~~ You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear - and neither can we! ~~

Skirting your fleece is an important and necessary first step for getting a finished product that you will be proud to sell or use.


Please take the time to skirt or hand pick the vegetable matter, manure tags and any other debris from your animal's fleece. Clip the weathered tips and remove any undesirable fiber.


You will save money by completing this important first step.


Technically skirting begins after shearing but it can be made so much easier if you begin before shearing. On shearing day let the shearer know that you will be processing the fiber. Provide a clean, dry surface for the shearer to work. Sweep the area between animals. A good shearer will separate and discard the belly, leg, neck and head wool as he or she works. If this part of the fleece is not removed at the time of shearing you will want to discard it before sending it for processing.


Skirting your fleece means getting rid of all the •Vegetable Matter - stuff like straw, hay, weeds & burrs •Manure Tags - yes, we mean the poop •Stains •Toe Nails & Other Foreign Objects •Greasy Globs •Dried, Matted, Weathered, Sun-bleached, Muddy Fiber and Tips •Second & Third Cuts •Guard Hair •Belly, Neck, Head & Leg Fiber •Anything that hides in or clings to the fiber Remember, if you don't want to wear it, take it out.


Lay your fleece out on a table and trim away the outermost few inches. You will also want to trim out the back. This part of the fleece has been exposed to the elements and will generally be weathered and sun- bleached - not desirable in your finished product.


Check your fleece for any other vegetable matter, tags, grease globs, dried, matted areas, stains, short fibers, etc. and pull it out. Flip your fleece and scan it again for foreign matter. Gently shake your fleece to help rid it of short fibers. Pull apart the locks to discover anything else that might be lurking. Pick out as much of the debris as possible. Some people find it helpful to use a vacuum to blow out any dirt.


After skirting all that fiber away you might wonder what is left.


You have probably discarded between 20% and 50% of your fleece (or more in some cases). But, better to toss it than to have us make a product that you will be embarrassed to sell, give away or use. And, better you toss it than pay us to toss it for you!


Besides, there are lots of ways to recycle the discarded fleece. Use it as mulch in your garden or as a weed barrier. Cover muddy areas on pathways, toss some onto your compost pile, give some to the birds. Donate it to schools and colleges for use in their horticulture programs. Give it away for others to use in their gardens.


Remember, it is better to toss a little bit of good fiber into the trash, than to have a little bit of bad fiber contaminate the rest of a good fleece. Each of the following are links to sites which offer concise instructions for skiritng your fleece. Although they tend to focus on a specific animal (llama, alpaca, sheep and mohair) the principles apply to all. We really urge you to give us the cleanest fleece possible. Your yarn (or roving, felt or batts) will turn out so much nicer.



Links on skirting:

 













1260 W Airway Rd., Lebanon, OR 97355

541.401.2465

www.snowpeakfibermill.com