Skagit Woolen Works
Skagit Woolen Works is a woman-owned, zero-waste wool processing mill serving fiber farms & fiber lovers throughout the Skagit Valley and beyond. The Mount Vernon, WA mill is owned and operated by Anna Hosick-Kalahan, a life-long fiber arts enthusiast, and Jessica Schwab, a technical editor in the knitting industry. In an effort to be zero-waste, 100% of the wool that they process can be made into value-added products, keeping this valuable natural resource out of the waste stream. From dryer balls to stuffing, felt, wool pellets and more, nothing is wasted!
Together, Anna and Jessica purchased a 1922 Davis & Furber industrial carder in 2022 (now lovingly named ‘Rosie’) and have been growing their business ever since. Rosie is definitely the heart of the mill, uniting the love of craft and desire to revitalize local fiber processing with forward-thinking business practices. You can see Rosie’s exciting journey from Ferndale to Mount Vernon HERE.
We recently asked Jess what her favorite type of wool was to work with. “My favorite type of wool is anything locally grown! We have a huge variety of sheep breeds in the Puget Sound area and they all have different and wonderful properties.”
What happens when you bring your fleece to the mill?
Some of the processing steps include washing your fleece, rinsing, and drying it, in order to prepare it for picking and carding. Jess and Anna note that Camelids tend to be very dusty/dirty, but not greasy, and generally require only 2 washes. Medium to coarse sheep or goat fleeces that are reasonably clean and not too greasy will be washed three times with a biodegradable, scouring-specific industry soap that works very well to clean fibers without damaging them. Fleeces that are finer, or greasier, will generally require a fourth wash. They will rinse the fleece twice, once with a shot of plain white vinegar to cut any soap residue and lingering odors, and once more with plain water. They will then evaluate each batch of fleece as they go; if it’s clear that more extensive scouring is required they will consult with the customer about the fleece needs and potential extra cost involved.
Offering wool pellets and more
Jess and Anna say they are both passionate about working with wool and other fibers, and it’s their goal to do the best job they can with your fleeces to give you back a product that they’re proud of, and that you will love. They offer retail and wholesale processing services. In addition, their online store offers roving, yarn, dryer balls, wool pellets and much more.
What exactly are wool pellets? We’re so glad you asked! Wool pellets are 100% raw sheep wool sourced from local farms, and made at the mill with a machine called a pelletizer. They are a biodegradable and climate beneficial addition to your garden beds and pots. As the pellets break down, they naturally add nitrogen & carbon to the soil. Pellets help to aerate and increase water retention of the soil, requiring less watering. They also work as a slug and pest-resistant barrier when applied as mulch. Skagit Woolen Works offers the pellets in 1 lb. 2 lb., and 5 pound bags. Bulk orders are also available upon e-mail inquiry.
What’s your favorite #SkagitGrown product?
We recently asked Jess what her (and Anna’s) favorite Skagit grown product is: “Anna’s favorite Skagit Valley grown product is La Bertha Cheese from Harmony Fields, and my favorite are all of the berries!” said Jess.
Education is an important aspect of Skagit Woolen Works and Anna and Jess are proud to participate in local Skagit Valley events to talk with local customers about what they offer. They also offer local classes as time allows throughout the year. Upcoming events include the Farmer’s Market at the Skagit Farm to Pint FEST at the Port of Skagit Marina in La Conner on September 30, The Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum’s International Quilt Show October 6-8; and The Creative Ave Holiday Market, The Depot in Anacortes, November 4-5.
We’re grateful for the unwavering support that Anna and Jess at Skagit Woolen Works have given us. We’re thrilled to feature them as this week’s #GSVMemberMonday Feature. Thank you for supporting the Genuine Skagit Valley program, Skagit Woolen Works!