A visit to MacAusland's Woolen Mills
Last fall (September 2019) I found myself heading to the western end of the Island to deliver a few finishing pieces of furniture to a client working on a project in that area. Before I left the store that morning, my co-workers asked me to stop in to the MacAusland Woollen Mill in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island to see their manufacturing process and to take a few photos.
Most of our customers are familiar with the MacAusland blankets and lap robes that we have been selling at Cottage Industry since the store’s opening in 2010. The lap robes are a particular favourite of cottagers who need a layer of warmth as they sit by the fire or watch the sun go down. And locals have been relying on these fine wool blankets to keep their beds warm and cozy since MacAusland’s first started to produce them in 1932.
Family owned since the 1870’s, the operation began as a sawmill and gristmill but evolved into the current wooden mill early in the century following. Some of the machines have been updated since then but inside, you get the feeling that little has changed in the manufacturing process in a hundred years. I truly felt like I had stepped back into a previous era when families took pride in the goods they produced and the people that they employed. Talk about old-world charm! You can read more of MacAusland’s history here.
After checking in with their office manager and getting the lowdown on the manufacturing process, I was invited to take a self-guided tour of the facility - there was a wool washing machine; an area with a carding machine which took the raw dyed wool and stretched in into wool fibre; and a very large (and noisy) spooling machine threaded the many bobbins of wool threads need to make the blankets, etc. and finally there was a loom room where the wool is woven into the blankets and lap robes. There is a great description of their process on their website here.
I have to say I am glad I had the opportunity to tour the facility. I took away a greater appreciation for the history and quality of this wonderful Island product.
We are so fortunate to have this woollen mill here on Prince Edward Island and Cottage Industry is thrilled to offer these products.