Making a booking
Please don't send or bring fleece to the mill without a booking
Unfortunately, we usually have a waiting list of over a year, with the shearing period of the following year frequently fully booked, so please plan ahead and contact us to make a booking as soon as you can. (We realise that this means you may be making a booking while the fleece is still attached to the alpaca - or even yet to grow - so you won't have an exact weight, but an estimate is fine.) We now require a completed booking form for every booking, even from repeat customers. Once received, we will confirm the booking and if necessary, send an invoice for your deposit.
Although we work very hard to try to keep to the target dates for processing that we've 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). So if there's 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 us of any changes you need to make to your booking as soon as possible.
Storing your fleece
If it's going to be a while before your fleece is due for processing, the most important thing is to keep it (or get it) dry. If you can store the fleece somewhere dry with no temperature extremes, moths or mice, it can keep for two or three years without coming to any harm (after that, then it can go a bit ‘flat’ and won’t make such nice yarn - but we did once process a 25 year old fleece, which was absolutely fine).
Some people store their fleece in paper sacks, (e.g. potato sacks), which allow the fleece to breathe, but don’t use empty grain or oat bags, as these will almost certainly turn out not to have been completely empty and will contaminate your fleece with seeds! Polythene bags are fine if the fleece is dry. If it’s damp, a good trick is to roll the fleece in wall lining paper and then stand it in a plastic bag open at the top, allowing the paper to ‘wick’ the moisture out of the fleece. If you seal the bags (which you may need to do to avoid and danger of moth infestation, be careful to keep them out of direct sunlight which can cause the fleece to sweat.
Make sure that the bags are carefully labelled – ideally by writing on the bag with an indelible marker and/or putting a label inside the bag: sticky labels on the outside almost always fall off sooner or later!