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Frequently Asked Questions

Processing
How do I know I will get my own fleece back?
What is the turn around time?
Why not schedule colors and turn around times?
What is your minimum?
What is your washing or scouring method?
What about the dander or lice in my fleece?
Can you process alpaca, camel and exotics?

Preparation
How do I “skirt” my fleece?
What about the stickers in my fleece?

Products
How large are your batts?
Tell me about your felts and pricing for them.
What is your “spiral blend”?

Shipping, Payment etc.
How is my order returned?
How does shipping work?
When do I pay for processing?
What methods of payment do you accept?
What are your shop hours?
Do you give tours of the processing shop?

How do I know I will get my own fleece back?
I am well aware that this is a big concern for many people. My background (my past life) was warehouse management and production scheduling. Even though I now have a small shop with only a few employees, I am diligent and strict with keeping each fleece labeled and separate. Every incoming order has a work order written up for each fleece or batch. This paper work has all information for the fiber and of the owner and it stays with the fleece thru the entire process.  When I have two fleeces exactly alike in the shop at the same time I keep them completely apart so as not to mix them up. It would be much easier for us to run one white Merino right behind another to save time, cleaning and adjustments. But we never do this because it would be too easy to get them mixed up during processing.  With each of these procedures practiced and in place, I can assure you that you will always have your own fiber returned to you.

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What is the turn around time?
We go by color, so if I receive your white fleece while I am still on whites, you may get your fiber back in just a month. However, I generally have had at least a 4-month backlog for a few years now. You can check my "Special Notes" for current updates. I can never give an exact date as to when yours will be finished because every fleece is different. I also have older, used industrial machines that sometimes go down for unpredicted repairs. In the color cycle, we are doing whites for at least 2 months and then move to tans, grays, taupes, etc. all the way up to blacks and then back down the colors into whites again. This avoids any color contamination.

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Why not schedule colors and turn around times?
This would be impossible to do because less than half of the folks who call, e-mail or fax me stating they will ship their fleece “next week” or “tomorrow” do so.  This is understandable. Things come up in our lives and priorities change. I also have many folks who simply ship their fiber to me with no prior notice. This is fine because they include basic instructions for me in the box.  So knowing what will actually be here physically next month or next week is impossible for me to know.  Certainly if a customer has a deadline for a craft show or fiber arts entry, we will do whatever we can to get those orders turned around in time.  But I can never give an exact day and time for completion. There are too many variables. 

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What is your minimum?
In general, I prefer at least 4 lbs. of raw or 3 lbs. of clean fiber for a run.  But we can do smaller quantities with some stipulations. First, there is a $25 minimum charge per batch or fleece. Second, these tiny orders usually take longer to get through the shop. In washing, I usually have two bagged 3 to 5 lb. grease weight orders in the washer. This is so that they will spin out balanced. A 1 lb. bag of fleece won’t balance with the average 4 lb. bag so I have to wait until I have another small order or several small orders to have a balanced spin cycle. Third, with my large commercial card, the start of a roving and the end of a roving are where most of the adjustments and attention are required. The small orders loose the “perfecting” stage because they are in and out of the card rollers before we can even find precise adjustments. To eliminate this we have to run another similar order right before or right after the small order so as to keep the web, or roving, continuous. You can either provide me with the like fleece to run close to the small order or I will have one here to use. For example, if you give me 2 lbs. of grey Romney wool, I will need to run a like grey Romney fleece immediately before or immediately after your order. The only negative thing here is that your roving may have a few fibers (contamination) of the other fleece’s roving in it. This needs to be acceptable for you.

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What is your washing or scouring method?
I have typical home-use washing machines and use them for only soaking and spinning out. My hot water heaters are set at a much higher temperature than your home water heater. We generally do 3 washes and 2 rinses or what ever the fiber requires.  For “prewashed” incoming orders, I reserve the right to rewash and bill accordingly for any further scouring your fleece may require. I have found that about 75% of the “already washed” fibers will still need more cleaning in order to remove the dirt or lanolin and card properly.  We use primarily natural or citrus based soaps for scouring. I use no harsh chemicals or carbonization.

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What about the dander or lice in my fleece?
Lice are sometimes seen in llama, mohair and alpaca. Dander or skin flakes similar to dandruff is occasionally seen in mohair goats and in the dual coat wool breeds like Shetland, Icelandic, and Karakul sheep. The good news about lice is they die when they loose their host so we are only seeing the dead nits (or eggs) on the fibers strands. The animal may have had lice at one time, then was wormed or deloused, but the nits are still in the fibers, just dead. Skin flakes or dander can be hereditary or due to a lack of zinc or minerals in the diet. Most common in the dual coat sheep is skin flakes in the fleece from natural molting or shedding that occurs when the spring weather warms. Often called rooing, this is a normal process where the sheep shed their undercoat. In the past these sheep breeds were sometimes plucked by hand but currently most shepherds shear the fiber hoping to catch the time and weather before rooing occurs. This dander, skin flakes and lice nits can cause problems in my card and at the pin drafting machine. These items do not wash out at scouring so remain in the fiber through the processing. They act like sticky little pieces of gum and adhere to the card combs and the exit rollers on both machines. Then the fibers stick to these exit rollers also which then causes wrapping. So where the exit rollers should be extracting a nicely combed and formed roving, it is actually un-combing the fibers and wrapping them around the rollers. Not all lice or skin flakes create this problem but it occurs in at least half of the cases, with some worse than others. If we run into this problem the fleece will be processed at the higher priced carding rate and then usually cannot be pin drafted. So the order would be returned as loose roving only in a box or bag. It is always harder to see lice or dander in the white fleeces. These contaminants are much more obvious and visible in the colored fibers.

