Saturday, 6 February 2010

Wool carding services

I know that there are many people out there looking for mini mills to scour and card their fleeces. I also know how difficult it can be to track them down, so I thought I'd give details of all the services I'm aware of in Britain at the moment, in no order of preference, I hasten to add.

  1. The Natural Fibre Company is based in Cornwall and offers a full service through to spinning, but requires a minimum quantity of 20 kilos.
  2. The Woolly Shepherd is based in Somerset and offers a scouring and carding service. For those of you keen to d-i-y it is also possible to pay a flat fee to spend the day washing and carding your own fleeces.
  3. Diamond Fibres, based in East Sussex, offer a full service, from as little as one fleece. Unfortunately they are unable to process fleeces of primitive breeds, including some Shetlands.  Diamond fibres charge on received weight of wool.
  4. Norweft is based in Denbighshire, and offers a full service, from as little as one fleece. They specialise in alpaca fibre, but will process sheep fleeces too.  They charge on the weight after scouring.
  5. Cold Harbour Mill is based in Devon. It offers a limited service, only accepting scoured fleeces.
  6. The Halifax Spinning Mill is a new venture, particularly exciting for those of us in the north. It is based in the East Riding of Yorkshire - not at Halifax at all! The mill is now fully operational and offers a complete service, from as little as one fleece.  They charge on returned weight.
  7. Griffiths Mill is based in Derbyshire.  They offer a range of services from scouring through to spinning.  They charge on received weight.
NB.  For those of you unsure about whether calculations are better based on the received weight or the returned weight, bear in mind that you will lose an average of a third of the weight after scouring.  Also, remember that you will get back what you send - by which I mean, if you send dirty, contaminated fleeces, this will affect what you get back, both in terms of quantity and quality.

During 2009 both Woolcount and Meon Valley ceased trading. There is also a mill in Lanarkshire, which I'm not very familiar with, but again, this mill offers no scouring service.  As far as I'm aware the New Lanark Mill requires large quantities - upwards of 150 kilos.

So while you're deciding where to take your fleeces here are some beautiful, carded fleeces from some of my Shetland sheep.

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