The 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 raising sheep as well. 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.
There wasn’t much of a market for wool bedding at the time and Patrick saw an opportunity. He located a recently closed wool carding mill in Oregon, purchased their equipment, and arranged for the transport of 30,000 pounds of antique machinery to an empty warehouse in Montague, California. This unique carding mill combs through wool more thoroughly than most existing mills. This feature creates cleaner and fluffier wool batting, setting the Woolgatherer apart from other companies.
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 company and take over the mill’s operations. Given his respect and admiration for Patrick, as well as his experience with Shepherd’s Dream, Nathon agreed to take over the company. Over the next 15 years Nathon molded the Woolgatherer into the successful company that it is today.
In 2018 Nathon stepped down to allow his friend and colleague Hank Kearns to steer the 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 pushing the wool industry, and the greater fiber industry, towards a more sustainable, creative future.