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Woolful Podcast

Episode 43: Thayne Mackey – Montana, wool insulation, bulletproof wool, and Brookside Woolen Mill

December 8, 2015


Sponsor:  Brooklyn General Store was created in 2002 and is owned and operated by Catherine Clark. Tucked away on a sweet block West of the Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill neighborhoods, Brooklyn General Store is the enchanting fiber and textile emporium we all dream of. Dreams full of wooly goodness, yards and yards of fabric, felt, dyes, patterns, tools, and handmade gifts. A little old and a little new…a classic general store for the maker who loves to make their own everything. With a charming studio, the shop hosts a variety of wonderful classes taught by special folks including Cal Patch, Nguyen Le, Heather Love and many more. With it’s floor to ceiling shelves, old rolling ladders, and old wood floors, it feels as though you’ve stepped into a wooly wonderland…I so wish I lived closer and could adopt this shop as my own lys, but thankfully they have an online shop filled to the brim with all of their fiber and sewing goods and gifts. So if you’re in the Brooklyn area or just passing through, visit Brooklyn General Store in person and find them online at


Fiber folk: We’re all very familiar with the wool in the fiber arts, but something that’s far less known is it’s use in building materials, including insulation. What’s extra neat about wool insulation is that it often times uses wool that would be of little or no value in the yarn world and therefore making the best use out of this fiber we love so much. Thayne Mackey and his family are doing something pretty wonderful at Montana Green Insulation and I’m excited for you to hear more. You can find Thayne at and on Facebook as Brookside Woolen Mill.






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Sponsor: Montana Green Insulation is located in Malta, Montana and is a family run operation, by today’s guest Thayne Mackey, his wife and two children. In 2009 Thayne and his family downsized their farm and started Brookside Woolen Mill where they create their wool insulation product. They run an organic wool processing operation, with high efficiency heating systems, solar water heaters, recycling and settling ponds for waste water, bio-degradable soaps and eco-friendly disposal systems for the vegetable wastes produced by sheep. Their woolen products include Montana Green Sheep Wool Insulation, Reclamation and Revegetation Mats, and Bio-wix wattles and booms for petroleum spills on land and in water. We’re using the wool insulation for our yurt platform and decided to do so because of the incredible properties of wool insulation and it’s R-value. I hope you’ll consider learning more about wool insulation and using it for your next building project. Find Montana Green Insulation at


Update: As many of you know, we recently moved from San Francisco to our ranch in North Idaho where we’re in the final stages of building our yurt home. Over the past couple of years we’ve been doing a lot of research on what materials we wanted to use for various parts of the process, specifically insulation. Because of our northern climate, extra insulation is a must. There are lots of insulation options, but of course our heart was set on using wool insulation after learning more about it’s obvious benefits and R-Value. After reaching out and learning about Thayne Mackey’s operation at Montana Green Insulation we decided on 500lbs of loose fill insulation which we’ll be using in our platform flooring. The delivery is set to arrive early next week and we’ll be posting lots of photos and info on this process as it’s new to us and there really isn’t a whole lot of information out there on on installation. So stay tuned, we’re super excited to get our floor insulated and move in!


Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaways are, appaloosa13 you’ve won the Dottie Angel frock pattern, Claire you’ve won 2 skeins of the Moeke Merino, and Analiese, you’ve won a Woolful Sheep Breed Calendar. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Taproot Magazine and Boho Chic Fiber Co and they’re giving away the most recent issue of Taproot, Shelter and two gorgeous skeins of handspun Polwarth and Mohair and Silk fingering yarn along with Annie Lupton’s Groh Shawl pattern. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on today’s episode’s blog post.



Music by Jónsi.

Woolful Podcast

Episode 41: David Ritchie, Claire Wilson, Libby Mills and Kate Salomon – Study groups, building a New England fiber mill, growth of a fiber family and Green Mountain Spinnery

November 17, 2015


Sponsor: Ewetopia is a local yarn shop in rural Viroqua, WI, carrying a beautiful selection of yarns and fibers, including their very own line of hand dyed yarns. One of my favorite things about Ewetopia is it’s generational foundation, the shop was started by Kathryn Ashley-Wright and later her mother Lisa Ashley joined her as partner in the business. Along with Kathryn’s grandmother Gloria and her daughters Stella and Mae…you’ll sometimes find all four generations busy around the shop…what a special thing to have. In addition to the Ewetopia shop and yarn brand, Kathryn and her family have a farm in southwestern Wisconsin where they grow certified organic hay and rotationally graze their flock of 50 ewes…comprised of Corriedale, Border Leicester and Merino crosses, which contribute to their Ewetopia yarn and fiber line. If you’re in the Viroqua area or just passing through, make sure to visit them in person. You can find a selection of Ewetopia yarns and fibers, and more info on the shop and farm online at And find them on Instagram @ewetopiayarn.


Fiber folk: To me, Green Mountain Spinnery is one of the staples of the fiber industry, and has been since founded in 1981 by David Ritchie, Libby Mills, Claire Wilson and Diana Wahle. I first learned about the spinnery through my friend Annie, who is a huge advocate of their yarns. Then all of the sudden I kept hearing about the everywhere…that’s how it goes yeah? haha. The more I learned, the more I loved. From their humble hardworking beginnings, to creating an organic yarn, their formation of a coop and their overall beautiful influence within this fiber community…I’ve met few others in this industry with such a rich history and gratitude for what wool has brought them. Today you get to hear a bit of that history and hear that richness in their stories, as David, Libby, Claire and Kate tell the Green Mountain Spinnery story. You can find Green Mountain Spinnery at and on Instagram @greenmtnspinnery.








