Preparing Your Fleece
It is your responsibility to skirt and clean your fleece. The more you remove, the cleaner and better quality the final product will be.
Skirt and clean fleece
- Lay the fleece out on a sheet on the floor or table.
- Go around the outside and remove all the yukky wool as coloured in black in the diagram. The belly should have been removed at shearing.
- Remove the poorer quality (often a strip along mid back), short or stained wool, dags, or wool that is badly cotted (matted) or heavily contaminated with vegetable matter.
- If in doubt take it out.
Remove as much visible vegetable matter as possible, thistles, grass, straw etc.
If the fleece comes in heavily contaminated it WILL have vegetable matter in the end product.
Shake the fleece vigorously to remove all second cuts. These are produced when the shearer goes over a previous stroke to tidy up. Second cuts are short pieces of fleece that will behave in much the same way as tips in the machine, and ideally, they should be removed.
Weak Tips and Breaks
You can test for weak tips and breaks easily by holding a staple at each end between your thumb and forefinger and pulling it hard. If the tip breaks off then you have weak tips and they should be removed if you don’t want them through your finished carded fleece. If it pulls apart/breaks anywhere along the staple then the fleece is unsound and usually not suitable for carding.
This also applies to cria tips in young alpaca fleeces.
Tips that are weak will come off during the carding process and will contaminate the end product. The tips maybe be cut off before sending fibre in for carding.