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Each fleece is kept labeled and separate. Incoming orders have a work order written up for each fleece or batch. This paperwork has all information for the fiber and owner and it stays with the fleece thru the entire process. Similar fleeces are kept completely apart in the mill so as not to mix them up. Such fleeces are never run one right behind another so they do not get mixed up during processing. With each of these procedures in place, we can assure you that you will always have your own fiber returned to you.
Yes, we can process alpaca and most exotics due to the flexibility of the machines.
Skirting is removing all of the undesirable pieces from your raw fleece. This would be matted or felted parts, dung tags, second cuts, coarser fibers, hoof trimmings, stickers, vegetable material and any foreign objects. Even purchased fleeces should be closely checked for these items. If fleeces come in that have obviously not been skirted there will be a fee per fleece for us to skirt them.
We have a 24” card and the roller is 48” around so your batt will be 24” x 48” and as thick as 10” or as thin as 2”. Every wool rolls up differently so how “fluffy” your batt is will depend on your carded wool.
Vegetable matter (VM) in your fleece is a controversial and much discussed topic. We cannot process fiber with too much VM contamination. Most of the VM will come out of the fiber during carding but it is just being deposited into our machines. It may take us 4 hours to clean our machines. It is just not worth it to us or you as it results in a great deal of added labor. You can always hand pick your fleeces. We do not do this service. As you will find, it is very tedious, filthy and time consuming.
We do give tours by appointment only. The mill is very interesting and educational. Please try to plan tours with a small group or at least a few people to make it time efficient.
No, we mean clean of vegetable matter, and as clean as you can get it without washing it. Hay, seedheads, toenail clippings, rocks, bailing string, dung, dirt, etc. should be removed.
Many a beautiful fleece has been ruined by being stored improperly. The raw fiber needs to have air. If stored in plastic bag, make sure it has plenty of holes in it. Old pillowcases work well. grain sacks can be used just be sure there's no grain left in the bottom. Don't store a damp fleece. In hot, humid weather, damp fleeces can mold and mildew even if the bag is open at the top. Make sure before storing fiber that all tags (manure and real heavy black grease) have been removed.
Typically fiber should be between 2 - 5 inches; anything less than 2" or more than 5" can cause problems with the machines. Our machines will take out anything under 2" and we will have to cut anything over 5".
Depending on vegetation, dung, debris, dirt, etc. loss can be from 5% to 50%. You can make your loss minimal if you skirt your fiber.
No - You can have your fiber done into Rovings, Batts, Felt or Yarn. It is completely up to you.
We have experience processing all grades of wool and many animal fibers. We are willing to try your fiber, just ask us and we will determine whether our machines can process it.
We do not add vegetation so what remains after washing, picking and carding was already there when we received the fiber. We know of two methods used by industrial fiber processors to remove vegetation: chemicals and mechanical crushing. We do not use chemicals and we don't have a mechanical crusher. To get the best and cleanest, product buy the cleanest fleeces. If you raise your own fiber animals keep their pastures spotlessly clean. If you can, before shearing, clean the fleece while the animal is still holding on to one end of the fibers.