Photos by Kathy Cadigan, Green Mountain Spinnery and Megan MacDonald

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Sponsor: In 2013, Anna Dianich opened Tolt Yarn and Wool. a local yarn shop in the beautiful Pacific Northwest town of Carnation, Washington. A couple weeks back we celebrated Tolt’s second anniversary, with the release of a very special book, Farm to Needle: Stories of Wool. When we pick up our needles and cast-on the first stitch, we become part of something much bigger than the project at hand. Farmers, shearers, spinners and dyers are working hard not only to produce the yarn we love, but to preserve a way of life that is at real risk of being lost. Farm to Needle invites you to join a journey; to peek behind the scenes of some of our favorite producers and gain a deeper understanding of the people, places, and animals at work. Discover Aspen Hollow Farm, Green Mountain Spinnery, Imperial Stock Ranch, Thirteen Mile Farm, YOTH, Saco River Dye House, and Twirl through patterns by Dianna Walla, Tif Fussell, Veronika Jobe, Karen Templer, Andrea Rangel, Annie Rowden and myself. This book was beautifully captured by a hardworking team, lead by Anna and Kathy Cadigan. You can find Farm to Needle at

And if you’ve had the privilege of visiting Tolt in person, you know how truly amazing this place is. It’s evident the heart and soul Anna and her incredible team put into creating an experience that feels like home with your fiber family. What a special place to have in this fiber community of ours. Make sure to visit Tolt in Carnation and online at for a very special collection of fibers, notion and books.


Giveaway:  The winner of last week’s giveaways are, Margaret – you’ve won two skeins of Quince and Co Osprey yarn in Caspian from Cream City Yarn, and Yasmin – you’ve won Loop London’s new book, 10. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway’s are sponsored by Tolt Yarn and Wool – who’s giving away a copy of their new book, Farm to Needle and Green Mountain Spinnery – who’s giving away two skeins of their Vermont Organic worsted yarn, made from Tunis/Dorset wool. To be one of the winners of this week’s giveaways, leave a comment this blog post.




Music by Jónsi.

Woolful Podcast

Episode 36: Daphne Marinopoulos – West Africa, a Maine fiber mill, creative fulfillment, and The Fibre Company

September 29, 2015


Sponsor: I want to thank one of our sponsors for this week’s episode, Cast Away and Folk, a modern yarn, sewing & weaving shop in Historic Railroad Square in Santa Rosa, CA. Cast Away and Folk makes their home in a turn of the century large brick loft, that inspires you as soon as you walk through the doors. The three owners, Justine, Leslee and Isla and their experienced team are so welcoming and there to gel you choose your next project or find just the right fiber or fabric you’ve been looking for. They offer a wide variety of great classes and workshops covering sewing, knitting, weaving, felting, embroidery and more. Make sure to visit Cast Away & Folk online at or in person when in Santa Rosa. You can also find them on Instagram @castawayandfolk.

In October, Cast Away and Folk is hosting a very special field trip to one of my most favorite places, Twirl. This is the home of my friend Mary Pettis-Sarley, the creator of Twirl yarn and her myriad of alpacas, sheep, horses, cattle, dogs, chickens, pigs, goats, and of course Zack the donkey. You won’t believe this place…with Napa valley’s rolling hills, indigo fields, and fiber in every which way. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you join this trip…you’ll leave so inspired by this place and the woman behind it. Snuggles some animals, dye some Twirl yarn and enjoy an included bag lunch…and to register, call Cast Away and Folk at 707.546.9276


Fiber folk: When someone’s name continues to come up in conversations, you start to get the hint that maybe you should get to know said person…well Daphne Marinopoulos is one of those people. After a few months of aligning schedules and rural internet bandwidth, we were finally able to sit down and have a talk, and it spoke to me in a special way…much of that conversation you’ll hear here today. From flight instructor to foreign service officer to fiber mill owner and creator of The Fibre Company, Daphne has had a pretty incredible journey, and one highlighted by a life of fulfilling her creative passion and destiny, something I know many of us seek and aspire to do. I’ve long admired the quality, composition and obvious care that goes into The Fibre Company yarns, but I never realized the story behind it, until now…and as we all know, the story is everything. You can find Daphne at







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Sponsor: I want to thank our other sponsor for this week’s episode Kelbourne Woolens, a wonderful company built by two passionate women, Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn. Kelbourne itself is unique, serving as the US distributor of The Fibre Company yarns, a design house, author of several books, instructors and makers of their own line of tools and accessories. They focus on modern interpretations of classic designs, and the love of traditional knitting techniques. From their shared experiences in fine art, textiles, retail, and knitwear design, they offer an invaluable resource to this fiber community of ours. Look for them this weekend at the Make. Wear. Love. retreat hosted by Amy Herzog in Sebasco Harbor, Maine. And make sure to visit Kelbourne Woolens at and on Instagram @kelbournewoolens.


Farmyard Tales: This week we have a funny Farmyard Tale from Angie of Kismet Fiber Works.

Giveaway: The winners of last week’s giveaway are, Ann Marie Mullen, you’ve won the mixed BFL fiber from Fiber in the Boro and Rebecca McCoyer , you’ve won 2 skeins of raw silk noil yarn from Shutters and Shuttles. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Cast Away and Folk, and we’re giving away 2 skeins of Savannah yarn and the Norie Hat pattern by Gudrun Johnston. To enter this giveaway and be one of the three winners, leave a comment on this post.



Music by Jónsi.