Custom Processing Spring 2014
WHY CHOOSE BATTENKILL FIBERS FOR YOUR CUSTOM PROCESSING?
Soft yarn and smooth roving - Our semi-worsted machinery is especially good for handling short staples such as Merino and other fine wools, alpaca, and other slippery fibers including mohair and long-wools. We make even traditionally scratchy fibers feel luxurious next to your skin. By choosing to process at Battenkill Fibers, you will receive not only premium quality yarn, but a smoother, longer-wearing product. Our pin-drafting process makes yarn more uniform and aligns the fibers in the yarn so that they lie parallel to one other. The yarn is loftier and the crimp is well-balanced, creating crisp stitch definition in knitted fabrics.
Your own fiber back, regardless of size of order - After all of your hard work caring for your animal, having it sheared properly, sorting out the best fibers, and storing and delivering your fleeces to a mill – you want to know for sure that the yarn or roving returned to you is yours and not someone else’s.
Yarn spun to your exact specifications - Indy dyers, yarn store owners, knitting guild members – if you want a customized base yarn for a signature product or special project, come to us. Many of our staff are also knitters and we know the importance of consistent yardage/weights, plying, skein appearance, etc. The advantage of working with us - we can help you succeed in your next venture (and you won’t have to buy a container load from China or travel to Italy to get it).
Prompt processing times - Your order is carefully tracked through our efficient production process. We group similar orders on our schedule by color in the picking and carding department, by fiber in the pin-drafting area, and by twist in the spinning room. And because of this, you are able to get your order back in a timely manner.
Local personalized service - You can just drop-off and pick-up orders in person, or save on expensive long-distance shipping charges. Come for a visit anytime (no passport required). By entrusting us with your fiber, you will be making an important contribution to sustaining our region’s rural economy. The people who work at Battenkill Fibers are local folks, many of them fiber farmers themselves, who are part of keeping New York State’s value added ag economy moving. And because we live here, we care about the future of our place on the land. We draw the least amount of water and power possible when we process your order; and we dispose of waste in a responsible manner.
CUSTOM MADE WOVEN BLANKETS FROM YOUR WOOL
Battenkill Fibers has partnered with a traditional blanket weaver in New England to bring you custom woven blankets on a vintage dobby looms - current size available: Throw - 52"x72"
Other sizes by special order.
Minimum order all your own wool and weaving pattern - 40 lbs finished weight (about 16 throws). Minimum order your own wool in the weft and mill-selected pattern - 5 lbs.
Call for pricing 518 692 2700; or to request a quote on other sizes and large jobs. SAMPLES AVAILABLE.
TUTORIAL IN SKIRTING
Skirting fleeces is a very important part of the fiber process, and is not to be over looked. Quality in = Quality out.
The cleaner the fleece you send for processing, the happier you will be in the long run with your finished fiber product. Battenkill Fibers can assist by offering a hands-on, skirting workshop free of charge, whenever you would like (call to schedule 518 692 2700). Or review this helpful step by step guide >>>
Demonstration video - learn about sheep shearing here >>>
Processing starts with our people - Battenkill Fibers’ knowledgeable staff care about the quality of your finished products. We are committed to our work; and relate to our clients because most of us are also farmers and raise fiber animals of our own.
Skirting – Nothing is more important than the quality of fleeces. Please carefully remove dung tags and vegetable matter from your fleeces before sending to us for processing. If we need to skirt your fleece before processing, it will add time and expense to your order. If you have any questions about your fleeces or how to skirt it please call us for a consultation. You may want to mail a sample for us to evaluate before sending in your entire job.
Scouring - We begin the simple yet important washing process on all skirted fleeces by using very hot (170 degrees) water and a specially-formulated (and environmentally-safe) soap to emulsify the lanolin in the fiber. There are two washes and three rinses. The fiber MUST be free of lanolin and not feel tacky because it will gum up our machines. We reserve the right to determine if a fleece is clean enough and will wash it again if we need to. Fine fleeces require more washes, as do really dirty fleeces. Next the water is extracted from the fiber and the washed locks are air-dried overnight on a rack system. Note: We never use harsh, abrasive chemicals in our scouring. Nor do we use acid baths to remove vegetation or add bleach to enhance our whites.
Picking - Some fiber will be sent through our picker to open up the staple and shake out the dirt and chaff. We add a natural anti-static oil sometimes to aid in the processing.
Carding - Battenkill Fibers uses an 84 inch Davis and Furber compact card (shown at right). This machine opens up the fibers and teases the clumps as they go over the cylinders and rollers. A wide blanket or web spills out the end of the machine to the coiler, producing 8 inch-wide roving. We now also have a 16 inch Davis and Furber card for smaller jobs.
Pin drafting/combing – Our Warner-Swassey four-head pin drafter is a very important machine. It makes uniform sliver ready for spinning (by our machines or by hand-spinners) by straightening the fibers and aligning them parallel to each other, all in one direction. This makes a softer, bouncier roving and yarn.
Spinning/plying - Battenkill Fibers runs a 90-spindle Gaudino spinning frame. Our spinner is capable of spinning a wide variety of yarn weights and twists. Our Meadows twister can make two, three, or four-ply yarn to suit the various needs of hand-knitters and weavers.
Skein winding - Our standard put-up is in 3.5-4 oz. skeins. Other sizes are available, as is optional cone-winding.
Call us if you have any questions about processing. If you get the answering machine, it’s because we can't always hear the phone when the machines are running. Leave us a message; and we’ll call you back.
Take a tour. Call ahead; and we'll walk you through the mill, showing you the process for making yarn step by step.