Mill Tour

 

 

Our wool is produced on machines dating back to 1886. Custom Woolen Mills started in 1975 as a small family business and, now in its second generation, has grown from producing 40,000 lb/year to 100,000 lb/year. 

 

Check out the Calgary ShawTV Farm Fresh Tour of Custom Woolen Mills.

 

Visit us in person

 

We also invite you to come and visit us, look around our mill, and shop in our countryside showroom. Please note: we ARE NOT located in the town of Carstairs but rather about 25 minutes east - if you use our map for directions, you will travel on pavement most of the way.

We are open for small, self-guided tours from 9:00am-3:00pm Monday through Friday (closed on holidays).

During the months of May through September, we offer guided tours every Friday at 2pm and on the last Saturday of the month at 2pm. These tours are offered as pay-what-you-choose with the 2016 proceeds going toward the establishment of our natural dye garden. Please RSVP to reserve a spot as space is limited. 

The 2016 Last Saturday dates are:

May 28th

June 25th  **Evening Event: Slow Food meets Slow Fibre at Custom Woolen Mills - 2016 Secret Farm Picnic**

July 30th

August 27th

September 24th  **Special Event: Natural Dyeing Demonstration by artist Megan Samms, 1pm**

 

Or, start our online tour here...

 

The origins of Custom Woolen Mills

 

Custom Woolen Mills is the amalgamation of two small mills; one from Magrath, Alberta and one from Sifton, Manitoba.

Our machinery from Magrath, Alberta started out as the Golden Fleece Mill, which ran from 1939 to 1956. The mill manager, John Moors bought the machinery when Golden Fleece closed and started running it under the name Wool Carding and Spinning. Moors had been in the industry since he was 12 years old when he was hired as a bobbin boy for T. Eaton Co. in Ontario, changing filled bobbins for emply bobbins on the spinning mules. He was 74 when we bought the machinery from him in 1975.

Golden Fleece Woollen Mills wool batting label.

Photos courtesy of The Lethbridge Herald. Above: Wool Carding and Spinning in Magrath, Alberta. Middle: John Moors and Fen Roessingh in Magrath, Alberta. Below: John Moors running the spinning mule prior to its relocation to Carstairs, Alberta. 

 

The other half of our machinery came from Custom Woolen Mills of Sifton, Manitoba. John Weselowski and Willard McPhedrain started the mill together in 1937 under the name Spin-Well Woollen Mill; Weselowski was the technical man behind the business and McPhedrain the finance guy. They had a falling out and McPhedrain moved away with the Mary Maxime name and Weselowski started over with Custom Woolen Mills. We bought the machinery from Anna Weselowski, John's widow, and moved it to Alberta. In 1975, Custom Woolen Mills Ltd Wool Carding and Spinning was born, though we use the moniker Custom Woolen Mills Ltd for short. 

An ad for Custom Woollen Mills, Sifton, Manitoba. 

 

Now go step by step through woolen processing, from raw fleece to finished product:

 

Washing

Dyeing

Carding

Spinning

Knitting

Sewing