Fiber mill: From fleece to yarn
September 21, 2012 by Chris Dunn
These photos, which were published in the May/June issue of Smart magazine (starting on pg. 28), are way overdue. Basically, back in March, I made some pictures in a fiber mill run by a husband and wife, plus the husband’s cousin. From cleaning and carding the fleeces to spinning the yarn, everything’s done via completely mechanical machinery.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. (Left to right) D.J. Wilt, Heather Sweitzer and Jason Sweitzer work to get the spinner machine set up to spin roving into yarn in their Springfield Township fiber mill on Saturday, March 3, 2012. Heather Sweitzer, who owns a yarn shop just outside of Seven Valleys, recently opened a fiber mill nearby with her husband Jason and Jason’s cousin D.J. Wilt. Heather Sweitzer said people from all over Pennsylvania have sent in different types of animals’ fiber to be spun into yarn, but they have also received orders from Oregon and Wisconsin. Working in the mill is still a part-time job for Jason Sweitzer and Wilt, but they said they hope to quit their day jobs and work full-time in the mill once business picks up. Heather Sweitzer hopes to one day use her entire storefront for yarn made in the mill, and keep the back rooms stocked with yarn made elsewhere.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. D.J. Wilt uses a hanging scale to measure out semi-raw alpaca fiber before loading it onto the carding machine in the Springfield Township fiber mill he owns with his cousin Jason Sweitzer and Jason’s wife Heather, on Saturday, March 3, 2012.
It was pretty neat. But after spending time with those machines, I could see why labor laws against children working in similar mills and factories were enacted in the early 1900s.
© 2012 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The storefront window of Heather Sweitzer’s Countryside Yarn Store in Springfield Township.