Say I have ten sheep or half a dozen Alpacas is it worth having a mobile operation show up and process my fiber?
Cleaning Fleeces takes a lot of water
I just looked it up and sheep range from 2 to 30 pounds so say 15 on average so 10 sheep would be 150 pounds of fiber. It seems like normal wool is worth around $15 a pound in yarn so your 150#s is worth $2250. If your three people make $250 a day which isn't much and your rig costs a $1000 a day that's $1,750 in hard costs just to show up and do the day. Even at a very modest of $250 profit you're still at $2,000 it'll cost the farmer so he'd need to spend a total of $250 on ten sheep just to break even.
Now if you had a really large rig and had a sheep enter the front and meat and yarn came out the back
jared strand wrote:Have you ever seen a pin drafter? Or seen how many tiny parts are on a spinning machine?
jared strand wrote: When these machines are delivered, it often takes weeks of settling and adjusting before they are running optimally.
Gretchen Austin wrote:What about having the fibre processing on a boat? And recovering the lanolin from the wool? The rest of the dirt in the wool is probably valuable as fertiliser. If there was a very good filtration system, maybe the water could be returned to the ocean or lake. Of course a boat wouldn't work in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and much of the US. But for BC and the eastern provinces in Canada, and also much of Ontario and Quebec, the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes would provide a passageway that would be somewhat accessible from fibre growing areas. I am in Ontario but a good 10 hours north of the Toronto area. I had fibre processed at Wellington Fibres in Elora, Ontario, and was shocked by the over $1,000 bill for about 5 garbage bags of roving and some yarn. I was told if I had pre-washed the wool even once my bill would have been significantly less. Belfast Mini Mills in PEI makes a machine that washes 3 fleeces at a time that they sell for around $2500. (They also sell other wool processing equipment.) A few co-ops of sheep and alpaca farmers in a region should be able to get together and buy units like these together.
For the rest of the processing, what about paying individuals to do the carding by hand with either a drum carder or a pair of hand cards or combs?
A sock machine might help, people seem to be willing to pay $30 a pair for alpaca blend socks, and there aren't very many knitters who can turn out a pair in an hour, but a hand crank sock machine can do that.
Belfast Mini Mills is in Canada, in our smallest province, Prince Edward Island. Their accent does sound a bit Irish, but they are Canadian.
Here is a website from an Irish company, called MiniMills. Mini Mills 4 Spindle Spinning Machine
I think he meant 5 pounds of fleece per hour, which is not the weight of the finished yarn that is produced per hour. Because the yarn is made of fleece wrapped around the sisal twine, the finished yarn is considerably heavier than the fleece used to make it. I have seen this type of yarn made with alpaca fleece, and it is nice for rugs but some of the sisal does poke through, so not likely the kind of rug you would want by a bed, to be stepped on with bare feet, though I imagine the sisal gets softer with time and washing. It certainly does get softer when it is out in the weather for a few seasons!
He said five pounds an hour. I wonder if he meant 5 lb per minute. That would be 300 pounds per hour.