Fiber FAQ

Should I skirt my fleece prior to shipping?
Lay your fleece out on a flat surface and look at it. Pull off any dread locks from fecal matter or urine. Pull off any areas that are matted enough that you can’t pull the matt apart with your hands. Remove as much hay and other VM as possible. If there is contamination with burr clover we cannot remove it! If either burrs, or a web of small hay particles, are confined to one area of the fleece then pull that part off and send the remainder.

How important is skirting my fleece?
Skirting is very important but don’t let inexperience keep you from sending the fleece for processing. Especially if this is your first time to work with a mill and you are within driving distance. We will work with you so that you will know how to prepare your fleece the next time. We routinely skirt fleeces for 15 minutes as part of our preparation.

What about sorting the fleece?
Fleeces from alpacas, llamas, and some other animals should be sorted into 1 blanket and 2 leg and neck. Both of these can be processed into roving or yarn but they should be processed separately. If you have not divided them at the time of shearing, we offer fiber separation to improve the quality of the yarn. It is not necessary to sort your fiber into grades for our purposes as we process each fleece individually. See more fleece skjorter.

What can my fleece be processed into?
The services we offer create cloud (picked or dehaired fiber), roving, batts, sliver, yarn and felt. We will work with you to determine the best use for your individual fleece.

When should I ship my fleece?
Please contact us by telephone or email prior to shipping your mobilt fiber. We work on a reservation system that ensures an efficient flow in the mill, as well as reducing your wait time prior to processing.

Is it expensive to have my fiber processed?
We are competitive with other mills in North America. The costs to you will depend upon the end products requested, the status of the fleece on arrival, etc. We will discuss these issues more in detail when you call for a shipping time.

What are the processing steps?
1. Washing 2. Picking (Picker) 3. “Dehairing” (fiber separator) 4. Carding 5. Drafting 6. Spinning 7. Plying 8. Steaming, cone winding 9. Skein winding

Would you describe the steps in more detail?
1. Washing. Fleece is washed in a commercial washer at up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. We use rainwater and recycle up to 40% of the water to be reused. What is not used is piped out to one of the pastures that our goats are contained in. The soap we use is EccoScour a biodegradable detergent. The fleece is then air dried. Humidity in the mill is kept at 70%, temperature at 70 degrees. 2. Picking is next. The fleece is placed on a belt and sent thru the picker and goes into a 4×5 room specially designed with exhaust fan and non sticking wall cover. This produces “clouds” of fleece. A conditioner is sprayed on the fleece. 3. Depending on the fleece source it will go through the fiber separator (dehairer) first to separate out the guard hair, heavier fiber. Then the fleece goes thru the carder to produce roving. There are certain fleeces that will go directly from the picker to the carder skipping the dehairing step. 4. The next step is on the draw frame where the fibers are aligned and prepared for spinning. 5. Spinning is performed on a large machine that spins the fiber on to bobbins. 6. Plying comes next and the single ply yarn from the spinner can be two or more single strands plied into 2, 3 or 4 depending on what the yarn will be used for. 7. After the plying process the yarn goes thru a steamer to set the yarn then onto a cone. 8. Yarn from the cone(s) can be made into skeins as desired or shipped as a cone(s).

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