• Liz

Getting your fiber ready for the mill so you get the best roving back

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Welcome! I'm Liz the owner of the mill. Lately, people have been asking lots of different questions so I decided it was time to add a blog to the website. The most asked question is, What do I need to do to my fiber before I drop it off? The first thing to remember is there is usually a waitlist, which varies on the time of year. My suggestion is to call ahead and let us know you when want to be added to the list. If our storage area is full you'll be added to the queue and I'll give you a call when its almost your turn. This will give you time to get it ready.

Always remember the cleaner it is when you drop it off the better product you will get back. The carder will kick out some of the junk, but not all of it, especially not hay chaff or seed heads they will just be spread throughout the roving.

white raw wool fleece
A fleece ready to be sorted

The first thing you need to do is open up the fleece, cut side down, on a clean sheet or skirting table. Shake the fleece out so any of the short cuts that the shearer made are removed. Then start going around the fleece removing all the belly wool, this wool is the dirtiest wool on the animal so you will be able to tell. As you are going around the fleece remove any manure tags, hay, sticks, burdock, felted sections, etc…

A person opening up a wool fleece
An Example of clean fleece

Next, start pulling apart the fleece. Yes, I know this freaks a lot of people out and it takes more time, but when the fiber is ready to be processed the mill is going to do this anyway. Think of this as extra insurance that you will get a great product in return. The pickier you are the better. When you skirt just the edges and don’t pull it apart you tend to miss some pretty gross sections. Don’t overthink this it is super easy. Just grab a chunk of fiber and open it up. I make a “good” pile and a “bad” pile.

raw white fleece that is contaminated with hay
Fiber you don't want

The good fiber can be packed in either a garbage bag or a lawn bag for the mill. Make sure it is well labeled with all your information so it doesn’t get lost or mixed up with someone else's. Finally, give us a call and let's know when you are dropping it off so we can go over ant details I need to write in the bags, especially if you are blending fleeces together or ones that you want dyed. The more details you give the better! If you take your time and go through these steps you'll get back roving that you will look forward to spinning .

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