Our goal is to provide you with the best product for your fiber. We have tried to provide guidance for you to understand the processes and associated operations available at Vermont Fiber Mill to determine the best output for your fiber.
Because there are so many options and paths for fiber to take within the mill, we have broken each process out. We really wanted to provide a single rate for each output but found that people want options. We understand that all this pricing can be overwhelming so we’ve also provided an Estimator to give you a gauge for the cost.
Please read each of the steps carefully to determine which options you want to select on your Work Order. Each process is described, along with the associated price, so you can make the best decision for your fiber. Feel free to contact us for additional information or questions.
For current information regarding open production slots, please check out the News page.
Fiber Types: VFM&S currently specializes in huacaya alpaca, sheep wool, llama and mohair and will expand this list over time. If you have another type of fiber you would like us to process, please contact us.
Skirting: Processing starts with skirting your fiber. The cleaner the fiber, the better the product. For information on skirting, visit Fiber Preparation. Please do not send fiber that has tags (dung or stained wool) in it. If your fleece is not properly skirted when received, VFM&S will charge to do this. We cannot stress enough how important this step is to having a quality end product.
Incoming Weight: Upon arrival, your fiber will be weighed. This will help you understand your fiber loss for future planning.
We really recommend sending enough fiber for at least 4 lb per batch after washing. This can be a single fleece or multiple fleeces combined to be processed together. If a smaller amount is processed, but the time you figure in loss from washing and carding (and separating, if this option is selected) it can result in a fairly small amount of output.
Washing/Scouring: All incoming fiber is washed. This step is important and to ensure consistent quality in the end product, VFM&S needs to manage this process. Fiber receives 1-2 wash cycles and 2-3 rinse cycles using earth friendly products.
In most cases, and particularly camelid fiber, VFM&S tumbles the fiber prior to washing. This cleaning process gently tosses the fleece around inside of a wire cage, allowing the dirt to get knocked out of the fleece and fall to the ground. During this process, some unwanted larger primary fibers, guard hairs, shearing second cuttings and vegetative matter also get knocked out. Removing all of this allows the first wash cycle to be much more effective.
For those who want to wash their fiber first in order to reduce weight and save on shipping and washing costs, this can be done providing you wash your fiber at the proper temperature. Depending on your fiber type and soap, most home water heaters cannot reach the necessary temperatures and you will have to supplement with heated water. Contact us to discuss your washing process. Once in the mill, we will utilize a short wash/rinse in order to fully remove any remaining soap or oils.
Regular Wash: $5/lb
Small Batch (<3 lb) & Handwash: $6/lb
Extra Wash (greasy and/or very dirty fiber): $4/lb
Picking/Opening: Regardless of your end product, all fiber goes through the picker which removes any tangles and opens the individual locks. Blending of fibers may begin here. The washing process removes oils, so conditioning agents are put back into the fiber to reduce static and improve its ability to process through the equipment. VFM&S minimizes the amount of conditioner, which is based on fleece weight. If your fiber length exceeds 6″ and will be made into yarn, it must first be cut to a shorter length.
Cutting Fiber: $5/lb
Separating/Dehairing: The separator removes vegetable matter and other undesirable material from the fiber that may remain even after washing and picking. It also removes coarse guard hairs, thereby improving the quality and value of your output and improving the softness. You will be pleased with the improved comfort factor. VFM&S has a double separator so one pass is usually sufficient for many fiber types.
Separating is an important step and one that some customers want to skip. While we highly recommend this step, a customer may opt out of it. This step is not necessary for coarse fiber that will be used for rugs and some felted products, as there is too much loss. If you want the fallout from the separator returned to you, please indicate this in the Add’l Information section on the Work Order form.
Dehairing Cashmere: $10/lb/pass
Finish Weight: Your fiber now weighs less after washing, picking and separating so VFM&S will weigh the final product to determine the finish weight.
Carding: The carder is the heart of the mill. It aligns the individual fiber strands to produce roving and batts that may be used as final products or go on to subsequent steps.
Blending may also be done during the carding process. If you want the fallout from the carding process returned to you, please indicate this in the Add’l Information section on the Work Order form.
Batches: Most fiber is processed on the carder as individual fleeces, i.e. a “clean” run. Between colors, VFM&S cleans the carder to ensure there is not fiber contamination. However, if you permit sequential carding, you can reduce your production time, and because of this savings, VFM&S gives you a discount. You also get interesting blends during that crossover that are often very popular with handspinners.
