Wyoming Company Spins About 20,000 Pounds Of Wool A Year
Karen Hostetler owns Mountain Meadow Wool, in Buffalo, Wyoming, which is the largest wool distributor in the west. They produce between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds of wool a year.
Sheep farming was very lucrative to residents in Wyoming before the days of World War I. After World War I ended there was a huge decline in sheep due to many reasons like drought, predators, tariffs and more, in return left no more wool mills in Wyoming. Flocks of sheep now are down to about 10 percent of what they use to be in 1910. Wyoming used to produce about 20 million pounds of wool a year, it is now down to 4 million a year.
Karen grew up in Colorado with a love for crocheting at a young age, which eventually turned into cadging wool. She learned how to wash the wool by reading a book from the library and then she took a spinning class to teach her how to card wool and make yarn using a drop spindle. After college she got married and moved to Wyoming, it wasn't until 20 years later she bought a spinning wheel and returned to her hobby.
In 2002, Karen started discussing with a friend about opening a yarn and knitted goods store from wool that is in Wyoming. The problem was there were no wool mills in Wyoming anymore so she found a mill in Canada that could spin their 50 pounds of yarn but it wasn't enough to keep the product on the shelves. After two years of fighting Karen was given two Small Business Innovation Research grants from the USDA for a total of $386,000.
As of today, Mountain Meadow Wool has six employees who produce 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of wool a year, according to Inc. Thank you for bringing back the wool industry to Wyoming.