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Custom Processing at Fingerlakes Woolen Mill

Jay has passed away after a year long fight with lymphoma.Jay never gave up. He believed each day that he would be better and that he would soon be in the mill working. He will be greatly missed. It will take some time to catch up with the mill work and communications. Please do not send new processing to the mill at this time. I will be working to organize the work that is already here. If you have wool waiting for processing you should hear from me in the near future. Suzanne


We know that you care about your fiber and we do too. We handle each batch of processing separately and clean all equipment between orders. Your own wool is always returned to you. All processing is done by ourselves at our mill. You are welcome to visit our mill to learn about fiber processing and see the equipment.

Fingerlakes Woolen Mill provides custom washing, picking, carding and spinning of wool and blends. For picking and thorough blending, the mill uses a 48” precarding picker. Next, a 60” carding machine is used in a process that produces a light continuous web (roving) about 10” wide. A peralta, a set of 1-ton steel rolls, is used to pulverize some of the foreign matter present in the fiber.

Weights for prices are by lot. A lot is a batch of fiber that is processed together. Batches of fiber that are to be washed and/or carded separately are different lots.

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Fiber Processing

We suggest a minimum of 3 lbs of fiber after washing should be available for carding. Remember the smaller the amount, the larger the percentage of waste. With a 60” carder small amounts can disappear. If you expect to have less than 3 lbs after washing, we suggest that you have the wool washed and picked at our mill and then carded by a hand operated drum carder.

prices effective September 1, 2013

Your Raw Wool Washed & Processed into Roving

Under 4 lbs $24.00 per lot
4 to 49 lbs $6.00/lb
50 lbs & over $5.75/lb

For greasy wools (i.e. Rambouillet) add $1.00; Targhee or Merino add $2.25

Your Washed Wool Processed into Roving
Note: the wool you send us must not feel at all tacky or greasy. If the wool is not completely clean, we will rewash the wool before carding and charge appropriately.

Under 4 lbs $20.00 per lot
4 to 49 lbs $5.00/lb
50 to 100 lbs $4.75/lb
100 lbs< $4.50/lb

Your Raw Wool/Exotic Fiber Blends Washed & Processed into Roving
We can provide silk, wool and nylon for blending with wool or mohair (call for prices), or you may send us yours. Other possible blends available. All blends must have at least 50% wool.

Under 4 lbs of  wool/mohair blend $30.00 per lot
4 lbs or more Wool/Mohair blend $7.50/lb
Under 4 lbs of wool/non-mohair blend $26.00 per lot
4 lbs or more Wool/non-mohair blend $6.50/lb

Your Washed Wool/Exotic Fiber Blends Processed into Roving
No mohair please. All mohair must be washed at the mill.

Under 3 lbs wool/non-mohair $18.00 per lot
3 lbs or more wool/non-mohair $6.00/lb

Your Raw Fiber Washed & Picked
If you want to card the fiber yourself, or if it is too long (over 5” on the average) to be carded, this is a nice option. This is a good option for 100% exotics.

Under 3 lbs wool or non-mohair $15.00 per lot
3 lbs or more wool or non-mohair


Under 3 lbs mohair $21.00 per lot
3 lbs or more mohair $7.00/lb

Your Raw Fibers Washed Only
We can open and wash your raw fiber to make it easier to card or for use in other craft projects.

Under 3 lbs wool or non-mohair fiber $8.00 per lot
3 lbs or more wool or non-mohair fiber


Under 3 lbs mohair fiber $10.00 per lot
3 lbs or more mohair fiber $3.30/lb

For greasy wools (i.e. Rambouillet) add $1.00; Targhee or Merino add $2.25

Your Fiber Made to Yarn or Pencil Roving
Please contact us if you are interested in having your fiber made into yarn or pencil roving. We frequently have a long queue for these processes and are not always accepting new jobs. We do not accept orders for these services without previous arrangements. Please do not send us fiber for yarn or pencil roving unless we have approved the order.



