Post Falls, Idaho
Fibers First opened in 2013 in Post Falls, Idaho. Equipment was sourced from all over the area and brought in on trucks into the building it is currently housed.
Karen is the brains, muscle, and wool expert behind Fibers First. She’s a passionate hand spinner and may spend all day at the mill and go home to spin on her wheel. Her husband, Lowell, joins her in the shop to help with day to day administration and almost singlehandedly washes all the fiber that comes through for processing. The part time staff are all women and some family members, running the 100 year old machines and make beautiful roving and yarn.
The great wheels of the carder, the front half dating back to 1911 and the back 1917. It works like a charm to take the washed fleece and turn it into lovely wool batts that fall into the barrels.
Wool going into the carder is sprayed with a softening spray to help it go through the giant drum wheels.
The wool as it comes off of the last barrels and falls into ladder. The ladder connects to a conveyor belt overhead. Off the belt it falls into the red barrels as one continuous batt.
The wool falling into the barrels. As each barrel fills, the wool is separated and a new barrel started. Each batch of wool gets its own unique numbering system in order to differentiate each wool order. This helps keep track of the specific wool.
After the wool is in the barrels it is ready for the next step. From here it can be pin drafted into roving for spinning or go through the pin drafter numerous times to be ready to spin into yarn.
The wool is brought up from the barrels and draped over the top in order to bring two to three barrels together to enter the pin drafter. The pin drafter has little combs that move up and down to comb the wool and then swirl it into roving.
Roving goes through the pin drafter at least twice, sometimes more to get it ready to be spun into yarn. Yarn is spun by weight; worsted, dk/sport, and fingering. These may be two ply or three ply yarns.