Fiber Washing: We wash the fleeces to remove dirt and grease from the fleece. Animals can have varying degrees of contamination from vegetable matter, dust, sand and grit. It is imperative to remove this matter before further processing. We wash alpaca fleeces in a three bath system: two with ajax soap and one rinse with syntholube (if needed) to help control static buildup later on when running the fibers through the machines. We wash bison and wool in a three bath system also: one with Ecoscour, one with ajax and a rinse with syntholube (if needed). In both washing scenerios, we leave one of the washes in overnight as it makes a big improvement in cleanliness.
Drying: We dry fiber on large open mesh racks. The fiber is opened by hand then spread in a thin layer over the mesh. We us a fan on the end overnight to dry the fiber for further processing the next day.
Picking: The next process following washing is where the fiber is opened. This is needed to break up dense clumps of fiber and to tease out any entanglement prior to fiber carding. Fiber blending can also be done at this step. When Picking is done, we call this fiber "Cloud" fiber because it looks so fluffy like a cloud. Personally, this is my favorite fiber to handspin from and it is what we use to make our speciality corespun "wild" yarns for shawls.
Carding: This step arranges the fibers in parallel orientation in a consistently even manner. The output of the carder can be a fine web of fiber which is accumulated in the form of a Batt, or more typically, precessed immediately into a Roving for handspinning or felting.
PinDrafting: This is the process of running one or more Rovings through a series of combs to blend and align the fibers further for machine spinning. In this process the fibers are further refined in their alignment making the linear density or the weight per unit length more consistent to achieve spinning of a predetermined thickness. Our machines are NOT computerized. Our thickness is determined by practice and experience of the person in charge of spinning.
Spinning: Fiber spinning (in an S direction) is accomplished on our 12-head Warner-Swasey Spinning machine. Our machine was built in 1964 and it is truly an antique. It produces yarn that is a tad bit "thick/thin". If you are looking for a unique machine spun yarn that is between fingering and dark worsted weight, this is the machine to spin your fiber on!
Plying: Fiber plying is accomplished on the other side of the spinner. Gears are removed and machine directions are reversed so that the machine runs in the opposite or Z twist direction. Two singles are loaded up and plyed together at this point for a 2-Ply yarn.
Skeining: This step removes the yarn from the machine spools and puts it in an oblong bundle. You can request the amount of yards you desire in each skein. We do not have the ability to produce cones.
Steaming: Steaming is the last step and it involves hanging the skeins out (we put our on a long PVC pipe), then you apply gentle weight to the bottom of the skeins. When steam is then run along the length of the skeins, they twist, pull, and puff out. This wiggling of the ply's in the yarn is what "sets" the twist so that when you cut your yarn into pieces it doesn't just untwist!
Have a couple of critters?
Interested in getting those fleeces processed?
You've come to the right place, SageRidge Mill & Critters can process your small batches of raw fiber (alpaca, llama, mohair, bison, wool, yak, quivet, dog, etc.) into beautiful cloud, roving, batt, sliver, felt and/or yarns & ROPE for finished products or for resale!
Fleece is weighed after skirting for the following processing prices.....
wash/ rinse/dry only: $6.00/lb (heavy grease and needs extra wash $3.00/lb)
wash/rinse/pick (clouds): $8.50/lb
wash/pick/card (batts or roving): $18.00/lb
wash/pick/card/pindraft once (Top): $23.00/lb
wash/pick/card/pindraft twice (Top): $25.00/lb
lace wt (single-ply) $32.00/lb
finger/sport/bulky wt (multi-ply): $35.00/lb
speciality (multi-ply with bits thrown in): $38.00/lb
either 12 ply or 24 ply (20 or 50 foot coils) $55.00/lb
wash/pick/card (batts)/felt/full: $27.00
handspinning (specialize in variegated): $50.00/lb
If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call, 307-758-4616, and let's talk about your fiber processing needs!
We specialize in huacaya alpaca, because that is what we raise, but we are also willing to give it a try with any fiber you would like to send our way!
Felting is a huge passion on the ranch. We use a roller felting for part of the work but layout and fulling is by hand. We do not sell any felt that isn't fulled and ready to use unless by special request. Hand spinning is also something we are still doing, so if you have a super special fleece, we can certainly take great care of it for you.
Unlike the larger mills, we prefer to run smaller batches (down to 1 lb!) for individual animals. We are a small operation and it makes the day go so much faster if we get to change colors once in a while!
Blending (mixing two different fiber types like wool and alpaca together starting at the picker and working through to the spinner) with other fibers is an option, we do have limited amount of wool or llama at reasonable prices.
Plying two colors of yarn together is not "blending", no extra charge. Running two colors side by side in the carder for a multi-color roving or batts is not "blending", no extra charge!
Contact us: email@example.com or 307-758-4616
Mailing: PO Box 65, Clearmont, WY 82835
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