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Can you process alpaca, camel and exotics?
Yes, I can process these fibers and most exotics due to my carding machines many adjustments. My Ashworth – Whitin card can be reduced to a snails pace speed and the in feed can accept very thin layers of picked fiber.  These fibers are more expensive to process due to this slow speed and the ultra thin feeding. I do not have a de-hairer but can refer you to other processors who do.

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How do I “skirt” my fleece?
Skirting is removing all of the undesirable pieces from your raw fleece. This would be matted or felted parts, dung tags, second cuts, coarser fibers, hoof trimmings, stickers, vegetable material and any foreign objects.  Even purchased fleeces should be closely checked for these items. I will be pulling out any items that will harm my machines but I prefer not to skirt the fleeces. This is too subjective and each person has a different comfort level and/or application for their wool.  If fleeces come in that have obviously not been skirted there will be a $25 fee per each to do so.

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What about the stickers in my fleece?
Vegetable matter (VM) in your fleece is a controversial and much discussed topic. I cannot process fiber with too much VM contamination. Some of the VM will come out of the fiber during carding but it is just being deposited into my machines. It may take me 3 hours to card your fleece but then another hour to clean my machines. It is just not worth it to any of us. You can always hand pick your fleeces. We do not do this service. As you will find, it is very tedious, filthy and time consuming. Also extremely subjective. I find the worst stickers to be star thistle and burr clover.

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How large are your batts?
I have a 42” card and the roller is 48” around so your batt will be 42” x  48” and as thick as 10” or as thin as 2”. Every wool rolls up differently so how “fluffy” your batt is will depend on your carded wool.

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Tell me about your felts and pricing for them.
My felting machine makes a 3’ by 4’ sheet of felt. It can be as thick as one inch for a felted rug or saddle pad. How long it is left on the machine determines how hard or stiff it will be. The thickness and hardness are important to consider and should be decided by what your final use will be with the felt. Not all wools will felt up, so sometimes it is necessary to blend the coarser fibers with a good felting wool to get the adhesion required. Pricing for the simplest thin felts to the thick pads range from $20 to $30 for the felting. Wash, pick and carding to a batt fees are additional and by the finished pound as shown on my price list. It takes 1 to 4 pounds of clean fiber to make a felt.

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What is your “spiral blend”?
These are any form of two color or two fiber blending at the pin drafter only. My pin drafter takes four or more roving ends to create the further combed and aligned coils that I offer. If I use two black wool rovings and two white wool rovings I can create a zebra striped pin drafted coil. We can do four different colors, or wool and Bamboo Silk, or wool and Mohair, etc. The possibilities are endless and these create a unique and easy way to market your fiber.

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How is my order returned?
Unless you have arranged to pick it up, I will ship your finished fiber out to you as soon as we have a large box full. This may not be your whole order but shipping fees are no different for one large box than for two large boxes. I bill actual shipping charges. The reason we cannot usually hold your fiber until all of your fleeces are done is simply due to space constraints. We are extremely limited on space here. The more crowded we are the slower and more inefficient we become. If you ever visit my shop you will see what I mean. Don’t forget, I am “fluffing up” your fiber by processing it. You may send me one big heavy box of dirty wool and I am going to return it as 4 big lighter boxes of clean fluffy wool. 

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How does shipping work?
You can send me your fleeces by any carrier.  Or you can deliver, but see my hours first. Most folks use UPS, Parcel Post Mail or Fed Ex Ground. Please print and fill out a workorder and include one in each box, or each fleece if necessay. At the very least be sure to include a note with your name, address, phone, e-mail, fiber breed and what you want done with the fleece.

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When do I pay for processing?
Because I bill on finished weight, I prefer to send an invoice with your finished product. All of these terms are “due upon receipt” and I ask that you pay your bill within the week. If you are picking up your fiber please plan to pay me at that time. If I am storing your fiber for more than one week to wait for you to pick it up, I will ask that you mail your invoice payment ahead.

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What methods of payment do you accept?
I accept checks and money orders or you can call me with your credit card number. I also accept payments through PayPal. My PayPal account is under my e-mail address mfw@morrofleece.com

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What are your shop hours?
I am open to walk-ins 10am to 4 pm PST Monday thru Friday and otherwise by appointment. If you need my attention for going thru your fleeces or you have a full truck load, please make an appointment first.

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Do you give tours of the processing shop?
No, not at this time.  

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