Wool from the Mill…


My wool arrived back from the mill!  My 2014 wool!   The stuff I sent in back in December.  I am sorry to say that nearly all the mills in our area are terribly backed up.  It takes months to get your roving back.  Months!  This took three months only because it was the slow season.   If I were to send in this year’s shearing, I probably would not get it back for 6 months!

But thankfully, these 12 pounds of nice roving should keep me busy for awhile!


I was very surprised when the box arrived, it seemed so small.  I pictured a ton of roving in my mind, but then to be very honest, I wasn’t totally sure what to expect.   I forgot about the compression factor…   And when I opened the box, it started to expand and expand….  soon I had at least three times the size of the box!  There was so much!


It’s a nice uniform thickness, just perfect for spinning.   It’s regular roving, not pencil roving, which as I understand is much thinner.   You still need to draft this roving out, for really easy spinning.   Still, it’s super nice to have it very uniform.   Makes for some beautiful singles to spin with!  DSC_0153

Now, I had three colors of Shetland wool and one color of Angora mohair.   The mohair came back so beautiful, soft and airy!   I can not wait to spin this stuff!  It’s like angel hair.  So beautiful and soft.   They had to blend in a wee bit of merino wool to make it all work out right.   Mohair alone can just be a little too hard to spin.  It’s a common practice.  The black, gray and cream Shetland was super soft and nice as well.  A joy to spin!  DSC_0154 DSC_0155

I wish you could touch this mohair.  Oh my gosh.   It’s just like feather down, it’s so amazing.   It’s making me think I need more Angora goats!!!




Well, the studio is now full of fiber!  Our 2015 harvest of 35 pounds is sitting on the table and the 12 pounds of processed wool is now on the sewing machine cabinet!  47 pounds of fiber!   Oh my!  I better get spinning!!!


This is the first batch..  I did the black Shetland/Welsh Mountain Sheep blend.  It’s probably my least favorite wool of our herd to spin.   We have sold our full Welsh sheep and one half and now just have two that are quarter Welsh and that is good.   They have beautiful fiber as it’s 3/4 Shetland.  Their lambs will be pretty much Shetland…  1/8th Welsh?  This spun up super nice though!   I love the touch of it and it has a nice bit of crimp to it to make a slightly springy single when spun!  IMG_1938

I did another bobbin full of the greyish Shetland…  it spun just as nicely!   I think I had just a little less of the grey because when I plyed it, I had a little ball of black left.   No matter.  I’ll just do some more singles of the black and ply it with another batch!  IMG_1939

I love the barber pole effect of hand spun wool.  I just think it’s fairly neat.  I’m considering dying this wool…  to see how neat it looks with the black plyed.   I saw some really cool yarn on Etsy that was electric blue and black and it was very stunning.   I ordered some dyes and I’m so excited for them to arrive.  Big girl professional dyes!   No more Kool-Aid for me!  I have the dying bug!!!



I know I have a long way to go before I consider myself a master spinner, but I am excited that my spinning is getting better and better!   I am so thrilled to see this yarn turn out to be nicely balanced!   Balanced yarn is a plyed yarn that doesn’t go nuts curling back on it’s self.  It will lay nicely and not act all nutty.   Mine is doing a great job of that.   So happy!

Well, in conclusion, my first mill experience was not too bad.   The time delay is a little hard to deal with.   I guess waiting for my first batch just seemed like forever.   But if I were to send in some now, the material I have back should keep me pretty busy, I would think.  I guess that is how it should work.   By the time you run out of one year’s material, you would have the next year showing up.

The price ended up being just under $8.50 a pound and that included washing, picking, carding and shipping both ways.  The mill charges about $7 a pound, but you have to include shipping because cost is cost and shipping a huge box of wool can be a little pricey!   If you had a mill close by I suppose that would help things.  But I don’t!

Overall, I like the condition and result of the nice consistent roving.  I was a little surprised to see a good deal of the VM left in the roving.   Now most of it fell right out while I was spinning.  I do like that this mill doesn’t do the chemical de-vegetable matter destroying…  so I guess that means you end up with a little more of the stuff in your roving.   Can’t have it both ways I suppose.

We are redesigning our hay feeders this year so that they feed hay low and not near or up higher for the sheep.   Apparently, that one little factor will help to keep your fleeces a lot cleaner.  Makes a lot of sense.   Sometimes our guys are covered in hay as they get in and dig and toss it around.  We are working to make some feeders like these below…  where the hay is given to them on the side and they have to reach in and grab it.  It’s supposed to cut hay loss by a third or more!

awesome goat feeder 2 awesome goat feeder1

Right now, it’s not that big of a problem because they are shorn and the chaft just falls off them.   But by fall, when they have an inch or two of fiber, it does become an issue.   Some of our sheep seem to really gather stuff, others are super clean.  I guess you either watch the issue on the sheep or you spend a lot more time getting it out of the finished fibers!   One way or another, you have to deal with VM (vegetable matter) when you raise your own wool!

My longer term goal is to buy a hand carder for our own wool.   I would like it to be able to make art batts with custom fibers as well as to process our own here when we need it.  I think in the long run it would be more economical.   Hopefully by the end of the year we will be able to afford one.   That’s the game plan!   We’ll get there…


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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of BuckeyeBluegrass.com as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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