as a casual conversation at the car dealership has become an amazing networking opportunity. You just never know what opportunities will come your way or what come out of a mundane everyday conversation!
Check out Northern Wool Mills here on facebook.