Local fiber mill built on pride, family, community | CraigDailyPress.com

Local fiber mill built on pride, family, community

Michelle Balleck
Lorrae Moon, who owns Yampa Valley Fiberworks with her husband, Lewis, demonstrates how fibers are processed Wednesday at the mill north of Craig. The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors toured the shop as part of its business visit meetings.
Michelle Balleck/Courtesy
For more informationFor more information about Yampa Valley Fiberworks, visit yampavalleyfiberworks.com or find it on Facebook.For more information on Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, visit CraigBusiness.com or call (970) 620-4370.

The passion that Lewis and Lorrae Moon have for their work is evident in their products, their attitudes and their willingness to share their work.

The couple offered a tour and business growth discussion to the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors last week at their shop, Yampa Valley Fiberworks.

The couple bought the business from a family in Granby and moved the equipment into a new building on their property, 41180 N. Hwy. 13, in 2013. They now process 150 to 200 pounds of fiber a week and have two full-time employees. While the shop provides enough work to justify another employee on the machinery, Lewis and Lorrae haven’t hired because the work is too personal to them.

“We have a tremendous amount of pride in the stuff we turn out,” Lewis said.

The business processes raw wool, alpaca, llama, mohair and angora natural fibers into roving and yarn for customers who want custom milling. The Moons use a multi-step process to prepare the fibers for spinning; then Lewis, who Lorrae has nicknamed the “Spin Master,” uses machinery to spin the fibers into yarn weights varying between lace to bulky.

It’s a role the couple takes seriously.

Lorrae noted that farmers who do just one shearing trust them with a “whole year’s worth of work.”

Yampa Valley Fiberworks does not require a minimum weight to process, as the larger commercial facilities do.  The business likes to cater to small farmers and those with unique project ideas, Lorrae said.

“We usually know the animal names by the time the wool is out of here,” Lorrae said.

The couple also operates a retail store with their own yarns and fleeces produced in the mill, as well as knitting, crocheting and weaving supplies. The shop also includes products from 10 other local artisan vendors, ranging from coffee and honey to pottery and soaps.

Lorrae enjoys giving artisans the opportunity to showcase and sell their work in a space they likely couldn’t afford on their own, she said.

“Everything I’ve done throughout the community is local, local, local,” Lorrae said.

Yampa Valley Fiberworks also offers classes and special events once or twice a week, as well as tours to groups who wish to learn more about the process. The couple enjoys providing tours because they help visitors recognize the importance of agriculture and where products originate.

“I want to continue educating and encouraging people learning the industry and the art,” Lorrae said.

Plus, tours offer the couple a way to give back to a community that Lorrae said has given so much to them.

“This (business) has fit in just perfect with this area,” she said. “Yampa Valley Fiberworks has truly been supported by the whole Yampa Valley.”