We prefer not to do this. It is very subjective and it really should be you deciding what stays in your fleece and not us. We have a Skirting page on this site with details on skirting your fleece. Please be sure to read through it so you can understand what to look for and where your comfort level lies. If we do skirt your fleece here at MFW we will be removing matted felted pieces, excessive areas of vegetable matter (VM), excessive second cuts and any dung tags. We charge $30 per fleece to do this and again, we prefer not to.
We wash fleeces in standard washing machines with no agitation. Most raw fleeces require 3 washes and 2 rinses. For carding here at MFW, all of the lanolin must be removed. There is another whole page on this website with extreme details about washing fleeces. Please read through Washing if you have more questions about how we wash here. We charge $8 per finished (clean) pound for average fleeces that will continue through our processing here. For any extreme dirt or extreme lanolin fleeces requiring more washes or for a wash-only service we charge $10 per finished pound. A prewashed fleece that might only need one more washing would be $6 per pound (one wash + two rinse) and a fleece only needing 2 washes would be $7 per pound (two wash + two rinse). Some prewashed fine wools are actually harder to get clean than raw fleece and may incur the $10 per pound charges; be sure to read the wash details page for more information regarding this situation.
This machine opens the locks of fiber for presentation to our carding machine. This does not remove vegetable matter. In opening up the locks, some VM may fall out. However, VM such as burr clover hangs on like Velcro and does not fall out. The term picking is referring to the name of the machine. No one is hand picking vegetable matter out of the fleeces here. We charge $4 per finished pound for this piece of the processing and it is essential before carding. Any blending with other animal fibers would be done here too. This would begin the mixing of two or more types or colors of animal fibers.
Our carding machine has several speed adjustments which allow us to process a wide variety of animal fibers. Staple length restrictions are 2” to 6” with some exceptions. Please read the detailed skirting page Skirting for more about staple lengths that we can card here. Carding prices are on a sliding scale due to the huge differences in speed and thickness that can go through the machine. A superfine Cormo fleece would be fed very thin into the machine with it running at our slowest speed in order to card it properly. A coarser Jacob fleece might be able to run at the highest speed and be fed quite thick at the infeed. A typical Lincoln long wool fiber would be in fed a bit thicker but the card would be set at a slower speed in order to run properly. Hence the large variance in carding charges. We can only card animal fibers with our carding machine here. Any other fibers (silk, Firestar, nylon, etc.) can be added at the pin drafting stage and are streaked through the roving. See more about that here Blending. The carding machine here at MFW is producing a worsted style roving. Unlike a woolen carder, this card is aligning the fibers to be all in the same general direction. This roving is considered semi worsted because of this aligned fashion. It is not fully worsted because it does not remove the shorter fibers and because it will align very short (2 inch) stapled fibers.
Carding Loose Roving
If you are ordering loose roving (not pin drafted) then it will be simply ran right out of the carder and into a large plastic bag. Our loose roving is not wound into bumps or balls; it is just loose roving random in a bag. The type of fiber will dictate how thick the loose roving is. We cannot create thick roving from the fine wools and we cannot produce thin roving from the Suffolk type breeds. However, a roving thickness can be dictated at the pin drafting stage. I do not recommend loose roving from long wools or from any fibers with minimal crimp.
Our batts come off of the card at about 3 foot by 4 foot in size. The thickness depends on how much wool is in the batch and the type of wool. Some fibers become very fluffy and the batt is big, thick and spongy. Other fibers create a flatter batt that is fragile to handle. If you are wanting to save some money and will be spinning the fiber then I recommend ordering the loose roving to spin from and not the batts. The carding price per pound will be the same for either of these. The batts are best for felting or for stuffing. We cannot create batts from 100% llama nor 100% alpaca nor 100% mohair nor any fibers with minimal crimp. These would all need blended with some crimpy wool in order to become batts.
This machine, a pin drafter, further combs and aligns the fibers and puts the roving into the nice beehive coils that make spinning so easy. This process also makes an easy to handle and easy to sell product. The presentation is nice and the fibers are pre-drafted for smooth spinning. Pin drafted roving is not the same as pencil roving nor pin roving. Pin drafted roving can be thick, thin, or somewhere in between. It is called pin drafted because that is the name of the machine that creates it. Pencil roving and pin roving are referring to very thin roving – which is different than pin drafted roving. A pin drafter does not create top and it is not a French comb. The pin drafter does not remove short pieces from the roving. This machine does not remove vegetable matter (VM) nor neps and noils. Working in concert with my card, it is producing a semi worsted product. We charge $4 per finished pound for pin drafting the rovings. This is, by far, the most common processing ordered. Over 90% of all incoming orders are for washing thru to pin drafted roving. Any blending with non animal fibers such as silk, Firestar, tencel, etc. is done at this machine. The pricing and extreme details about that blending can be found here Blending.