Fen Roessingh and husband Bill Purves-Smith developed a keen
interest in weaving while studying at the Leighton Centre near
Calgary, Alberta in the 1970's. After being given a truck-load of
raw wool in order to pursue their weaving, they began searching to
find a mill that would process it into yarn.
This took them to Magrath, Alberta, to work with John Moors in his
mill, Wool Carding and Spinning. John had started in the woolen
mill business at the age of 12 as a bobbin boy and worked his way
up to running his own mill. When Fen and Bill came to work with
him, John was in his 70's and looking for someone to take over his
Game for a challenge and motivated by their love of fibre arts, Fen
and Bill bought the mill from John and moved it to Carstairs. They
then acquired a wool washing system and additional carding machines
from a small mill called Custom Woolen Mills in Sifton, Manitoba.
The mill was owned by Anna Weselowski who, also in her 70's, was
looking to retire.
Combined, the new mill was called Custom Woolen Mills Ltd. Wool
Carding and Spinning, but everyone just called it Custom Woolen
Mills for short. Over 35 years later, Custom Woolen Mills is still
going strong; a hub in the community, a multigenerational family
enterprise, and a producer of quality, Canadian grown and
manufactured wool products.