We're gearing up for another great summer here at the mill with tours, exciting new projects, and events.
Starting in May and continuing through to the end of September, we will once again be offering guided tours every Friday at 2pm and on the last saturday of the month at 2pm. You can make coming out to the mill for a tour a great day trip from Calgary by catching lunch at Pasu Farms or packing a picnic to enjoy at the local pond, Midway Centennial Park. The last Saturday dates for 2016 are May 28th, June 25th, July 30th, August 27th, and September 24th. Guided tours tend to be very busy, so we ask that you contact us to RSVP and ensure a spot. This year we are offering the tours as "pay what you choose" with the proceeds going toward a new project we are very excited about- our natural dye garden!
After years of dreaming and scheming, we are pleased to be breaking ground for a small garden plot and greenhouse of annual natural dye plants. It is our longterm goal to be able to offer a larger line of naturally dyed yarns and woolen goods, but there are lots of things to learn before that will be possible. You may recall that in 2014 we got started with a perennial Food Forest and Dye Garden, but this new garden project will serve as a test site from which to learn about annual dye-plants; what we can grow in our area, what colour combinations we can achieve from them, and how they can be developed into a product line that is both beautiful and economical - natural dyes are a lot more work than the standard acid dyes used to dye wool. If you come out to the mill this summer, you'll be able to see our progress right next to the wool shop!
We have also been scheming for quite some time to have a fibre artist residency out here at the mill. It has always struck us as a fun and engaging way to promote community and support the fibre arts, involving interactive workshops and events with the artist. This year, we will be honoured to host artist Megan Samms at the end of September for a trial run of the residency! We couldn't be more excited as Megan has a keen interest and history in working with wool and natural dyes - a perfect fit to compliment this year's dye-garden project. Stay tuned for details as this develops further.
During the spring and summer, Custom Woolen Mills also participates in a few local events. The first ones on the summer 2016 schedule are fibre arts specific: the Hand Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers of Alberta annual conference, May 6 through 8th in Red Deer, Alberta, and the Olds College Fibre Week, June 17 through 23 in Olds, Alberta. We'll be at both events with an arrangement of the base products you need for spinning, weaving, dyeing, felting, and knitting, such as Breed Specific Roping and our natural white and grey Mule Spinner Yarns. If you'll be attending one of these event and know you'll be needing something from us, place an order ahead of time - we'll be happy to deliver to you at the event!
You'll also find us at Carstairs' annual Beef and Barley Days where we'll be doing felting crafts for kids at the Carstairs Museum. Its a fun, family-friendly addition to the town's festivities!