Producing our products

What does it take to make our finished products?

First select the sheep

The most popular breed among our members is the Corriedale which originated from a cross between Merino and Lincoln. It is a good breed for both meat and wool, producing a medium strength fibre (25-30micron) with good length. It is soft and pleasant to handle and is often recommended for beginners learning to spin by hand.

Sheep are shorn annually.

A single fleece after shearing ready to be thrown onto the wool table for skirting. Skirting is the removal of short head wool and sweat points around the legs.

Getting it together

Each year in November, participating members gather with their freshly shorn fleeces and select the fleeces which will be pooled to provide the yarn for Association activities.

Pooling fleeces allows the processing of a suitable quantity for machine.

Machine processing allows larger quantities to be prepared than is easy to do by hand. We process anything up to 400-500kg which is small in commercial terms but more than the individual breeder with a small flock could produce. The share activity also allows costs to be shared.

Fleeces are selected on the basis of being as clean as is realistic given that sheep live in the paddocks through rain, wind and heat. They must also be sound – when tested, the fleece does not break. Breaks in the fleece can cause problems during processing as the pressure may cause the fleece to snap creating short fibres and ultimately pilling.

Sheep are shorn annually.


Wool straight from the sheep contains some vegetable matter such as grass seeds and grass, plus lanolin from the sheep skin and general dirt. Scouring is the process of removing as much as possible so that the next processes can produce the best yarn.

After scouring the wool is further processed on a drum carder, into batts, then combed, into tops.

Yarn Spinning

Tops are factory spun to produce 8ply yarn. Colours are determined by the colour of the fleeces.

For the hand knitters we specify 8 ply yarn as this is the most popular thickness for making garments for adults.


By the time the yarn is scoured and spun, considerable weight has been lost. Usually we plan on having a finished quantity about 65% of the original raw fibre. We then select a suitable pattern at the knitting mill and arrange for the delivery of the yarn to the mill. The finished garment will have been knitted, cut to shape, stitched together and labeled ready for sale. A working bee of members attaches a sales tag to each jumper or skein of yarn with the size and price. Our 8 ply yarns are very suitable for knitting, crochet and weaving. Dyeing over natural colours produces muted shades that combine well together. We are an authorised reseller for the three colour ranges of Kraftkolour ‘Landscape’ dyes, Originals, Elements and Seasons.


Group members attend a succession of markets through the cooler months and the jumpers and yarn are sold along side hand crafted items produced from natural fibres. The range of items allows for small hand knitted or crocheted garments such as gloves, scarves, beanies, socks, toys, ornaments and so on. Markets are also an opportunity to talk to the public about the benefits of natural coloured wool. Some members craft felted items such as scarves, toys and oven mitts. Although the process takes time and effort it offers members the opportunity to work together and enjoy learning about the possibilities of the wonderful fleeces produced by our sheep.