NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Where do fleeces go?  (Read 5322 times)

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Where do fleeces go?
« on: June 18, 2012, 11:32:23 pm »
I've just had my sheep sheared (thank goodness!) and know that there are places that take fleeces. I forgot to ask my shearer, so wondered if anyone could help with a phone number or website that will tell me where to go locally - Retford in North Notts. Thanks.
4 pet sheep

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 11:50:07 pm »
They are supposed to go to the wool board, but I think you can opt out. I believe they collect.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 01:06:52 am »
Talk to the Wool Marketing Board.  Find your local office here:
http://www.britishwool.org.uk/boardoffices.asp?pageid=55

They are usually very knowledgeable and very helpful.  They'll see you right  :thumbsup:

I'm not sure what the WMB's minimum pickup would be, but they'd charge quite a bit for fetching it.  Most small producers pop their wool in with their local farmer's.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Haylo-peapod

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 08:46:50 am »
Looking at the depots, I think your nearest depot will probably be Ashbourne.
 
You can get a woolsack from the depot and drop it off there yourself - this will almost certainly be the most cost effective way to go about it.
 
You will need to get registered before you do the dropoff. I think you will probably fall under Central Wool Growers.
 
If you have any questions have a chat to either CWG or Richard Toon at Ashbourne (all details on the Wool Board website) - they will be able to help you. I registered earlier this year and found everyone very helpful and friendly.
 
You will only get a tiny amount of money when you take the fleeces in as the bulk of the payment is made the following year.
 
But as Steve Hants says you can opt out if you don't want to use the Wool Board.

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2012, 09:26:50 am »
Thanks for your help! I can now start to make contact with the right people!
4 pet sheep

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2012, 09:29:41 am »
With just four fleeces, is it worth going down the Wool Board route?   If they are nice fleeces you could skirt them (I can tell you how) then offer them for sale to handspinners or felters on E-bay.  You will get far more for them than from the BWMB.   Or - you could even take the plunge and learn to spin or felt them yourself.  Making something from your own sheeps wool is wonderful, especially if they are your pets.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

Mallows Flock

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Shepton mallet
    • Somerset Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2012, 05:30:10 pm »
I've just had my sheep sheared (thank goodness!) and know that there are places that take fleeces. I forgot to ask my shearer, so wondered if anyone could help with a phone number or website that will tell me where to go locally - Retford in North Notts. Thanks.
I sell mine normally through ebay... get a nice price through that and I give away any that aren't great to felters and spinners on Freecycle.
From 3 to 30 and still flocking up!

moprabbit

  • Joined Oct 2011
  • North Notts
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 10:52:45 pm »
Last year I had 2 balls of wool spun from 2 of the fleeces with the intention of getting a couple of hats knitted, but unfortunately I can't knit so the wool is still sitting in a bag!! But I might be able to get them ready for sale to handspinners. They aren't anything very special - my sheep are Charolais X Mule, although one of sheep had a beautiful thick coat!  What sort of price should I ask?  Fleecewife - thanks for your offer - how do you 'skirt' them?
4 pet sheep

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 11:16:14 pm »
What makes a 'good fleece'?  Most of the fleeces shorn off my flock end up bitty with a few holes in them and aren't all in one complete piece.  What should a fleece you intend to sell look like - is it acceptable to be a bit ragged?
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 11:43:23 pm »
This is a bit long so get your coffee now  :)
 
Skirting and preparing a fleece for sale:
Lay the shorn fleece out, cut side down.  Tear off/pull apart with your hands any dirty bits of fleece around the back end and under the armpits, front and back - the wool here can be thick and greasy, like a sweaty dag  :P  Pull off any tatty or very short bits around the edges to neaten it up.  Check the belly wool, especially on a tups fleece - tear off any urine stained bits.
 
Cast your eye over the fleece - if it's covered in bits of vegetation, hay, thistles, burrs and so on it is not worth selling.  If there is just a little and you can pick it off easily then it's fine.
 
Next check for soundness/tenderness of the staple - take a small bundle of fibres from the fleece, keeping them in the same order they were growing. Hold one end firmly in each hand and snap your hands apart a few times.  A sound fleece will make a nice twang, whereas a tender or damaged fleece will try to pull apart and the sound will be weak - hold it by your ear to hear better.
 
