Awesomeness abounds when you find a link to a Dirty Jobs episode where the lovable Mike Rowe heads to a woolen mill to figure out how fleece is made into yarn. This doesn't seem all that dirty to me, but maybe I have low/high/weird standards.
Heads up: I am headed to The Art League this weekend to learn how to do this, too (in a class called, terrifyingly, The Crash Course to Spinning), but my experience is going to be a lot more frustrating as I will be skipping the machines and doing it by hand. Also, I just checked in with the school and they tell me that I am the only person who signed up for the class and that the teacher is still willing to hold the class....which means I get a two-day private intensive lesson. It thrills me that I will be able to learn my own pace and ask as many questions as I want without annoying the crap out of other people. But it also makes me super sad for this poor lady when she finds out that her only student knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about spinning (and is a horrible student...I hate being not-good at things and taking instructions from other people, two skills required for learning...) I promise to report back on that endeavor.
Anyhoo! For more about factory yarn making see the Fingerlakes Woolen Mill's cool explanation of the process as well as the Thrifty Knitter's visit to the Midstates Wool Growers Warehouse.