Tag Archives: hand carders

Sheep Shearing in the UK

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Following on from my previous post – the video of shearing a shetland sheep in USA – I thought I’d add a couple of my old photos of sheep shearing, taken about 30 years ago!  I can’t remember where I took them – somewhere in South Wales.

 

 

These are scans of the A6 sepia postcards I published of the original photos – which is why they aren’t very sharp.  The sheep were being sheared in a field, and they were penned to make it easier to do the shearing as quickly as possible.

I did a search for shearing in the UK, to get a bit more info on when shearing is done here, and found this useful piece, oddly enough, published under the name of Sheep Shearing in the UK by Indie Farmer.

 

 

These are a couple of colour photos from that site.

And this is the first part of the blog – written in July 2014

The sheep shearing season in the UK (roughly mid May to mid July) is pretty much finished now, so farmers will be pleased that one difficult and time consuming job is over for another year, and the sheep will be happy to have got rid of their thick fleeces in this hot weather.

Shearing requires both skill and a lot of hard, physical work in hot summer conditions.  Some farmers shear their own sheep but many, especially those with large flocks (anything over a few hundred sheep) hire specialist shearing gangs to do the work for them.  Shearing gangs typically have three to eight members, and travel the country going from farm to farm, shearing every day during the season.  It is a hard life but pay can be good, about £2 a sheep and a good shearer can shear 200 sheep per day.  When the UK shearing season is over, the shearing gangs often travel to other countries where the shearing season is at a different time of year, in what is known as ‘the shearing circuit’, travelling from the UK to Norway, the USA, the Falklands, New Zealand, Australia, and pretty much anywhere that you can find plenty of sheep!  It is a very tough, hard working and hard drinking lifestyle, but it’s a good way to see the world, have fun and make some money.

Wool used to be where the main profit was in sheep farming, with meat as a useful sideline.  Many of the great Cathedrals and castles of the middle ages were built using the profits from the wool trade.  The Lord Speaker in the House of Lords still sits on a ceremonial Woolsack to represent the importance of wool to the economy in former times.  Now, however, sheep farmers make their main profit from meat, with wool being a very minor sideline.

It’s always useful to know a bit more about where your wool comes from!  Especially for spinners who are carding and spinning the raw fleeces!

PS. PLUG!

wingham-carders-standard-pair_Fotor

pair of standard hand carders – 72 pt

I sell hand carders that can deal with raw fleeces and all types of wool fibres – and also are quite useful as brushes for sheep and other animals if you are tidying up your stock for Agricultural Shows.  The current listings can be found if you click on the links below.

Listed on julzcraftstore.com here

USE THE COUPON CODE  customer10%off  at the checkout to get 10% off your order.

Listed on etsy here

Listed on ebay here

Julz Craft Supplies & julzcraftsupplies & julzweaving – changes to my ebay accounts

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scarfcopysI have been doing a bit of re-organisation during the last month or so, and changing round my ebay listings –

so thought I’d let you know what changes I have made, as they might be a bit confusing for my customers – and I don’t want to lose you!

When I started this blog several years ago, it was actually called Julz Spinning and Weaving Club, and was really just a place for my customers to find out a bit more about what I stocked.  The blog changed radically from January of this year, when I did the online blogging101 course and I learnt how to use the range of possibilities that blogging can give you!  The background used to be a tiled version of the pink woven scarf I made ages ago – smile – but a lot of people on the course thought it was a bit fussy as a background, so I changed to the current look!

You might not have noticed, that I have just subtly changed the header – it used to say Julz Crafts and was a bit clunky!

So from now on, its Julz Craft Supplies – a name I have always used for my etsy account – this is the banner I am using for my shop on etsy – if you click on the banner it will take you there.

new etsy banner

I had a long standing business account on ebay (called 85solway), but hadn’t used it for a while, so I opened a new account last year, which I called  julzweaving – a bit more relevant for what I intended to sell!

Things have gone really well on julzweaving – but there was a problem – it was a private account – which meant that I had 20 free listings a month – great! – but at the same time – it was treated as a new account and I was only allowed to list  a set amount of items a month!

This has been getting more and more of a nuisance, and you might have noticed that I have had to constantly add or subtract the number of say, cones of warping yarns I have to sell, when I actually have 20, I’ve only been able to list 4!  They gave me the maximum amount of items allowed on a private account – BUT  I have been juggling with it for months now!

I was just about to change julzweaving into a business account, so I could list more items, when I found out that it was easy to change the name of my old account – 85solway – to julzcraftsupplies!  It literally took me 2 minutes – I’ve had that account since 2004 and I’d never realised I could change the name!

SO – I AM SLOWLY MOVING THE LISTINGS

FROM JULZWEAVING TO JULZCRAFTSUPPLIES!

(Clicking on the names of the accounts will take you to them)

As the listings expire on julzweaving, I will be moving them over to julzcraftsupplies – which allows me to list as many items as I want and the full amount of stock I have of each!  (Many of these are also available in the etsy shop)

I will not be closing the julzweaving account, and I’m sure I’ll be using my free listings there – maybe for auction listings so you can get a bargain – maybe for just personal items I want to sell – but just at the moment, both sites are stocking my craft supplies – and I’m sorry if I am confusing my buyers – but unless I mention it on the actual listings – there is no way on ebay itself, to let you know that they have moved!