Wool staple must be at least 2" and no longer than 5"; ideally the length should be in the 3" range. With machine spinning, there is no advantage to long wool and at some point long wool cannot be carded. Shear twice a year if need be. The wool must be free of moths, moth damage, manure tags and heavy mats. This means you should skirt the fleece and remove these things. The mill will not accept any fiber that shows presence of moths. The wool should be as free as possible from burrs, hay chaff and second cuts. Skirt this stuff too. While picking and carding, even spinning, will result in cleaner wool, the old rule applies - the more junk you start with, the more you end up with.

The staff at Fingerlakes is surprised at the number of orders that come in unskirted. This is something to be done at shearing time. It will cost you more to have skirting done at the mill and if your product is too contaminated, it will be rejected.

The staff at Fingerlakes does it best in processing every order, but it cannot be responsible for pilling during carding that occurrs due to weak or damaged wool fibers. This noiling is a disappointment to everyone and causes us hours of lost working time while we are forced to clean the problem wool off of our equipment. Please insure that your fleeces are in good condition before sending them to the mill.


Instructions for Home Scouring

Skirt your fleeces by removing the belly wool, any manure tags, matts, burrs and chaffy wool. It helps if you attempt to pull the fleece apart, or pick it somewhat, before washing. Smaller pieces makes all the steps easier. (If you are close, you can get help from the mill: one of the machines can do this job.) Fill a tub with hot water (130º F or more - hotter than your hands can stand - as hot as your hot water heater can produce safely; 150º is great). Add about 500ml of detergent (not soap) to the water for each fleece (10-15lbs). (At the mill "Joy" and "Ivory" are used.) Do not use detergents that contain phosphates. Add as much fiber as will stay submerged. Let soak. Do not agitate. Rinse at least twice using water of approximately the same temperature. Squeeze or wring the fibers to remove the water. Dry the fibers on screens or racks. Pick if you wish during or after drying. You know if the dryed wool is washed enough if after handling it for some time and pressing your fingertips together, you do not feel your skin sticking. For greasy wools, such as Merino, Rambouillet, Columbia, etc., you may have to wash several times. It is not uncommon to wash three times for some of these fleeces.

If you are doing several loads, notice the amount of suds in the first wash. You want a few soap bubbles in the water, but not too much. Adjust amount of detergent based on the amount of grease in your particular fleece. Adding ammonia, about a cup, is acceptable.

You can use the above process in a washing machine and get great results. Fill the washer with the water, add detergent, stir, add wool until you can not push any more in. Let sit for 20 minutes or more. Drain water (never agitate). As the tub spins, direct hot water on the spinning wool. If you can observe the water draining, continue applying water until it is clear. (At the mill, a short hose is hooked to the hot water tap and this is sprayed on the wool. Since you have to do this with the top open, be careful. Don't drop the hose in.) Your wool will dry much faster if you can use your washing machine as a centrifuge.


Getting the wool to Fingerlakes Woolen Mill

You may drop the wool at the mill, or send it via FedEx, UPS, USPS or motor freight. Wool is best sent in boxes or burlap bags. You may use plastic grain bags provided you use a regular plastic bag inside the grain bag. The best way is to simply compact it into a large paper towel box; you should be able to get 40 to 50 pounds in such a box. Put a label with your name and address inside the box as well as outside. If you want the wool washed and/or picked and carded, weigh the wool and prepay for the service. If you want the wool spun, the mill requires a 50% deposit. Unless arrangements are made for you to pick up the carded fibers or yarn you will be notified of the balance due (including shipping and handling charges) when your lot is completed. Fingerlakes guarantees to return your own wool.

If you wish to bring the wool and have it carded "while you wait", you must make an appointment. You may be required to assist (i.e. to bag the carded wool).


All visits to the mill are by appointment or chance.

Contact us for more information

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