Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Working Museum

Carstairs Custom Woolen Mill

The carding, batting and spinning machines from an upstairs look-out.
 E and I visited the Custom Woolen Mill near Carstairs.

The Museum calls itself a "working museum" -- and that is exactly what it is. As a side note, Dan, I think you would love this place.
Making yarn

The Mill receives wool from all over Alberta, washes it, cards it, and makes it into woolen batts or yarn. They also sew wool duvets with a one-of-a-kind long-armed sewing machine unit and knit socks on giant machines.

 The machines are largely all built in the 1800s and the whole operation has the feel of a Victorian era Industrial Revolution textiles operation.
The carding and batt-making machine up close.
The Mill has a millwright and a metal lathe on hand to fix or rebuild gears and sprockets to fix the machines.
The carding/batting machine up close.
The business is so busy they have two years' supply of unprocessed wool waiting in storage sheds.
The sprocket system the quilt design runs on.
The head of the sewing machine.
In addition to making socks, quilts, yarn, felt and batting, they also make wool insulation, which, I'm told, is used often for insulating log cabins.
Quilting a quilt.

It was free to tour; the staff were knowledgeable, friendly and wanted to share about their work; it was a very cool place to visit. Now, if only I could finish my quilt so I could take it here to be bound with warm and long-lasting Alberta wool batting!

1 comment:

Middle Earth Garden said...

What a fascinating place! The concept of a working museum is a great idea. I'll have to put this on my list of historical sites to see, along with the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions and many others.