Our speaker at the February 18 meeting was Chris Armbrust, of Dakota Fiber Mill. On her farm near Kindred, Chris employs second-hand machines to clean, card and spin animal fibers.
She told us how she got into this business, and of future plans to expand into making felt. She brought plenty of samples, which everyone wanted to touch. Some of the fibers she processes are yak, bison, alpaca, lama and sheep. Oh, let’s not forget camel. . .one named Abraham lives on her farm. Chris says he will stand still for 20 minutes while she combs out the soft undercoat.
The sheep, goats and camelids (lama, alpaca) are shorn to harvest their fiber. Chris’s goats are angoras, and their fiber is known as mohair. Angora fiber comes from long-haired Angora rabbits. Like the camel, rabbits are combed, not shorn.
Chris says that school groups come to the farm for tours, and she enjoys showing off her animals. She also brings a few to the annual Fiber Arts Festival in south Fargo, scheduled for August 12, 2017.
Chris’s talk was engaging and educational, even though her computer had technical difficulties, and she wasn’t able to share her Powerpoint presentation. Unfortunately for you if you own a fleece or a fiber animal, Dakota Fiber Mill won’t be able to process it for you–they are not taking any new clients at the moment, and are behind on orders for existing customers. Demand is high for this service, and DFM is the only mill in North or South Dakota.
The crowd was eager to stroke, and purchase, fibers and yarns. Below, some fiber sources.