Our New Fiber Mill

Why hello there. Hi. Howdy. 

So some super crazy big things have been happening over here and it’s kind of all a bit surreal. 

As of last week, we – Ellen and Savannah – officially added: “Woman Owned” & “Business Owner” to our eclectic collection of job titles.

Oh and this whole entire building.

The whole thing. Floor to ceiling. All of it.

If you’re thinking, “Hold the phone now, what in tarnation is going on here?” That’s honestly kinda how we feel too. The thing we’ve been planning out for months and months is real now. Real enough that we wanted to share this excitement with a larger group! 

Please join me in saying hello to the Twisted Sunset Sisters Fiber Mill, now Owned & Operated by us: Ellen Hartstack and Savannah Scheufler – best friends since kindergarten (aka honorary “sisters” with bonus moms).

(Also the sun is SUPER bright!)

Our small-time fiber mill will take in raw fiber, wool, mohair, angora, etc. from various small farms, and transform it into a myriad of different products: from spinnable roving for our handspinners and felters, to wonderfully soft yarn for our knitters and crocheters.

Our hearts right now

Ellen’s been researching fiber mills for the last few years, looking for an extension for her small alpaca farm that she and her partner Ben operate: Sunset Creek Farm. One day, late last fall, she jokingly mentioned to her best friend Savannah, that in an alternate world, it’d be amazing to take this fiber community we both love and turn it into a profitable business. 

And hilariously, Savannah responded with: ”Sure, let’s do it!” 

Turns out Savannah was in search of a future business adventure for when her daughter starts up preschool, and was already considering starting her own fiber/yarn dyeing business. 

Ellen’s fiber arts/weaving skills and Savnnah’s dyeing yarn/fiber passion = a match made in heaven.

Last Friday, May 6th, that dream became more real with us closing on a currently-empty building located at 1118 W 3rd Street in Perry, IA. This amazing 3400 sq. ft. building is composed of two areas which will house this business. 

The first area is a large, 2400 sq. ft. open cement-floor room, which will eventually house the machines arriving late September from Belfast Mini Mills! 

Much smiles to be had

The second is an 800 sq. ft. shop at the front, which will initially serve as our office and storage, and later as a small storefront and studio for classes and gatherings.

It will take twelve different machines to transform raw unwashed fiber into dyed yarn with many different stages along the way. Our small, yet powerful, machines will allow us to establish customized settings for each fleece we process in order to get the best made products based on the individual characteristics of the fiber. This customization will allow small time farmers, like myself, to enhance the overall value and usefulness of their fiber flocks beyond the raw product.

We’re planning a round-robin approach for our processing. The raw fiber will start in the bottom left corner of the diagram below, at either the washer or the tumbler, and will slowly make its way through each of the machines counter-clockwise around the room.

Our Mill Layout

The products we will be able to produce will appeal to a variety of different fiber arts groups, including:

  • Handspinners & Felters: bumps, batts & roving,
  • Weavers: rug yarn & coned yarn
  • Knitters & Crocheters: 2- or 3-ply yarn of varying weights (thickness) from lace to super bulky

We’ll be offering a number of additional add-on options too, including both dyed fiber/yarn and handwoven goods. Check our our photo gallery for more examples: Photo Gallery

We’ll both start working the mill part-time starting this fall after the equipment arrives, and will begin accepting orders late fall/early winter 2022! In the meantime we’ll be setting up shop, getting the building all ready to go, and excitedly jumping up & down. We cannot wait to become more involved and active within the amazing Perry, IA Fiber Arts Community!

Be sure to check us out on Facebook and give our page a like at Twisted Sunset Sisters