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I am so excited to introduce you to Bel and Paul Vassar, the couple behind Pict Wool, a new worsted spinning mill in New Hampshire.  

Bel and Paul are longtime watchers of the podcast and got in touch with me about placing yarn in the Flock Farm Yarn Shop. As you know, I love meeting new people (and sheep!) and this was an opportunity I couldn't refuse. Bel and I had a lovely talk via Zoom about opening the mill, the Northeast's fiber shed, and some of her favorite local shepherds. Then, she and Paul were kind enough to answer some questions via email. 

I hope you enjoy getting to know Bel and Paul and their cool new mill! We have a couple of limited edition, breed-specific yarns in the shop that you'll enjoy browsing. Enjoy the interview (below) and keep supporting small fiber businesses!

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Pict Wool

Interview with Bel & Paul Vassar 

KTS: So, you opened a fiber mill! This is something I've dreamed about. How did you decide to take the plunge and what were some of the stages/steps along the way?


Pict Wool: My interest in knitting and spinning grew into scouring and prepping fleeces. Later, a friend mentioned mini mills and Paul and I began researching. When we discovered older, larger scale equipment we knew this was the path we wanted to take. Making the decision to take on such a big endeavor was difficult, (especially considering the timing!) but we really felt like it was the right thing. Milling offers a blend of creative and technical challenges that make it a perfect fit for the two of us. Paul’s experience with machine controls enabled him to customize our machines, especially the spinner. We spent 2 years looking for the right space for our mill. We found the perfect spot in the Riverview Mill in Wilton. Originally it was the machine shop for the weaving mill across the river. It is now home to a dozen small businesses and many artist’s studios. 


KTS: The yarn you produce is gorgeous and it's a true "worsted" yarn. Can you explain what that means and what makes your process so special among U.S. fiber mills?


Pict Wool: Worsted yarn is made with all the fibers running in parallel. This makes a smoother, shinier, heavier yarn. Woolen yarn is made with the fibers in various directions which creates a loftier, more matte yarn. Our comb is the piece of equipment that makes us different from most of the mills in our region. It was made by NSC/ Schlumberger in the mid sixties. The comb removes short fibers, neps and vegetable matter while further aligning the fiber. I think this style of processing really shows off the luster of some breeds of wool. 


KTS: What's a typical day look like for you--if there is such a thing! 


Pict Wool: On a typical day we usually work on as many stages of the process as possible. Processing steps are intake, scouring, carding, combing, pin-drafting, spinning, winding and final rinse. I work mainly on the front end of the processes, and coordinate production planning and create each job’s paperwork. Paul is our spinner and machine tuner. Our paths overlap in the middle processing steps as needed. Paul is also in charge of all the maintenance, development and repairs. He also runs a motor control service business and is out of the mill once or twice a month working in all sorts of industries. We work through wool in the order we receive it. Right now our processing queue is about 7 months, which means there is always another batch to do. 


KTS: You've been working closely with producers in your area; can you tell us a little bit about what that New Hampshire (or Northeastern) fiber community is like?


Pict Wool: Our experiences have introduced us to so many friendly and knowledgeable shepherds. We work with large and small farms, and we have learned a ton. Our region is home to a wide variety of breeds. We also do some commercial work in large batches as well as scouring and carding single fleeces for hand spinners. There is a very active community of artisans and fiber enthusiasts. Organizations like the NH Sheep and Wool Growers Association, The NH Spinners and Dyers Guild, The Northeast Handspinners Association provide a network for learning about sheep and fiber arts. Harrisville Designs and Sanborn Mills have venues to provide classes in a wide variety of fiber arts. Smaller workshops and crafting groups are abundant. We have an open craft night at Pict Wool on the Second Thursday of each month.  

KTS: What are your plans for 2024 and beyond? Anything new on the horizon? 


Pict Wool: We have so many projects on our list! We have several pieces of equipment that we plan to add to our mill in order to produce additional products (like rug yarn and batts) or to increase our productivity. We plan to continue to work with local growers to produce yarns to bring to festivals and to feature in our shop. We hope to grow into picking up larger batches of wool. We are building partnerships with other businesses that will support local fiber growers and crafters. It’s really rewarding to be a part of the chain that produces local yarns!


KTS: Where can folks find you online? 


Pict Wool: 

Our web page is

On facebook we are Pict Wool

Instagram @ pictwool

In person we are found at 5 Souhegan Street, Wilton, NH.

Mill phone (603) 654-2375

Paul’s email

Bel’s email



Bel and Paul Vassar



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