Situated within gazing reach of Mount Shasta in California’s expansive Shasta Valley lies one of the oldest operating carding machines in the country. Built in 1917, this vintage carding machine was originally designed to produce wool yarn. Since yarn cannot be spun with any remnants of vegetable matter, this machine removes more particulates than those normally used to produce batting. Updated and tuned to suit our custom carding operation, Woolgatherer Carding Mill produces some of the finest quality batting in the United States. Several more contemporary production lines round out the full service non-woven capability and textile offerings brought to market by Woolgatherer.
As owner of Woolgatherer Carding Mill, Hank Kearns is dedicated to pushing the wool industry and the greater fiber industry towards a more sustainable future. Rather than focus exclusively on mass production, Woolgatherer values hands-on attention to detail and has pioneered innovative natural fiber applications for use in the mattress, bedding, furniture and other industries. With Hank’s leadership, Woolgatherer is well positioned to continue our standard of peerless customer service while further expanding our varied product line.
Hank is loyal to the principles and goals upon which the Mill was founded: supporting regional farms that treat their animals with respect, and a commitment to creating the finest quality products in harmony with the land, animals, and people involved. Woolgatherer Carding Mill was established in 1999 by visionary Patrick Holland. Upon acquiring five sheep dogs, Patrick eventually followed his nose to the Shasta Valley where he began to raise sheep beneath the shadow of Mount Shasta. Around the time that his flocks began producing wool, Patrick met Eliana Jantz - the founder of Shepherd’s Dream. Their convergence was serendipitous for both parties as the natural bedding company inspired Patrick to produce high-quality carded batting for wool beds.
Tragically, Patrick was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and passed on six months later on Father’s Day. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Patrick remember him for the joy and passion he inspired in those around him. Upon his passing, Patrick’s widow asked their family friend Nathon Thill to purchase the mill and take over its operations. Given his respect and admiration for Patrick, as well as his experience with Shepherd’s Dream as Eliana’s son-in-law, Nathon agreed to take over. Over the next 15 years Nathon molded Woolgatherer into a leading manufacturer of natural bedding.
In 2018 Nathon stepped down to allow his friend and colleague Hank Kearns to steer Woolgatherer Carding Mill into its next chapter. As one of the few wool mills still running in the United States, Hank Kearns and family are dedicated to providing high quality batting, textiles, and fabrics for the bedding industry and beyond.