Someone You Should Know: A close-knit family filling a void in the world of fiber processing

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:55 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A trio of a mother and two daughters saw a gap in their local fiber processing market.

“I was looking for locally sourced wool. In yarn or fiber form and just couldn’t find it,” said Elizabeth Davelaar Co-Owner of the Mill.

They realized they each had something unique to offer to the new business.

“Erin has a degree in animal science she brings the producing side of it and I bring the fashion aspect of it so it has been an awesome marriage of the two,” said Elizabeth.

“The business really plays to each of our strengths. And we are able to use the gifts that God gave us and we play off each other really well,” said Erin Van Nieuwenhuyzen Co-Owner of the Mill,” said Erin.

Maker’s Way Fiber Mill took off in a unique way.

“We found our equipment on Facebook Market place so half of it was in Michigan and half of it was in Dallas, it was one of those God things that just it happens and works the way it is supposed to. Got Erin and mom involved and have been in business for about a year,” said Elizabeth.

Their goal is to make local fiber more accessible and give farmers more options to process their fibers.

“We do custom processing for people. They will come in with freshly sheared wool, and alpaca fiber, and then we process that for them,” said Elizabeth.

Through many trials and tribulations, the sisters have learned how to process many different kinds of fiber and are constantly adapting every day.

“We love to experiment. There have been a lot of things that have been like, we’re going to try this. Okay, that didn’t work, let’s go back to the drawing table. That plays to both of our strengths,” said Erin.

“I’m doing most of the washing the picking and the carding, Erin does the spinning, the plying the stain winding, and the felting. Mom is in between washing and cleaning the wool and our pin graft over there,” said Elizabeth.

With both passionate about nothing going to waste and making everything with care.

“Every step of the process has waste, that’s just part of it that’s part of life, and we do our best to reduce that. In our Millie line we take either waste that comes off our Spinner or our player, our end of the run thread, ply that together, and make our own yarn,” said Elizabeth.

From using Marigolds to naturally dying fibers to repurposing excess materials into coasters.

“We also offer a few of our own items. We offer yarn and playmats and dryer balls,” said Erin.

Both sisters have high hopes for the future of the mill.

“The fact that we can start at the beginning and work our way up to hopefully in the future clothing has been super fun,” said Elizabeth.

“We want to continue serving the community. Filling that niche that has been underserved so far, not having a local mill around,” said Erin.

This close-knit family will continue to leave a positive impact and practice sustainability.

“Honestly, I never saw it coming, but I’m so glad it did. I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my day,” said Erin.