To ease getting your fiber to the mill for process, C&M Acres is now offering time slot reservations for 2013 in addition to our normal first in/first out processing. You can reserve a slot now for whenever you think you will be ready to ship the fiber and then wait to send us the fiber until you are close to your slot date. We are reserving several weeks a month for slots if people are interested or have timelines that they need their fiber back for.
How it works:
· Decide when you want your fiber processed.
· Check with us to see if that period is available.
· Make $50 deposit to reserve that week. Up to 60 lbs processed in a week.
o The $50 will be deducted from your processing bill when completed.
o If you miss the slot, we will try to fill in with another client but will not refund the $50.
· Send us the fiber three weeks before your slot. We want to make sure we have the fiber in house and looked at before your window so we can make sure we get through your batch.
· Our goal is to have the fiber done no later than a week after your slot date.
Why are doing this?
· We have 3 months fiber in house currently and that takes up A LOT of space.
· We have been working on a first in, first out schedule so far. That has been problematic for people that need product for certain dates and events to get the fiber in to us quick enough to get it back by the time they need it.
· We feel this will be an additional way to assist clients in processing your fleece so you can plan on when you are getting your processed fiber back.
· The clients we have talked with about this have been very enthusiastic of the idea.Our full service fiber mill is in operation. We are processing most types of fiber: alpaca(suri and huacaya), llama, most wools, angora, cashmere, etc. We can process any type of fiber into roving, bumbs, batts, felt and yarn. Our mill is a full turnkey operation that can handle all processing steps in house. Our mill makes both semi-worsted yarn that is prepared by pindrafting the fiber to further align the individual fibers for a very consistent yarn as well as woolen yarn using a draw frame for a more lofty yarn desired by knitters.
Our felting machine can produce felt in whatever thickness you want in sizes up to 5’ wide and any length. This is needle felting machine so we can easily make any density of felt you want.
We can also take your seconds fiber and turn it in center cored yarn or felt sheeting. Center cored yarn is often used for rugs. Felt sheeting can be used for a wide variety of items ranging from shoe insoles to quilt batting. We can turn your seconds into products you can use or sell.
Don't want to pay to ship your fiber to us? Meet us at an event we are at and we will bring your fiber back to the mill at no cost as long as there is room in the truck/trailer! Check our Events tab to see where we will be. Please make sure you let us know you will be bringing fiber so we can plan for transport.
The Process of Making Yarn and Felt at C&M Acres
Our process starts with the receipt of your fiber.
1) Fiber Assesssment and verification
Upon arrival, we will open the shipment and check the contents. We will make sure you have sent the order forms for each batch of fiber and make sure we understand what you are asking for. We will look at the fiber for suitability for what you have requested. We will also check fiber length to make sure it is workable in our machines.
We will not skirt the fiber unless you have requested so on the order form. We may contact you if we feel there are issues with vegetable matter or other foreign objects in the fiber that may come through in the final project.
Once we start each batch of fiber, we will place it in the tumbler to help removes small seconds cuts are well as chaff and to help open up the fiber. The tumbler rotates slowly with the fiber inside. The tumbling action helps small pieces of vegetable matter and short fibers to fall out.
For huacaya fiber, we next run the fiber through our picker to open up the fiber. This step also assists in allowing vegetable matter to fall our. When we wash the fiber, having it opened up assists in getting the fiber cleaner.
For suri fiber, we run the fiber through our hand picker. The locks on suri are very tight and the hand picker is much less likely to cause damage to the locks.
Wool usually does not go through the picker at this stage.
We hand wash all fiber. We place the fiber in garment bags and wash.
For non-lanolin fiber, we place the fiber in a soap bath and then multiple rinses until it is clean.
For lanolin coated fibers, we place the fiber in a soap bath, rinse it, put is in a soap bath again and then rinse it until it is clean. The extra wash cycle is needed to really help break down the lanolin.
We used drying racks for the fiber that are separated by color. These racks allow us to fluff the fiber up and speeds up the drying process.
6) Dehairing (Optional Step)
If your fiber has some strong fibers in it, has a dual coat, or has a lot of vegetable matter, we can put the fiber through our dehairer. This machine separates out the strong fibers and short fibers as well as helps drop out vegetable matter. It does NOT remove all vegetable matter. Plus this can significantly reduce the volume of fiber left due to the amount that is removed.
This machine assists in aligning the fibers. This machine also us used to make roving that you can sell. This machine is also used to make batts that can be used for felting.
This machine is the heart of the mill and the biggest piece of equipment. The fiber is fed in on an intake table where it goes onto a large rotating drum. There are five sets of smaller drums that take the fiber off the main drum, further align is and place it back on the drum, At the back of the machine is a doffer that helps take the aligned fiber off the machine. If making roving or going on to spinning, the fiber is coiled into a drum on a coiler.
If you want roving, we can take the roving and ship it as is from the coiler. It comes out of the coiler can 20” wide in a circular pattern. If that is not conducive to your needs, we can but the roving into center pull bumbs.
8a) Draw Frame
The draw frame machine is used to further align the fibers and make the sliver as consistent as possible. The fiber that has come off the carder is run through the draw frame several times( the number of times through the machine and the combination of infeeds is dependent on the type of fiber and how the individual batch is processing.)
The draw frame uses rollers that gently pulls the fibers into alignment. The initial roller is moving slower than the next roller and so on. What comes out of the draw frame is a very consistent sliver that once spun tends to be a fluffier yarn as not every single fiber is pulled into alignment. Knitters tend to like this yarn.
The pindrafting machine is used to further align the fibers and make the sliver as consistent as possible. The fiber that has come off the carder is run through the pindrafter several times( the number of times through the machine and the combination of infeeds is dependent on the type of fiber and how the individual batch is processing.)
The pin drafter actually combs the fiber and drafts it out to make it very uniform. There are over 70 combs that go through the fiber while the output end of the machine is running faster than the input to draw the fiber out. What comes out of the pindrafter is very, very consistent so the resulting spun yarn is also very consistent.
Our spin frame can spin or ply 8 threads at a time. The machine takes the individual slivers from the pindrafter and draws them through the machine. The machine drafts the fibers out to make the size of thread needed to make the yarn size you requested. The bobbins below the draw frame section are spinning at thousands of revolutions per minutes to make the thread sized for what you have requested. Once all the slivers are run through, we turn the machine on running the opposite direction and ply the individual threads together to make the yarn you requested in the number of ply’s you requested.
10) Putting on Cones, Skeins or Balls
Once the fiber has been spun and put on the bobbins, we then take it off the bobbins and put it on cones, skeins or balls.
11) Washed skeins (Optional)
Fiber that has finished the process can be washed if going into skeins or balls. This will help remove and static spray or powder or any cohesive agents(suri) that was used in the processing.
This can be done at various stages.
-If blending for a very uniform look and feel, we feed the fiber through the picker to make sure all the fibers are very consistent through out.
-If looking for a little variation in the final product, we can blend in the carder which will give some variability in the final product.
-If looking for a definite variation in the colors, we can draft at the pindrafter by processing the different colors separate and only combining at the pindrafter stage.
We use greener shades dyes as they are a more environmentally friendly product than most dyes.
We can dye the fiber after washing or we can dye the finished yarn.