A look at the businesses at the heart of the Nome Schoolhouse
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A couple of industrious women are embodying what it means to ‘get back to the basics.’ People have been shearing sheep and turning it into clothing for thousands of years. That practice is still embraced at the Nome Schoolhouse.
Many of us have no idea how the clothes on our backs are produced. Textile manufacturing is a painstaking process that has put Nome, North Dakota on the map for people from around the world who practice fabric arts.
“I love sheep,” said Teresa Perleberg.
Teresa Perleberg says this flock is the core of Shepherd Industries. Everything produced at the Nome Schoolhouse starts with wool-bearing animals.
“It’s generating the most money, and we just want to grow that and build that. And people are the most excited about that,” said Teresa.
The process of transforming sheared wool into fabric is messy.
“I call this monkey picking. I go through and I pick out some of the chaff, some of the stuff you don’t want in your yarn, and it goes into one of our washbags,” said Chris Armbrust.
Washing the wool removes the greasy wax, called lanolin, produced by sheep.
“Melting the lanolin off the wool, and you see all that lanolin in the wastewater,” said Chris.
Then, it’s dyed according to a recipe.
“We have recipes for all the different colors, like, here’s penguin feet and penguin lips,” said Chris.
Then it goes to the drying racks before it’s picked and carted.
“This is carting. What we’re doing is we’re taking the fiber and we’re aligning it through a series of pinned rollers that basically are combing the fiber, aligning them all in the right direction,” said Chris.
Shepherd Industries produces many farm-to-market products, including felting kits, yarn, shoe insoles, and needle felting cushions.
All the products produced here are packaged and shipped to customers around the country and world.
Satisfied customers provide word-of-mouth advertising, and they’ve created an online community through their YouTube page.
“This is Ewetube,” said Teresa.
Teresa and Chris have loyal viewers that watch and engage with every one of their weekly Ewetube videos.
“That’s all folks,” said Teresa and Chris.
But there’s more. Teresa and Chris plan to move an educational flock of alpacas, llamas, and different breeds of sheep near the school so visitors can learn about the animals that made all this possible.
Nome is located 30 miles southeast of Valley City on Highway 32. There, you can see the Schoolhouse for yourself, and maybe a pick up a hobby or two while you’re there.
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