It will soon be that time of year again -- you'll find a wonderful fleece at a spring wool show, be handed one from a friendly neighbor, or go through your stash and decide you just aren't going to get it all done without help.
So, take a good look at your fleece, and decide how you want it processed, and if one of these well-known mills (in the US) would be the one for it to go to. These are all places I've had fiber processed (all with good results).
- Ohio Valley Natural Fibers: sent them several large, greasy Romney fleeces and got back wonderful pin-drafted, clean roving that was great for the learn to spin kits.
- Zeilinger Wool Company: sent them several rounds of VMy and/or muddy California Red fleeces, always get back lovely soft, clean, VM-free roving.
- Wooly Knob Fiber Mill: the spinner's friend, these guys will keep a fleece to itself and give you back clouds of soft roving. They've done some of the one-fleece runs for Amelia's Mill as well as the Shetland/Alpaca roving.
- Stonehedge: lovely to work with, did a great job dealing with my VMy llama, and made a nice blend of llama/CVM wool for me -- that's the blend, shown below.
- Morro Fleece Works: wow! hands down the best there is, very worth it for your fine Cormos and Merinos that might nep on the other mills' machines.
There are also smaller mills, locally operated -- I know of one near me, Taylored Fibers in Quilcene, WA with a PG Exotica machine. So ask around, you may find something nearby that can handle your wool. Barry Taylor's done a great job on a variety of medium wools for me, Romney cross, Jacob, Ryeland, and Dorset.
When deciding if a mill is right for your fleece, consider the type of fleece, what the mill can handle (Zeilinger's says right up front that fine fleeces are likely to nep), what the mill can produce (roving, top, pin-drafted roving, batts), the likely backlog at the mill -- call them and ask, and the cost of processing -- be sure to ask about specials when you call.
What do you look for in a fleece?
What fiber preparations are there?
How do I know what sheep breed to look for?
And check out this recently updated post:
What online fiber forums are there?
© 20 February 2010 by Ask The Bellwether, posted at http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/