The Great Northern New Mexico Loop

July 21, 2021

Agua Piedra to Storrie Lake

From Agua Piedra we tumbled nearly 2000 feet into a lush valley and the picturesque villages of Cleveland and Mora. We were hoping for a tour of the historic spinning mill in Mora, and Executive Director Joseph Weathers graciously obliged us.

Tapetes de Lana storefront

Tapetes de Lana was created in 1998 as a vocational training program sponsored by economic development grants. But the mill struggled to find a market for its products. Under Weathers' direction, the mill switched from producing finished woolen goods to spinning yarn for individual growers. The mill takes a percentage of the finished yarn as payment.

Dennis and Joseph Weather

Weathers walked us through the incredibly complex process of transforming raw wool into finished yarn. Never again will I wonder why woolen goods are so expensive!

bin of fleece

First the fleece is broken up and sorted into sections of different quality fibers, then scoured in a series of alkaline baths.

machine that separates wool fibers

Next, the fibers are passed through a series of metal teeth that straighten and blend them together.

Dennis and Ann take turns carding the wool.

coils of carded wool

The carded wool is then "gilled" and combed into large soft coils.

Finally, the coils are spun to form single strands of yarn. All of this work is performed on antique equipment salvaged from defunct woolen mills! According to Weathers, Tapetes de Lana is the largest wool mill west of the Mississippi! Very impressive!

With Carson National Forest behind us, we camped that night at Storrie Lake, which was highly recommended by friends and fellow travelers. And a sad little dewatered story it was, perfect for travelers who just want big pull-throughs, clean restrooms and five bars of internet. On to the next!