1981 - Volume #5, Issue #2, Page #31[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
New Life For Old Wool Quilts
A Wisconsin couple, Jim and Kay Kaufman, of Cato, operate a carding mill and are doing a "booming business" with customers from coast to coast. Their main business is carding old quilt batts that have become compressed and lost their insulating value. (Carding is the process of separating wool fibers and combing them so they lie in the same direction.) A carded wool batt puffs up to 4 in. thick, making it a good insulator.
The Kaufmans bought a 50-year old carding mill two years ago, and their carding business has mushroomed ever since. They will wash and card an old wool batt for $1.30 per lb. Carding only is 85 cents a lb.
The Kaufmans also custom card new wool, but they do not wash raw wool. Kay Kaufman points out that carding is only for wool batts, not for woven fabrics like old blankets. They also sell new wool that has been carded for quilting at a price of $5 a lb.
A lot of the carding work falls to Kay, as her husband still holds a job in town. They are also in the wool production business with a flock of 60 ewes of their own. They hope to build the number to 200 and work full-time at raising sheep and carding wool.
"We have customers in Alaska, New York, Louisiana, California and more than a dozen other states," says Kay. "Not all carded wool is used for quilts. One customer is using it for a noise insulator for his stereo equipment, and another is using it for a spray painting filter."
Wool can be shipped by regular mail or United Parcel Service, and it is not usually necessary to check with Kaufmans before sending it. Customers should allow two weeks for processing, plus shipping time.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kaufman Woolen Mill, Route 1, Cato, Wis. 54206 (ph 414 775-4301).
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