Pufpaff's Fiber Processing
Nashville, MI

A photo tour of the mill!

Changes are coming! Watch to see what the new additions will look like.

Located in Barry County at 5038 E M79 Highway between Hastings and Nashville is a farm-based business serving the local and national fiber community.

Owned and operated by Suzanne Pufpaff, a local Farm Bureau Member and Fiber Artist, Suzanne has over 20 years of experience raising fiber animals, using marketing, promoting, publishing and teaching various aspects of the fiber artss.

Believing in the integration of her fiber business into the total farm operation, Suzanne takes a renewable resource,
wood, to heat all the water and buildings  for the mill operation.  The heating is done using a Central Boiler outside, wood fired hot water boiler system.  All the wood for fueling the stove comes from the 55 acre Registered Tree Farm owned and operated by the Pufpaff Family.

A Flock of Shetland Sheep guarded by llamas creates fiber for the mill, They also utilizes marginal areas of the farm as pasture and are fed during the winter by farm produced hay.

When fiber arrives at the mill (Sheep's wool, Llama, Alpaca, Mohair goat and others, Angora Rabbit, buffalo, beaver, dog, cat and more), it is weighed in on a set of antique balance scales.  All fiber-processing services are charged based on those weights.

The fiber is bagged, tagged and stored

on shelves until its turn comes

 up for servicing.

The first step in the service is for the fiber to be placed on a mesh table and hand inspected before being placed in nets to begin the washing process

Washing and rinsing is done in large sinks with the fiber contained in nets to facilitate the moving of the wool. A pulley system help with the lifting  from sink to sink.  The washing in nets removes dirt and oils from the fiber without matting or felting occurring.  The last step of the washing process is to spin out the excess water using a standard washing machine's spin cycle.

Custom dying is done at the mill using a commercial "stock pot" stove and two 80-quart stainless steel pots with perforated liners.  Each pot will hold up to 3 pounds of fiber and by using the liners, matting is eliminated.

Wool is dried in three tiered, netted drying racks in a dedicated drying room. There are drying racks for up to 30 separate batches.  Each batch coming in the mill is kept separate and travels through the system with its own personal label.

Two large machines are used to "card" the fiber into either roving (long ropes of webbing) or batts (sheets of webbing).  The first machine is called a picker and opens the fibers.  The second machine is called a carder and organizes the fiber into the web.  This web is then either packaged as roving or batting


The belt of the carding machine is where the fiber is loaded.  This is where custom blending of fibers and color combinations can take place.

The fibers come off the carder as a fine web.  This can be run through a "roving deck" ,as shown above, to be condensed into a roving or it can be rolled around a drum to create batting.  A cloud is just the web dropped into a basket.

Roving, batting hand spun yarn and written directions on various ways to use the fibers are available in the mill's on site retail shop.

Idea walls are scattered throughout the mill and studio to help patrons see what can be made from their fibers or the fibers available at the mill.

Above the mill is a fully equipped fiber arts studio where Suzanne works on weaving roving rugs, creating a wide range of felted articles and instructs students, young and old, in various aspects of the fiber arts.

In the studio we have a 16 foot by 6 foot work surface where batting can be finished into felted rugs, blankets or yardage to customer specification or workshops sessions and tours can be scheduled.

Some wool is purchased from local shepherds and stored on premises for use in blending with orders and in house dying and carding to supply the fiber arts community.  Roving and batting can be purchased mill direct by phone, e-mail, or visiting the mill's retail shop.

updated March 2015