Prepping a Fleece for the Mill
Customer Service Agreement (one for each BOX being sent)
Order Form (one for each BAG being sent)
You've sheared your critters or you've either bought a fleece or been given one by someone and you aren't quite sure what to do with it next?
Here's a break down of some of your options and the ways we can help!
Skirting- First you're going to want to open the fleece up and skirt it. Even if you've been told it was skirted or you purchased it from a show-don't assume it was done thoroughly. Open it up and look at what you've got!
The quality and cleanliness of the fleece you send to the mill is equivalent to what your finished product will be returned like. Fiber with minimal vegetable matter will result in a higher quality end product. Remove hay pieces, burrs, sticks, tumble weeds, manure, toenails, and other debris. We will return or dispose of fleeces with excess vegetable matter. Send fiber that has been well prepared-skirted and sorted. Understand and agree that Enchanted Mill and Ranch will reject fiber that is not fit for processing as is. We do not skirt, if you do not want it in your finished product, please remove it before you send it.
Here is a video of how I skirt my alpaca fleeces-Skirting Video. Skirting most other breeds would be similar. You're looking at similar things:
- There is no poop in the fleece
- Remove any felted bits or hard crusty pieces
- Make sure VM (Vegetable Matter) is at a minimum. Large amounts of vegetable matter should be removed. The machines can remove some VM but they don't perform miracles and it causes wear and tear and extra time for us to have to pick the VM out of the drums before moving on to the next order-and when there is excess VM you receive an additional fee. We also do not remove or run burrs and cactus through our equipment-please throw those out! *If any of your fiber comes into the mill for processing with bugs, eggs or larva it will be tossed IMMEDIATELY!
- Remove foreign objects-clipped toenails, bits of twine, etc.
- Shorter fibers and second cuts should be removed. You'll want to make sure your fiber staple length is consistent with what you're wanting out of your end product. See the checklist below for recommended processing options.
Do Not Send in fleeces that contain this
Options for what we can help you do with your fiber:
- Yarn-in order for us to process your fiber to yarn it has to have a minimum staple length of 3" to 3 1/2". The more consistent throughout the fleece the better. To help create a nice yarn-ideally you don't want the lengths to vary more than 1". We can process larger varying lengths-just know it may create inconsistencies in the yarn. Yarn lots require a 2 pound minimum order per yarn type. If you needed you can combine multiple like fleeces/fiber to reach this minimum or blend with other types of fiber.
- Clouds, Roving and Batts-fiber 2" and longer can be put into roving. Varying lengths are fine. Any shorter than 2" and it falls apart. Cloud-fiber taken to cloud is just a clean fiber carded and can be used by hand spinners, felters, batting to stuff pillows, stuffed animals, etc. Batts-We produce approximately half pound and one pound batts-based on your preferences. Hand spinners and felters use batts, quilters sometimes use them as batting, we can also take batts to the needle felter and make felt sheets. We have options with felt sheets too that we can discuss.
- Rug Yarn can usually take fibers as short as 1 3/4". That short and you will have some extra loss at the carder due to it falling through the machine. Rug Yarn is a core spun bulky yarn where the fibers are spun around a poly/cotton core. This can be used for bulky crochet, knitting, weaving, peg looms, etc.
Clear Bag- Once you've decided what you'd like your fiber/fleece to be processed to then it needs to be placed in a clear bag with a completed order form. Why a clear bag? When the fiber arrives at the mill-we can clearly see what is in the bag, we can see the order form and it makes for a quicker process when stepping into the storage area to find and grab the next order for processing.
Complete Forms- Complete one Customer Service Agreement per box sent and one Order Form Bag Insert with EACH bag. Whether you are shipping or bringing your fleeces in person, please print and fill out the forms above to save time and confusion at check-in. Fiber arriving in house without proper paperwork or identification becomes property of Enchanted Mill and Ranch, we simply do not have time to track owners of sent fiber without the proper forms.
- Blend a small amount of merino. We do not process 100% Suri Alpaca into yarn. All Suri Alpaca that is sent for spinning will require 30% merino be added.
- Complete the processing in a different state: such as roving, batt, cloud or felt instead of yarn
- Complete the processing as is, but may result in lumpy/bumpy, or thick/thin yarn
- Return the fiber
If you have questions, please message us, as we are more than happy to answer as many questions as we can.