Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finger Lakes Mini-Vacation- Part 3

48-inch precarding picker with large, jagged teeth...ominous-looking, isn't it?!?



60-inch carding machine with a plethora of rollers.



Tape condenser...pencil roving is the endpoint of this interesting machine.



Spinning mule...used to fill bobbins with yarn.



Being the curious little fiber artist that I am...

I was thrilled when I was able to arrange a visit to the Fingerlakes Woolen Mill in Genoa, NY.

Our hosts, Jay and Suzanne could NOT have been more generous with their time...

...or more informative!

Jay took two whole hours out of his (very) busy life to take us through their mill, machine by machine...

...answering my (many) gearhead questions and explaining the function and history of each piece of equipment.

It's amazing how many steps and processes are needed to turn raw fleece into pencil roving...

...and then later into plied yarn in evenly weighted skeins.

Believe me, it is a LOT more time-consuming and intense a process than you might imagine...

...and one that requires total concentration on the part of the mill operator.

Jay and Suzannes's machines date from 1925-1946...

...and many were later modified to use electricity.

Rather like a working museum...

...the mill uses and preserves this unique collection of antique, yet fully functional machines...

...with Jay and his wife serving as 'caretakers for future generations'.

And as if running a mill wasn't enough of a job by itself...

...they also raise rare Hog Island sheep, chickens, and were tapping Maple trees for sap while we were visiting, as well!!

The Fingerlakes Woolen Mill has wonderful processed fiber and yarn for sale...

...both from their own special breed of sheep, and from other fleece sources.

Look for them at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this May...

...or this Fall in Rhinebeck!

******************************************
P.S. For those of you who know me well...

...and know how very much I LOVE the color orange...

...check out this wonderful article about ORANGE SHEEP in Devon!!!

17 comments:

Kelly said...

Wow! I'm impressed! I love the fact that they are using the original machines. It just proves that newer is not always better! Love the rusted looking sheep! Haaaahaaaa, imagine someone not knowing the reason...I think they would be awfully confused..lol

FeltersJourney said...

My goodness Heather that picker looks like it belongs in a medieval torture chamber!
What a fascinating visit that must of been, especially with the age of the machinery.. wonderful!

Let you know if I spot any of those orange sheep on my travels this year lol
xx

Heather Woollove said...

Kelly--It's so great when old things continue to be useful (I'm hoping that will be true about ME!)
Giggle.
Deborah--That 'teeth' photo is my absolute favorite! Yes--please take photos if you see any of those orange sheep!!! :)

Angela said...

It sounds fascinating Heather and I agree with FeltersJourney about the teeth.

vilterietje said...

wonderful adventure, makes me feel like goingto see the mill, but it's a bit too far away from us.
love the orange sheep, how stupid they keep standing together:)

Heather Woollove said...

Angela--I took quite a few photographs of the 'teeth' machine so that I could use the one that looked most like 'the jaws of death' in my post!! :)
Riet--Some day when you come to visit me, we will take a trip there together!

Dawn Edwards said...

Wow! What a cool post. Obviously no moss growing on Jay or Suzanne... Amazing mill and obviously an enormous amount of work. Really fascinating...Thanks for sharing your fantastic photos.

Hey, I love the orange sheep...Are you allowed to have sheep in the city? I think one of them definitely has your name on it;-)

Big hugs,
Dawn

vilterietje said...

hi heather! i would love to visit you sometime, but before i start saving for the trip, i need to know where i have to travel to. first i thought yoy were australian, than i thought: english! and at this moment i think you live in the us of a. but where:)

Heather Woollove said...

Dawn--What if I get an orange sheep and 'board' it at your house?
I know that Yogi would love to herd it around your backyard! :)
Riet--Glad I'm so 'mysterious'! Giggle. I live outside of Philadelphia in the US.
Yes...please start saving for that trip!!! XXO-

Michelle said...

Gosh! That's looks like such a fantastic trip. Lucky you. Now we need you to write it all up and we can be as informed! Might have to look for somewhere similar in the UK and then I can go and see up close. Fasinating, thanks for sharing!

Sandie Knapp said...

I've always had a fascination for machinery that start with one thing, and when it's done, it's something totally different. I would be completely lost in wonder at such a marvelous place. I'm so happy for you that you were able to see it and learn so much. :)

Heather Woollove said...

Sandie--You would have LOVED it there!

Valerie said...

Heather, what a fantastic trip! I love any sort of mill, machinery, factory... and then combining that with wool-what a treat! I loved seeing all the photos of your trip. Glad you could enjoy some R+R :o)
Hugs, Val

Valerie said...

PS. I love the color orange, too, and would happily go in with you to purchase wool off those orange sheep's backs :o)
x, Val

Heather Woollove said...

Val--That idea makes me happy! XXO-

Bachar Farms said...

Hi Heaather! Thanks for the post over at my blog! Such nice things to say to such a beginner "fiber artisit" ;) Pretty cool that you were so close to our farm. Stop in next time would love to have ya!
Where are you located?

Heather Woollove said...

Thanks for visiting, Sandy! You sure live in a beautiful part of the country! I live near Philadelphia.