Sorting has become a buzzword in the fiber world in the past few years. What does it actually mean?
Getting fiber into uniform batches for processing to create the best yarn or finished products is the entire point of growing these animals and harvesting their fiber. Unfortunately the animals are not interested in the uniformity of their fleece! After shearing, the fleece is placed on a table that has a mesh on the top. Shaking the fleece allows second cuts (small pieces that occur during shearing) to fall through the holes in the mesh. The areas of the fleece that have a lot of contamination with hay and other vegetative matter are removed first.
Separating the fleece by length of the fiber and the fineness occurs next.
By sorting the fiber into different grades (length and micron diameter), the non-uniform fleece of the entire herd can be grouped into compatible bags for the mill. The mills do their best work with fiber that is of a relatively consistent length. They can calibrate their machinery to spin a consistent yarn. Graded fiber within a 3 micron deviation feels better, even if the micron diameter is relatively large. For example, a consistent Grade 5 yarn may feel as good as a less uniform Grade 3 yarn. It is not uncommon for a sorter to feel a soft fleece and find that the micron is higher than they would have guessed just based upon the feel.
So why have your fiber sorted? You end up with less waste at the mill (cost is less to process), your final product feels better and sheds less, your customers return for your high quality good.
Each sorter is an independent contractor and charges differently. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.