This is certainly an option to utilize when you have a large quantity of the same color and quality/grade, such as grade 3 white. It is also a good option when you have a series of related colors, such as light rose grey, medium rose grey and dark rose grey. When you opt for batch processing, VFM&S will run the fleeces sequentially. We retain the separateness of each fleece but there is a small batt of crossover where the fleece changes.
Medium Batch (10-20 lb) Carding Discount: 5%
Large Batch (> 20 lb) Carding Discount: 10%
Batts: Batts are generally 24” x 48” and are used in this form or further processed into felt. Relative to roving, there is a lot of time and labor involved in removing each batt, especially when a batt weight is specified.
Batts (8 oz or greater): $6/lb
Batts (< 8 oz): $7/lb
Roving: Roving is a long, narrow bundle of fiber used to spin yarn. Roving is created by carding the fiber and drawing it into long strips to be further processed into yarn or wound into center pull bumps.
Roving Bumps: $5/lb
Roving for Spinning into Yarn: $5/lb
Rug Yarn: Rug yarn can be made from any fiber that is 2” to 6” in length. This is a great use for “seconds”. It takes about 3 lb of washed fiber to make one rug yarn bump. The bumps are 125 yds, have a cotton core and generally make a 2’ x 3 rug.
Rug Yarn: $6/lb
The next four steps are utilized to produce yarn and are done, and priced, as a connected unit.
Drawframe: Several rovings pass through the drawframe at once and, with a brushing action, the drawframe further aligns the fibers. Rovings may pass through two or more times to blend and lengthen. Each successive pass through the drawframe averages any thick or thin sections to create a more uniform roving for spinning. Depending on your blending requirements, additional passes may be required, and additional charges may apply.
Spinning: The spinner takes roving that has been through the drawframe and spins it into single strands. The thickness of the strand produced depends on the desired yarn weight, i.e. finger, sport, worsted, bulky.
Plying: The plyer combines singles from the spinner together to create 2, 3 or 4 ply yarn. It is at this stage that interesting blends can be created using different strands to create one. Output from plying is on cones.
Blending Like Fiber: NC
Steaming: All yarn is run through the steamer to stabilize the structure of the yarn, i.e. “set the twist”. This step also adds softness and loft. As the yarn passes through the chamber it is steamed and dried, then wound on a cone.
2 & 3 Ply Sport Weight Yarn: $18/lb
2 & 3 Ply DK Weight Yarn: $16/lb
2 & 3 Ply Worsted Weight Yarn: $14/lb
2 & 3 Ply Bulky Weight Yarn: $12/lb
Skeining: Most customers prefer their yarn in skeins. VFM&S produces skeins of 200 yd and 300 yd, but custom lengths and weights can be produced as well. If your work order form does not specify yardage, we will do 200 yd.
Finishing: Once received, we recommend that you wash and air dry your skeins to remove conditioners and oils that accumulate during processing. You may also have VFM&S wash your skeins before shipment.
Finish Washing: $2/lb
Blending: All of the above processes are priced based on a single fiber type and single color. If you want to blend fibers and/or colors at any stage, please contact VFM&S to discuss.
Dyeing: Dyeing can occur at almost any stage of processing, but the two common stages are right after washing (raw fiber dyed) and after skeining (yarn dyed). Minimum dye batch is 5 lb.
Handpainting: Roving or skeins of yarn can be dyed with multiple bands of color, creating a unique look. After dyeing, the yarn is re-skeined for blending.
Felt Sheets: The FeltLOOM creates felted products using batts, and sometimes roving, from the carding process. Felting is the process of interlocking fibers with each other to create a durable mat of material. The FeltLOOM has a 66” bed and 800 needles, enabling larger products to be created. Typical sheets from carded batts are 2’ x 4’.
Felted Sheets: $2/sf
Custom Products: Please call
Insoles: Insoles are great for shoes, boots or slippers. They provide a nice cushion as well as additional warmth. Insoles are a great use for 2nds, which are often coarser and shorter. Carded batts are needle felted using the FeltLOOM. For added style, a leaf can be felted into the toe end of the insole. The insoles are then cut to various sizes.
Insoles with maple leaf: $3.00/pair
Note: Prices are subject to change without notice.
Deposit: Upon receipt of your fiber, it will be weighed and logged and a production estimate is determined based on incoming weight, estimated loss and options selected. VFM&S will then contact you to verify your request. A 50% deposit is due at that time.
Payment: Upon completion, an invoice will be sent and payment is due. We try to make that easy and accept payment via PayPal, credit/debit card and check. Any completed order not paid for within 30 days will accrue a 5% finance charge and after 60 days will become the property of VFM&S.
Shipment or Pickup: Orders are shipped when paid in full.