February 19, 2021
Meet the Founders
Peggy and Amanda
By: Peggy Allen & Amanda Kievet
Wool thrills me and I cannot tell you why. Raw wool, clean wool, wool yarn, wool sweaters, felted mittens. Love them all. I do know how my passion was ignited. At a summer festival held in Lincoln Park, Chicago, I waded through the crowds, vendors and demonstration and stumbled on Merle, a middle aged guy seated at a spinning wheel, gently pumping the foot pedal and performing magic with his hands. By his side was a pile of fluff that rose, disappeared between his fingers, and was transformed into a thin stream of wool that twisted and escaped into the orifice at the front of the wheel only to reappear and wrap itself around a spinning bobbin. Want, need, gotta have. That was it. The hook was set. Merle taught spinning and weaving classes at the local Parks and Rec nearby which I signed up for on the spot and in no time I bought myself an Ashford spinning wheel and began to drag my husband to farms in Wisconsin in search of raw fleece. I know I ruined the first four pounds of spun wool when I tried to dye it on the stove top and instead felted all the yarn into a brick. As career and kids took over my life, my passion for all things wool got pushed up on a mental shelf, collecting dusty but not forgotten. In 2012 I moved to Vermont with my husband Todd to start a sheep farm. Next up? A fiber mill, of course.
For me, starting a fiber mill is the culmination of a love of wool and an interest in starting a business making something tangible in my community. After a few formative years in New York City where I started my career as a web developer, I fled to the woods and leaned hard into Vermont life. I got very into the outdoors, spending my time away from the computer running local trails and hiking in the White and Green Mountains. Then I landed a job at a local merino wool outdoor clothing company where I became a wool convert and evangelist. Sadly, that company went out of business and I found myself in a career identity crisis. Remote computer work was less than fulfilling and I was also inspired by local entrepreneurs I saw making a real difference in our community. During this phase I reached out to Peggy at Savage Hart Farm from whom I had bought yarn at the farmers market to make my favorite-to-this-day sweater to see if I could assist with anything to learn about sheep farming. A few months later my husband Cody and I were on the team for lambing while Peggy recovered from an injury, and I was hooked. Through Peggy, I joined the local hand spinning group and bought a wheel to spin my first yarn. We brought home a pair of the lambs to raise on our five acres and I got to experience the full cycle from lamb to shearing to hand-spun yarn. It was magical. When Peggy and I heard that some of the best fiber mill equipment might be for sale I tucked that idea into the back of my mind. All it took was a global pandemic to make me realize what I really wanted to be doing with my life.