Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fleece! Glorious Fleece!

This is the year for expanding what we do with fleece. In the past, have sold some raw at Common Ground Fair, at Open Farm Day and to a local yarn shop, The Irish Ewe for $45.00 per pound to handspinners. They love alpaca.

I had a friend of mine spin some that I had hand carded--which is lots of fun and just as in the story of Tom Sawyer and the fence, if you are sitting with friends doing it, everyone wants a turn and lots get done.

This year, I sent two fleeces from Mystique and Echo to Nancy Williams of NEWAIM Fiber Mill. She blended the two into a dark brown and sent back 17 gloriously soft skeins. I love to touch them! This cost a total of $86.00 or about $5.00 per skein or about $0.20 per yard or 2 oz. I can't describe how utterly luxurious this feels. So if you want beautiful yarn from your own animals, I recommend Nancy highly--it took about three months but she had said six so it felt like it was relatively fast.

I also sent fiber to Claudia Raessler of Fiber Pieces. She is working out a collection system to have fiber commercially processed and returned as finished yarns. The yarns are generally merino blends and some dyed and they are beautiful as well. With names like Sebago Blue and Spruce they evoke the best of Maine and that is just what they are.

Claudia's process for collection and processing works by paying up front for a minimum of 10 lbs of fiber to be processed. This cost $200. In exchange, you can get back yarn, cash or a combination. I chose the combination, 22 skeins (varying but approximately 200 yards or 5 oz) and $180 in cash. Essentially, the yarn is free and everything I sell is profit. I can't wait to get a display set up for National Alpaca Open Farm Days September 29 and 30. Hope to see you there or at a farm near you.

Our friends Amy and Jim Grant of Good Kharma Farm are now the proud owners of a new commercial-sized mill. Back when Jim owned Blackbear Graphics, we traded some of our Shaker View Furniture chairs with them. We didn't order as much logo wear to work off our chairs, after National Alpaca Open Farm Day, we will be sending them the balance of our 2007 clip. I can't wait to see it come back!

Want to read past posts or see the animals? Click here: Maine's Bellemont Farm Alpacas



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