That's what I have!! Fiber, fiber, and more fiber!! The fleeces that I had sent off to the mill returned.....and it is all absolutely beautiful!! I'm so tickled with the way everything turned out. I was so incredibly nervous sending off all that lovely fiber. It's been years since I have had anything done by a mill.
Back when I first started getting into Shetlands....and was slowly phasing out my Angora goats....I took my first shearing of Shetland into the local mill to be processed into pencil roving. I had taken in my mohair the year before to be done and it came out beautifully, so I didn't think twice about taking in my Shetland. Well, since my Shetlands were lambs....and I had some kids as well, I thought a blend of the two would be wonderful. Took everything in expecting to hear good things. I figured the owners of the mill would be thrilled to see that I was actually blending wool with the mohair. Not a lot was said...and I was okay with that. I thought it was wonderful that they were so busy (especially since they had opened up the year before). Few weeks later went back to pick up my finished fiber. The fiber looked great. Cost more than what I was expecting....especially since I only got back about half of what I had taken in. I thought "okay, they are local and you do what you have to do to support local." The thing I wasn't okay with was being told that unless I blended some other wool with my Shetland, they would not do it anymore. They also wouldn't do a Shetland/Mohair blend anymore. They had gotten in with the local alpaca breeders and decided that they were going to focus on alpaca only. I honestly couldn't believe that they would leave out so many local sheep breeders like that. I mean, if you expect the local fiber community to support you, then you should support them.....which they chose not to do. I did take fiber to them the following year....hoping that they had changed their way of thinking. I had taken in 40 pounds of polypay fleeces that I was hoping to have blended with the last of my mohair....but didn't. Ended up selling the mohair on its own. When I finally got the call to pick up my fiber, it was months later. And it wasn't worth the drive out. Out of 40 pounds of fiber, I only got back 17 pounds of roving. I was told that it was normal to lose at least 50% of what you took in....if not more. Of course the bill I had to pay didn't reflect that. :.( The worse part of it all was that when I started to actually spin up the roving I found wool of various colors in it.....and all the fleeces I had taken in were white. Needless to say I took the money that I normally would have spent at the local mill and bought a drum carder instead. Have been doing my own fiber ever since.....which is why I was nervous sending my fleeces in this year.
Of course I didn't send them to the local mill.....which I heard has since closed down. Seems the local alpaca breeders opted to not support them as they had hoped. Also heard that they had turned away quite a few of the larger local sheep breeders, who then took their business to mills outside the area. Tsk, tsk. Shame on them for not supporting all of the local fiber community. I know that I sent my fiber out of the area to be processed....even though I got an earful and some looks from a few local spinners. "You know, you should have your fiber done by this local lady. She picks all the fleeces by hand. Yes, there is still quite a bit of vm in the roving....but she does put tissue paper between all the layers." I'm sure those that take their fiber to this local person to be done are happy with it, but if I wanted to pick out vm then I would simply do my fiber myself. And I won't even get into the tissue paper thing.