“the lost fleece”

To continue with the fiber show theme, and by Cosy‘s request, I will relate the story of The Lost Fleece.

In the town where I live, there is a very nice woman who has several sheep and llamas. Her wheel was the first I spun on, it was a Louet and I was bad. After visiting with her on one occasion, and mentioning that I was going to the Fiber Show (in 2006), she asked if I’d like to buy a fleece and take it with me to have it processed. So, I bought one of her fleeces, a Cotswold cross from Big Mama and it was huge!

Big Mama’s Fleece

She had suggested I take it to the Wooly Knob, a mill in Indiana, who was going to be accepting fleeces at the show. So I stuffed it into the trunk of the car and off we went. Sometime during the day, Rich dragged the fleece out of the car and over to their booth where it was weighed (10 lbs I think?) and taken off my hands. I wasn’t excepting to hear back from them for quite some time, since they had collected A LOT of fleeces that day.

Several months later, perhaps September or October, I called the mill since they hadn’t called me. I asked about the fleece, they said they’d have to call me back. Eventually, after many calls and unanswered questions, it came to light that the fleece had been LOST. How does one lose a 10 lb fleece?? I was irritated, to say the least. But the owner of the sheep was more upset. She and I were going to split the cost and final product and this sheep was getting old. Who knew if she’d last until the next shearing? I can’t say with certainty whether Big Mama was able to give another fleece or not, and no, the fleece I sent was never found.

To amend the situation, the mill voluntarily sent me replacement wool. However, it was several months later that it arrived. When he made the suggestion, I assumed he was staring at the wool as he spoke. In actuality, it had not even been processed yet. I know they did not send me an equivalent amount, but I accepted it nonetheless. Unfortunately, it is a rather low-quality wool with a short staple and lots of veggie matter. I have spun through one entire bag, half of another, and still have one more.

Box of replacement wool

So, this year when I take in my fleece I will try a new mill, Zeilinger Wool Co. in Frankenmuth, MI. I have not gone around sullying the name of the Wooly Knob, but I can say I was not overly pleased with the transaction.

One thought on ““the lost fleece”

  1. Arrrghghghgh — that stinks!!!! I suppose it’s not possible for them to make a completely equal “repair” since no fleece will be Big Mama’s (love the name). Still, I would have expected them at least to send and equivalent amount and a decent quality. Better luck this year!

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