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I am negotiating the purchase of a raw fleece (CVM/Corriedale cross) over the internet.  The seller had several fleeces listed with photos of all on Flickr.  It waas somewhat impulsive of me to even begin this. She said in her ad (one of the Yahoo groups, perhaps Fleeces for Sale?) that her flock is not coated, and the fleece were "raw" meaning unwashed.  It sounded like a good deal/only $5 per lb., but after she replied I began to have second thoughts, so I emailed her back asking her if she would 1) skirt the fleece; and 2) wash the fleece.  I said I would still be willing to pay the $5/lb (skirting would diminish the weight) plus extra if she would wash.  So I'm wondering if anyone here has purchased a fleece over the internet and if so, do you think it is reasonable of me to ask that she skirt and wash it first?  Note that these are not prize-winning fleeces.

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Replies to This Discussion

Beverly, I don't have any advice, since I don't know exactly what 'skirting' means. I understand washing, but not 'skirting'. I'll be very interested in seeing the replies to this discussion.
Skirting, as I understand it, is the removal of the dirtiest parts of the wool from the edges after a sheep is shorn.
Thanks, Beverly. I've heard the term a lot, but didn't know the specifics.
Oh, you are a brave soul! Lol! With no way to inspect it, I don't know. I was just reading about how to inspect a fleece somewhere just in the last day or two. Oh!! It was a little book at the library called Spinning, Dyeing & Weaving. Cute little book. But it recommended being able to look at them yourself. If you look at an individual fiber hair and see that there is a thinner weak spot somewhere along the length of the shaft- then it means they didn't get proper nutrition when they lambed or were ill or something and the fiber is not strong- it will break too much at that weak spot and you shouldn't buy it. I don't know it that's 100% true in every case, but it sounded reasonable. Plus without seeing it, you'd have no way of knowing exactly how much vegetable matter is in the fleece. ?? Just my 2 cents.
I have purchased on ebay and have gotten both already washed fleeces there and non washed for a good price.
I did buy one pound of fleece early on that was skirted, but unwashed... boy the washing was a chore... but the fleece came out wonderful. By the sheep not being coated, there will be a good bit of VM in it... amounts vary... and a good combing or carding should remove all but the tiniest pieces. $5/lb. is not a bad price at all!
Thanks PickleSue, Sara, and Susan. I'm not at all brave...just looking for a way to save money (since I've been spending it right and left on spindles) and yet get a largish quantity of spinnable wool just for learning to spin on my wheel. She did have one fleece there which she fully admitted to it having been sick and the price of the fleece was even less, but I don't really know why anyone would even consider buying that particular fleece;;;anyway, the fact that she admitted that fleece was below standard gave me some hope that other things she said were true. But the more I think about...I'm not going to go through with it unless she will do the skirting and the washing. I do enjoy hand carding and if/when I get some combs, I'm sure I would enjoy that as well, but I really don't have any interest in washing a fleece...too much like rinsing out dirty diapers if you ask me (for those of us who remember a time before disposable diapers were invented)!
Beverly, Oh, it's a lot worse than dirty diapers... trust me!
Worse than dirty diapers..eeuuuw. No way, no how, do I want to have something like that in my house!
When I bought that one lb. of skirted/unwashed fleece... all I had to do was open the bag... whew! Nasty! I soaked it twice in hot soapy water, and rinsed it three times before it was fit to even touch.
Beverly. I have ordered fleeces over the phone, not e mail, but it isn't much different. I cannot imagine anyone washing the fleece for $5 a pound, BUT it SHOULD be skirted for that price. Don't buy an unskirted fleece! You'd be paying for a lot of dung. Dung is heavy! The first thing you would do when you got the fleece is skirt it and throw all that wool and dung away. Money in the garbage can. If it were me I would not buy that fleece. Remember that sheep are notoriously stupid and incredibly filthy animals. They unlike any other animal will lay and sleep in their own excrement!
Oh, YUCK! I knew they were incredibly stupid, but nothing of their filthy habits! The seller didn't exactly say they were Not skirted, but I could tell from her photos that either they weren't or if they had been skirted, whoever did it, did a very lousy job! I really appreciate your advice. I have decided that if she is willing to skirt/wash the fleece, I will be willing to pay as much as $7.50/lb. If she won't, I won't buy it. Lord knows there are lots of fleeces out there, not to mention ready-to-spin roving and tip and batts.

Again, thanks to all of you for "holding my hand".


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