The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: maddy on May 25, 2016, 03:11:01 pm

Title: Fleeces
Post by: maddy on May 25, 2016, 03:11:01 pm
Hi does anyone know where I can send my ryeland fleeces to get them washed and prepared and spun into yarns of wool?  Would this be expensive and is it easier to market balls of wool?
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: Rosemary on May 25, 2016, 04:09:55 pm
We used The Natural Fibre Company to process 13 Coloured Ryeland fleeces from our 2015 clip. They were very helpful.

We made our own labels and Dan spent a couple fo evenings watching TV and putting the labels on. We're now selling them through our on-line shop (

It's not cheap - the thirteen fleeces cost £800 to process plus the cost of the shearer - but if we can sell them all, it will make a nice wee profit. We got 288 50g balls back. Just remember that yarn is Vatable. And therein lies the rub - accessing a market. And we haven't got that sussed yet.

We reckoned that there was a bigger market for knitting wool than raw fleece (which is how we used to try to sell them) plus the yarn doesn't go off and it's quite easy to store (and not too bulky).

We're sending of our 2016 clip this week.

Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: Buttermilk on May 25, 2016, 04:10:37 pm
Halifax Mills ( It is expensive though.
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: TheSmilingSheep on May 25, 2016, 04:15:37 pm
I guess it might depend upon where you live....  We use the Natural Fibre Company in Launceston (Cornwall).  Yes, it is expensive!  We get our fleece spun into yarn, and then use the hand weaver in Bovey Tracey (Devon) to make throws/shawls/scarves...

The 'selling on' is obviously the key factor - whether it's wool or something else...  We don't find an easy market, and keep meaning to put some proper time aside to effectively market what we're doing (which we are passionate about - the thought of the fleeces just being dumped, or turned into insulation etc. is a reality I completely understand but think I'm in denial about!!!!).  From my own experience, and that of friends, it can be a challenge to break even - which is a shame.

Would love to read of others' experiences.

Good luck. (post crossing with other's already!
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: Bramblecot on May 25, 2016, 06:13:48 pm
Ditto all comments from TSS above.  Marketing is key  :-\ .

We will be at the Sherborne Castle Country Fair on BH Monday where you can see the products from our Shetland and GFD.  Please come to the RBST marquee and say hello :wave: .
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: Rosemary on May 25, 2016, 07:13:14 pm
I always have the feeling that smallholders could co-ordinate marketing better  :)
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: Dans on May 30, 2016, 12:15:34 am
Is the price to get them spun professionally based on weight or is it multiple factors. Just had our first shear off our sheep and I'm just not sure how much time I will have to do much with them. The fleeces are also tiny. Is much lost in the process, not sure how much we would actually end up getting back!  I'm wondering if this would be an option for us.

Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: Lost sheep on May 30, 2016, 12:10:54 pm
Hi,  I wash and handspin fleece for a lot of my shepherds as well as buying fleece for my shop. In North Wales

Surprised reading these posts that so many don't know that they can sell to others,  the wool marketing board really support me and the products I make from your fleece. 

The lost sheep company specialising in Welsh and rare breeds and offer washing and spinning services ad well as teaching heritage crafts and selling wool products in my shop  _ trying to help put value on British wool

Contact me if I can help
Title: Re: Fleeces
Post by: SallyintNorth on May 30, 2016, 09:03:49 pm
Have a look at the Griffiths Mill website, and also the Halifax fella.  (Will dig his card out and put proper name of company.). Both will do any quantity from one fleece upwards.  Natural Fibre Company are very good, but minimum 20kgs - so you need to save up a few years' clips if you've only a few sheep.  Or go into their mix-n-match scheme, where they combine similar clips from several flocks.

In all cases, you need to skirt thoroughly yourself, only send good quality fibre.  They'll process all you send.  Washing/scouring removes some weight - typically 25%, can be more.

Some charge on weight submitted, some on weight produced.  Each process is charged for - scouring, picking, carding, combing, spinning, plying, balling.  The NFC website has a good explanation of all the processes.