Information for Customers (including Terms and Conditions)
Here’s the small print, although we have tried to make it as useful and interesting as possible. Anyway, take a deep breath everyone and here we go…
By sending us your fleece for processing, you are accepting the following:
Bookings and processing dates
Although we work very hard to try to keep to the target dates for processing that we have agreed with you, please note that this isn’t always possible (for example, if an important piece of machinery is unexpectedly out of action and we need to arrange repair). If there is a specific date that you need your yarn by, please let us know when you make your booking and we will do our very best to meet this date. Please also advise of any changes to bookings as soon as possible.
Preparing your fleece
Before processing, your fleece needs to be sorted – separating the long, soft, crimpy, ‘blanket’ and neck fleece from the shorter, straighter, coarser fibre from the belly and legs; and skirted – carefully checking through to remove any remaining coarser fibre and as much vegetable matter or other contamination as possible. We can only make beautiful yarn from good quality alpaca fibre – not from bags of thirds, or from hay, seeds, twigs, toenails, or alpaca poo! Our processes can remove a certain amount of guard hair and vegetable matter but we can’t work miracles; so if your fleece is very contaminated, so will your yarn be. (Or to put it more positively, the better skirted your fleece, the better quality your yarn will be and the higher the return rate.)
For tips on this, please see the section on Preparing your Fleece or download our Five simple steps to prepare a fleece for processing file.
If you have asked us to sort your fleece, or if you send us unsorted fleeces that include fibre unsuitable for processing, we will remove coarse or short fibre at a cost of £5.00 + VAT per kg of rejected fibre. However, this service does not include removing vegetable matter.
Fleeces with a lot of vegetable matter, will need to be skirted by hand to remove the worst of the contamination at a cost of £25.00 per hour. But this won’t remove every last bit, so there will almost certainly be some bits of vegetable matter in the finished yarn. And we may be unable to process a fleece which is excessively dirty or contaminated with vegetable matter, in which case we will return it to you at your cost or dispose of it. (Unfortunately, this can often apply to cria fleeces, unless you are able to spend the time skirting it yourself.)
Processing your fleece
We take great care with every fleece we process and do our very best to maximise the return rate without reducing the quality of your yarn. Return rates will vary from less than 50% (rarely, but it can happen) for very coarse fleeces (but which we appreciate may be from much-loved older beasties) to over 80% (also rare, but we do our best to get there).
Our pricing system is designed to take into account the weight lost in tumbling, washing and fibre separating. The average return rate is about 70%, and most of the weight lost is dirt, debris, vegetable matter, short cuts and guard hair ( i.e. not the sort of things you want in your yarn) – very little of the weight lost is ‘good’ fleece.
We’re very proud of the yarn we make, and agonise over anything that doesn’t come out as well as we would like. But you need to be aware that the downside of having equipment small enough to process an individual fleece is that we don’t make ‘perfect’ yarn – there may be some variation in thickness or colour, the occasional slub or knot, and some bits of vegetable matter (moss in particular is really difficult to remove, as it clings to the fibre). We do, however, make beautifully soft yarns with great character and impeccable provenance.
The average yarn weights that we specify are indicative only – every fleece is different and there will be variation in the yarn weight between batches (for instance, darker colours usually spin out heavier than white fleeces). We’re getting pretty good at judging the right weight for different yarns and aim to be within 10% of the average, but we can’t guarantee to achieve a specific weight.
We very occasionally find that a fleece is ‘tender’, meaning that there are weak points along the length of the fibres causing them to break easily. We try to identify these fleece before we start processing, but it isn’t always possible to identify them in advance. Sometimes these fleeces can still be spun, but there will be small slubs or ‘pills’ in the yarn. Others can’t be spun at all: if this happens, we will only charge you for processing up to the stage at which the problem became apparent.
Caring for alpaca yarn
Our yarn is supplied with a light mineral oil coating, which helps to reduce static during processing. This is easily removed by washing the finished garment. For best results, gently hand wash in warm water (about 30°C) using a wool detergent, and rinse in warm water. To prevent felting, avoid any rapid changes in temperature or too much movement of the garment in the water. After washing, roll the garment inside a large towel and gently squeeze (don’t wring); or machine spin inside a pillow case and allow to dry flat. Never tumble dry!
Invoicing and payment
On completion of your order, we will email you your invoice for fleece processing, including delivery and VAT. Your yarn or other products will be dispatched following payment of this invoice, which is due within 15 days. Full details of how to pay will be included on the invoice: payment can be made by bank transfer or cheque, by debit card over the phone; or for an additional charge to cover costs, you can use PayPal or credit card.
The prices charged will be as advertised on our website at the time that you made your booking, plus VAT at the rate applying at the time of invoicing.