10 Reasons This Historic American Spinning Mill Is Thriving
The Jagger Brothers Mill in Springvale, Maine, is a gem of American history and textile manufacturing. The busy facility turns out not only wonderful yarns for handknitters (under the Jagger Spun brand), but also yarns for commercial industries such as upholstery, apparel, and commercial hosiery manufactures. Although many other mills on the American landscape have long been shuttered, this one is thriving. Let’s take a look at why.
1. The mill has been family-owned and operated since its founding in 1898.
The Jagger (pronouced like the rock star’s name) family traces its history back to Uriah B. Jagger, a yarn spinner who moved to the United States from England in 1884 and whose sons founded the company in Maine in 1898. Successive generations have run the business since then, including current owner David Jagger. This continuity in ownership and mission has certainly contributed to the company’s longevity.
2. The yarns are all worsted spun.
A worsted yarn is combed so the fibers are aligned and straight, and the process is particularly suited to long fibers such as sheep’s wool. Worsted yarns are sleek and dense; can withstand abrasion; show great stitch definition; and are lustrous, strong, and breathable. In other words, Jagger Brothers spins workhorse yarns that are highly functional.
3. The raw materials are sourced from the renowned fiber capitals of the world.
This includes the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, South America, South Africa, and the United States.
4. Jagger Spun yarns are applicable to many crafts.
They are available in a diverse range of weights and put-ups, making it easy for crafters to find what they need. You can buy yarn on the cone or in skein form. Weavers have long loved Jagger yarns in the finer weights. In skein form, the yarns are great for knitting and crochet, and the company also has customers that use the finest yarns for embroidery.
5. The mill is committed to innovation, responsibility, and the changing ethos of its customer base.
To that end, Jagger Spun now offers a line of certified 100% organic merino wool called the Green Line. Organically dyed in New England, this yarn is a real pleasure on the needles and on the conscience.
6. The company’s diverse customer base has kept the business stable through generations and changing economic forces.
Selling yarn to medical companies, household textile producers, knitwear manufacturers, and yarn shops alike, the mill is not dependent on any one industry. Lucky for us knitters, this allows them to keep producing wonderful yarns for our smaller niche market while not being prone to its cyclical fluctuations.
7. Jagger Spun yarns are perfect for lace knitting.
The company offers yarns in fine weights such as lace and fingering, so you can make incredible shawls and wraps. The merino-silk line, Zephyr, has long been prized by lace knitters and has been a popular choice for Interweave Knits patterns over the years.
8. When it comes to color, you can choose from a wide range of heather or solid colors with Jagger Spun.
The Maine Line is a line of solid colored wool yarns in three weights and 54 saturated hues. The Heather Line comes in four weights and 37 muted, heathered tones. Heathered colors are created in the mill by combing together different primary colored fibers before spinning, creating a single color with a lot of depth and an almost tweedy appearance. Heathers create soft transitions between colors in colorwork, while solids have more contrast. The creative outcomes are limitless between the two!
9. The Jagger Spun division of the mill began in the 1980s to offer yarns on cones for machine knitters and weavers.
This niche market gave small businesses and designers access to many different colors, natural fibers, and yarn weights without a minimum order restriction. Jagger Spun expanded in 2014 and started putting up yarn on skeins to reach the handknitting market, all the while still supporting small manufacturers and new businesses. Many of Jagger Spun’s younger customers are up-and-coming designers from art schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as students from more traditional weaving schools. It is rewarding to watch these young customers, who started with Jagger Spun yarns as students and designers, grow their own independent businesses using Jagger Spun yarns.
10. The Jagger Brothers Mill continues to thrive.
With the exploration of new markets and capitalizing on the value of producing American made products, they are developing new yarns for the craft and manufacturing yarn market as well as new Jagger Spun lines. The mill is looking forward to the next 100 years.
See all the yarns at www.jaggeryarn.com.