Sheep wool and other fibres
Processing charges for sheep wool
Our charges for processing sheep wool to yarn are based as for alpaca fleece on the actual weight of your wool remaining at different stages of the process as we turn it yarn. The charges are the same, except that wool doesn't need tumbling, so that charge doesn't apply. But wool tends to lose more weight in processing than alpaca, so the average return rate (how much finished yarn you get back per kg of fleece you send us for processing) is lower. There’s information on how we calculate the actual cost for your fleece in the Wool Processing Charges download, and if you’d like to get a more accurate estimate of the likely return rate and cost for your own fleece, please download our sheep specific ‘Ready Reckoner’.
The estimated price per kg incoming weight (that is, the weight of fleece you send to us for processing) is based on an average 50% return rate; but please note that this can vary considerably (from 40-70%) depending on the breed of sheep and the condition of the fleece. For example. ‘character’ fleeces (e.g. Hebridean, Herdwick, Vallais) can produce lovely yarns, but the return rates are usually less than 50% due to the amount of grease, coarser fibre and debris removed during processing.
We can’t process sheep fleece with very short staples (less than 5 cm) or skin flakes. And we apply a ‘health warning’ to very soft fleece such as Shetland, and very springy fleece such as Ryeland, which can produce a rather slubby, ‘rustic’ style yarn on our equipment. Lustre fleeces (e.g. Wensleydale, Gotland) and semi-lustre (e.g. Blue-Faced Leicester, Cheviot) tend to work much better with our process.
Please note: these are the prices for new bookings from 1 January 2020. We are completely booked until then, but if you already have a booking you can find our 2019 charges here.
All prices exclude VAT and delivery; and there’s a discount of 3% for batches of 3 kg or more and 6% for 6 kg.
Llama fibre is processed and charged in exactly the same way as alpaca, but the return rate tends to be lower (average 54%) due to the amount of guard hair removed in the dehairing process. So the charge per kg incoming will be slightly lower than for alpaca, but the cost per kg finished yarn (or rovings) will be slightly higher.
Angora rabbit fur tends to be very short, so we can't process it on its own, but need to blend it with at least 50% alpaca or wool (Merino or Blue-Faced Leicester work very well). We can supply suitable fibre for blending if needed. Angora doesn't need washing or dehairing, so only the charges for carding onwards apply. However, it does leave a residue on our equipment needing extra cleaning between batches, so there is an extra charge of £5 per kg.
Mohair (from angora goats) is one of our favourite fibres and we've processed it very successfully in the past. The charges are as for sheep wool, with a similar average return rate of around 50%. However, angora goats are very susceptible to skin parasites, leading to skin flakes which make it impossible for us to process the fleece. We've also had problems recently getting the fleece clean enough, so although we're very happy to try processing mohair, it isn't always successful.