Cotton core to your door goes back over a decade. It was early fall in 2008 when a new tool showed up at our mill. It was the Rug Yarn Maker from Belfast Mini Mills LTD. Two years later it was 25% of our business revenue. By 2013 the “trend” was generating an average of $75k per year. It was in large part why we purchased a second carder and RYM. What started out as an invention and part of Ingrid’s Rugs in Texas grew into a pretty large phenomenon.
Today, there are lots of mills who have purchased a RYM and provided various new products to their customers because of it – felted and woven rugs, knitted home decor items, even high-end luxury garments that strolled the runway in New York City. One startup mini mill grew to have 7 carders and 7 rug yarn makers in their operation. What was their only product? You guessed it. They were running two shifts and wholesaling the majority of their product to the tune of 2.3 million per year. Markets change and to be sure plenty of other “super chunky” yarns have come onto the market and fed the arm knitting craze. But the fact that the Yarn Council had to come out with a new category of yarn should tell you something.
No longer just a trendy new product, RYMs have established a niche.
The principle idea is a woolen construction where the carded web off the back of your doffer is continuously rolled around the core, sent through a false twist tube to further compact it and then spooled onto a package. You can see it in action in a video that Jeff Birtwhistle put out back in 2009 on Youtube. It was a pretty amazing advancement that allowed for faster production at the carder because you could independently control the speed of the RYM from the carder. The typical BMM machine could handle 5oz feeds consistently and suddenly the “little” BMM carder was capable of producing 55 pounds of finished product a day that was ready to ship on just one shift!
By 2009, Morning Star Fiber realized we needed to find a supplier of core yarn products that would work best with these new machines. After about 9 months of digging on the internet via google, we were able to find and build a relationship with the Jones Yarn Company, a US manufacturer of cotton mop yarn based in Humboldt, TN. Over the past decade, we’ve become great friends, and I have had the chance to tour their facility and see their products first hand. While ordering a full pallet of 64 cones never fit our business model, it has worked out to pass the savings on to other mills like yours.
Cotton Core To Your Door!
In the past, people contacted us in a variety of ways: phone, email, cell phone, Facebook, and Instagram. Having a dozen ways to reach you, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be that much more accessible. In fact, it has a greater chance of making you less efficient. So we have decided to give one clear path to ordering core. This will make for the quickest turnaround time.
Making an order and the logistics
Orders should be sent through: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a dedicated email to just cotton core yarn sales. We don’t use it for anything else so it keeps things clean and simple. Ordering cones from us is as easy as sending us an email and saying how many cones you want and of what kind. Both Marghie and I receive this email on our phone which makes it very simple. We will then invoice you via Square which you can pay online. We suggest that you order in increments of 2 cones for shipping purposes. Our kids will help us box them up and then get them to the UPS man. Cotton core to your door is that easy. If you’re planning on sending a check (which is totally cool with us) please make note that our mailing address has changed:
285 Tatham St., Andrews, NC 28901
Which cotton core do I get?
The easiest difference to explain between the thick and thin cotton mop yarn products can be seen in the yards per pound measurement (although there is a picture of the two side by side in the photo above). Thick cotton core is 187 yards per pound and typically comes in a 16-pound cone. That’s almost enough to make twenty-four 125 yard bumps, adding 2.09 per bump. The thin cotton core is 577 yards per pound and typically comes in a 13-pound cone. That’s enough to make sixty 125 yard bumps, adding $1.14 per bump.
Deciding which product is right for your needs
The thick core obviously adds a lot of weight to the finished yarn. This has made it a great candidate for woven and felted rug applications, but people have also used it for macrame (with or without the fiber). The thin core obviously is a lot lighter and way more flexible and is primarily used for knitting and crocheting applications. We have one customer who teaches beginning knitting with the thin cotton and says she saves a bundle on supply costs for her beginning classes.
Fibery Fun Fact!
Where do the proceeds go?
We are raising money right now to purchase our school curriculum for this next year. We’ve used core yarn sales for the past five years to offset the cost of homeschooling the kids. Which works well because we get a little support when it comes to the heavy lifting. We appreciate all of their help and it makes it all possible. And the kids have learned some box taping skills. (;
But this year will be extra special because they also want to save up money to buy a new puppy this spring! We had to put our sweet Paisley girl down last March after 12 wonderful years. It’s taken a year but we are just now ready to get a new family dog. Some friends in Ohio just had a litter similar to Paisley that we are saving to buy from. It’s been a loooong time since we had a puppy so there are some supplies we’ll need to get as well.
The kids appreciate your business, and want to ensure you that we will be posting pictures if we are able to save up enough! So you can imagine the excitement of our “littles” especially putting together this newsletter as part of our writing lesson the past week.
How much does it cost to ship?
MSF100 – $68 & MSF200 – $50. For mills that are on the east side of the Mississippi, the cost is built into the price of the cone. For those who are west of it, we add $5/cone shipped. By far the best deal in the US.
Am I really getting a good deal?
# of plys
These statistics were taken on 3/11/2020 direct from their websites. These are the major suppliers of cotton mop yarn in the USA. Our competitor’s price points aren’t even close. Uline comes the closest and they are still 25% more expensive, and it may not be a US product. When you tack on another $18.03 to get the five 2.5# cones shipped to your mill now you’re adding an extra $3.83 to every bump you produce.
RYMs Are Flexible & Adaptable
Should you consider adding a RYM to your mill?
There are two types of RYMs on the market today. Belfast Mini Mills creates one that is $6500 USD. Stonehedge Fiber Milling Equipment also makes a RYM, but at the time of this newsletter, there was no published price given on their website. In looking back at our accounting records when we first purchased ours in 2008 that first year we generated enough revenue from that particular product to pay for the RYM twice… literally less than 3 pounds of rug yarn product per day!
It’s a very good tool to add to your line up. We would often use it to give back their waste in a usable product even weaving it for them into a rug. These are easy ways to upsell your customers and help them see greater value in your company. If you haven’t considered it in your product line up, it might be time. In talking with Jeff Birtwhistle he said that BMM has matched up their RYM to work on 7 different types of carders besides their own. If you have any questions or would like to talk with JC about the implications of adding a RYM to your equipment/product line please feel free to schedule a time to talk on my website that works best for you.