Check for felting - gently see if you can pull the fleece apart, all over.  Don't actually pull it apart, but grip with your hands as if to start ripping.  A felted fleece won't budge, but with a nice open fleece you will feel that none of the fibres are stuck together.  No-one wants an already felted fleece, even for felting (where you need to start by carding just as you do with spinning)
 
What is a good fleece?  This depends largely on what you want it for.  A fleece which is good for making carpets will not be the same good fleece for making vests, or for weaving fine suiting.  It is though a good idea to see what sort of fleece you have before offering it for sale, so you can give an accurate description.  Each particular breed has a fleece with particular qualities, so check your breed description or standard and compare your individual fleeces against that.  Then you can sell it as 'typical texel fleece' or whatever.
However, for a general idea, look first at the crimp of the fleece - how many crinkles per inch are there along the length of the fibre ?  How long is the fleece, from the skin to the tips?
Then look at the fineness.  No-one will expect you to have had your fleeces micron-counted, unless you breed top-end Shetlands or other fine-woolled breeds, but you can give a rough idea of fineness.  Take a small staple of the fleece, hold each end in one hand as before, but this time spread the fibres open, into a mesh.  Hold this up to the light, or a dark background if the wool is white, and you can see if the fibres are fine or coarse.  It helps to have something to compare them to, as most fleeces look fairly fine like this.  You could try looking at human hair for comparison, your own and a baby's, say.
You can assess for softness by placing your flat hand on the cut side of the fleece with your eyes shut. Your finger tips are the most sensitive part of your hand so you can feel all but the finest fleeces there, and the middle of your palm is the least sensitive, so you will feel only a fairly coarse fleece there.  Cloud-soft fibre such as angora and some alpaca cannot be felt at all, with any part of your hand, though you would feel it with your lips.  If you bring your hand down onto a really fine fleece with your eyes shut, you cannot tell when you have reached it.
 
If your fleece has fallen to bits a little during shearing (usually when the sheep has struggled and got a foot in the fleece then kicked about, or has run away halfway through  ;D ) you can reconstruct it a bit by laying it out cut side down, then fitting it back together so it has all the right bits in the right place.  Push it all closer together then roll and it should stick together fairly well.  It certainly demonstrates that the fleece isn't cotted/felted if it falls to bits.
 
Roll it neatly, cut side out, and pack in a non-plastic bag, labelled with the breed, year shorn, sex of sheep and your details, plus any other info you want to include.   When advertising, include a general description of the fleece, including colour, staple length, if it's crimpy, soft, robust (ie coarser), double coat and any other info you think would help a craft worker to select it.
 
 
 
If your fleeces are clean and well-presented your customers will come back for more.

 
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 12:18:23 am by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2012, 12:28:40 am »
Price - please never ask less than £5 for a fleece.  If it's worth less than that in your eyes then don't offer it for sale.   If you are happy that you have prepared the fleece well, as in my previous message, and that it is suitable for craft work then as a first-time seller I would ask about £10.  Once you are more used to preparing fleece for sale, and you know your market better, you might ask for more than that for a heavy, fine and crimpy fleece.  If you are breeding fleece sheep at the top end of the game you could ask up to £40 for a good example (I have only ever sold one fleece at that price, and then it was in two halves.  One half was spun into a super-fine heirloom baby shawl and I don't know what was made of the other half.  I kept the skirtings myself  :D :D )
 
I feel it is very important to have confidence in the value of your wool crop, so your buyers value it too.  Wool is a wonderful fibre  :love:
www.scothebs.co.uk

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus

Bramblecot

  • Joined Jul 2008
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 08:13:27 am »
FW :wave: , thank you for such an informative post - this is exactly the type of advice that is really hard to find  unless you have a friend to show you. :bouquet: :thumbsup:

Remy

  • Joined Dec 2011
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 08:54:11 am »
Thanks FW that's brilliant!
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 09:14:37 am »
They aren't anything very special - my sheep are Charolais X Mule, although one of sheep had a beautiful thick coat! 

Don't underestimate them - our commercial flock comprises Mules, Texel crosses and Charollais crosses (including some out of Mules) and some of our fleeces are just beautiful for handspinning, especially those from their first shearing.

I still find it hard to judge all the points when the fleece is still on the sheep (although Fleecewife's trick of 'finger-spinning' a little wool pulled from the neck helps a lot.)  But if the fleece is clean, feels soft, and is not all felted / matted together when it comes of the sheep, chances are it would handspin.  If you can see the crimp, that's another good pointer.

If you can find a local handspinner who would give you a verdict, you could also use his/her comments as a reference / quote on eBay, ravelry or wherever you decide to sell them.  You could also track down your local Guild and take a fleece or two along to one of their meetings to see if they like them / want to buy any.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

ZacB

  • Joined Apr 2012
  • Suffolk
Re: Where do fleeces go?
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 09:36:26 am »
Yet another topic I haven't got time to digest at the moment  ;D
Is there a limit on the amount of topic's / threads you can subscribe to, I hope not as the list seems to be getting longer & longer. Great forum  :thumbsup:

 

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