Spinning is rather more technical than many people realise so we do as much as we can to advise our suppliers and customers about adding value to their fleece and getting the best results from spinning their yarn. This page brings together a range of information sheets on various topics from ordering to background information. Please don't hesitate just to pick up the phone or drop us an email if you have further questions or would like to speak to a real person - we love talking about fleece and spinning ...
We have set each information sheet to open in a new window so that you can easily track back to this page for further help if needed.
We guarantee to return you only your own fleece in whatever form you choose. So before you decide to place an order or contact us, please look at the files below and download those you need. Remember, the more you know, the better your questions! If you're totally new, please also download this glossary. There is also a film which takes you through the mill processes.
It is well worth keeping in touch by signing up for our monthly Newsletter, which provides regular updates and news - just complete your email address in the subscribe box which appears on each page of our website - you can of course unsubscribe at any time and please be assured that we don't share our contact lists with anyone else.
Placing your order
- All customers should download and check the latest version of our Customer Guidance Notes and our Terms and Conditions of Trade;
- Our Guidance Notes are also available en francais
- If you are interested in having your wool simply scoured and prepared without spinning, please see our unspun info sheet;
- You will also need one of our two Price Lists, one Excluding VAT, for those who are UK registered and able to claim it back, and another Including VAT for everyone else; organic and Herdwick prices are £2 more per kilogram both for spinning and for all finishing processes - please email to ask for the organic/Herdwick price lists if you need them and note that due to the cleaning regimes we only process organically or Herdwick fleece once a year. Please also note that our downloadable price lists are abbreviated and simplified versions, designed as a result of customer comments, and, for any further help or prices for other possible services, please don't hesitate to phone or email.
- Our minimum order is 20 kilograms incoming fibre. If you have less than this, please contact us as depending on what is going through the mill, we may be able to help;
- To place an order, you may download, print and complete our Order Form or our Organic Order Form. Once these are signed for compliance with pesticide usage requirements, we can accept scanned versions or you can just send them in with your fibre. You will also need to contact us to arrange to receive sacks in which to pack the fibre and to arrange to deliver it, or use our collection service; and of course we are happy to meet you and show you around if you choose to deliver the fleeces yourself;
- If you have any questions please telephone or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fleeces and Processing
- Whether you are interested in sending your fibre to us for processing or selling it to us, we recommend downloading this file on sheep shearing and maintaining the quality of fleeces. There is a separate download for alpaca;
- To understand what happens to your fleece, with images and descriptions at each stage, download our information sheet showing how it is processed; this is also available en francais and auf deutsch
- You may also find basic definitions of woollen and worsted spinning and organic processing on our Blacker Yarns wool yarns info sheet
- Before sending it to us for processing, some customers store their fleece from one shearing to the next. It will be preserved better and produce higher quality results if it is washed. This file offers advice on washing raw fleeces.
- Finally, to add colour (and customer and market appeal) to your yarns, you may consider dyeing and our information sheet explains the effects of different dyes on various bases of fleece shades.
General: and help with marketing
- To get started on marketing your yarn or even add more value through making textiles with it, please take a look at our Marketing Pack;
- Download this file if you are interested in weaving, while this one gives you some alternative ideas about various types of spinning mills;
- There are two other files which you may find useful: one is advice about washing wool once it has been processed, the other relates to yarn weights which vary depending on thickness, the amount of twist and whether it is single or plied;
- Remember, if you are planning to sell the yarn we make for you that you need to comply with the Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006. This Blacker Yarns file, relating to the lengths of wool in a ball or hank, may be useful. Balls of wool are usually 50, 100 or 200 grams and the weight sold has to fall within given tolerances; and
- Any help and advice about your fleece that we've missed may be covered in our list of frequently asked questions.
- The following files relate to sheep health: the causes of disease, and how to control, prevent and treat: Liver Fluke, Worms, Flies, Coccidiosis and Feet. If you haven't the facilities to download these, please speak to us and we'll send you copies. They have been prepared with the help of Kate Steed, who writes regularly for the British Coloured Sheepbreeders Association newsletter; and also with reference to advice from DEFRA, SCOPS and AHDB, with links to current advice pages on their websites
- Here is an A4 calender wall chart which is easily adapted to suit your own timetable, print it at A3 if possible!
- We also frequently cover general issues about sheep in our Blog.