COMING SOON – CHRISTMAS FABRICS FOR YOU TO

MAKE XMAS STOCKINGS, GIFTS ETC – AND …..

On julzcraftsupplies – I have re-stocked with both standard and mini hand carders for spinners and also got a new lot of carding cloth in for those of you who would like to make your own BLENDING BOARD.  Instructions are given on the listing – and this time I have not only 13″ lengths, but also 18″ lengths, which give you more scope for producing interesting rolags.

stainless steel carding cloth

stainless steel carding cloth

pair of standard hand carders - 72 pt

pair of standard hand carders – 72 pt

pair of mini hand carders

pair of mini hand carders

new in – some beautiful fabrics for sewing and quilting projects

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I tend to stock mainly spinning and weaving supplies on the sites listed below my photo on the right hand side panel, and I have recently got in a stock of standard carders, mini carders and carding cloth for you to make your own blending boards (for making up your own blends of colours and fibres).  These you will find on the julzweaving account on ebay, and on julz craft supplies at etsy.

And, just because I fell in love with them – I took a chance and added some really beautiful fabrics to the mix – these you will find on the 85solway ebay account, and again on julz craft supplies at etsy.  I hope you like them – smile!

They are all 100% cotton, the widths are shown below – if you click on any of the images they will become a slide show.  They are all sold in varied amounts, so that you can choose from metres to fat quarters for quilting, and have been chosen as quilting matches.

Apart from the giraffe design which is a cotton canvas, suitable for upholstery, the designs below all come in a medium to light weight cotton, that is great for dressmaking and other sewing projects.

WHY ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION …..(£2.78 versus £11.99)

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OK – I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about Royal Mail at the moment – I was always against privatising it – and the privatisation process was botched, what ever Lord what’s his name has just announced in his parliamentary review!

white merino

100 gm of white merino tops/roving

As I post quite a lot of parcels, I have been very irritated over the past year at the changes Royal Mail have made to the cost structure.  They have restricted the sizes and increased the rates.  That’s actually meant that, as I sell quite a lot of wool in fibre form – for spinners to make into yarn – I have had to change the way I sell it.  I used to be able to stick it into a plastic bag, in its natural “ball shape” and go down to the post office and pay £2.20, if I remember rightly, to post whatever size it was, and I could send up to 750 gm for the same price.

a pair of carders used for preparing wool for spinning

a pair of carders used for preparing wool for spinning

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed when another of my popular items – carders for spinners – happened to sometimes weigh under 750 gm and sometimes just over 750 gm and I could never tell what bit of packaging made the difference! (About another pound or two in postage costs!)  Customers would get annoyed when they thought I’d overcharged them postage, and I’d be miffed if I’d set the price too low and made a loss!

When they changed the small parcel rate to 1 kg for £2.80 (2nd class), I no longer had a problem with the carders, but the wool ‘roving’ was a nightmare, as the box size was only 8 cm high.  That meant I could only send balls of wool for the medium parcel rate (£5.20) and tried every which way to avoid this, as sometimes the cost of the wool was only £3.

I tried to flatten the parcels, even bought a food vacuum machine, but the wool was either too compressed or not compressed enough.  I tried selling smaller amounts so I could fit them into the large letter rate,  which was fine for very small amounts, but if the letter was just over 2.5 cm thick, I then had to pay small parcel rate anyway!  (They put everything thro the size slots at the post office!)

Recently they have increased the height of a small parcel to 16 cm – for me that means that I can now post the 100 gm balls of wool, but not the 200 gm balls, cos wool is springy and however hard I try to tape it all up, it parcel seems to grow on my way to the post office – smile!  So I stopped buying in large quantities of fibres.

In fact I stopped selling altogether for a while, for a combination of reasons.  When I started selling again this October, I found  that there is a collection point for a private parcel service just a few more miles away than my local post office.  They don’t have such restrictive sizing for their parcels, and so the problem was solved.  I’ve just put an order in for a whole bale of white merino tops ……

I do still post most of my parcels through the post office, not only is it convenient, but I actually believe in giving local businesses my custom, and making an effort to ‘USE THEM OR LOSE THEM’.

weaving accessories, just a set of sticks measuring just over 61 cm long!

weaving accessories

I was in a hurry on Friday, and had several items to post, so I took them all down to the local post office.  I did have my doubts about one parcel – a set of weaving accessories that weighed under 1kg, but was just over the 61 cm allowed for medium parcels.  I thought I might just get away with sending it 1st class medium (£5.65).  It was carefully measured and pronounced too large for that rate, and I’d have to send it by the Parcelforce – express 48 (hrs) service – £11.99!

So I went home, got online, booked the parcel into the private courier service, printed out the label and then took it up to the drop off point.

COST:  £2.78! (plus a little extra petrol)

AND THAT’S WHY

ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION!

NEW STOCK JUST IN …..

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Well despite all the changes of plans (see previous blogs) – THIS blog is to let you know about the new stock you will find on my ebay page – just click 85solway and also in my etsy shop julzcraftsupplies.

And WELCOME to the new members I have invited to join JULZ SPINNING & WEAVING CLUB by email.

For weavers, I have got some more of the ever popular standard cotton warping yarn  – hmm – the first problem – these pictures horizontal, and I’ve no idea why!  I’m still new to this blog site!

 and some good linen yarn which comes in white, black, grey marble, blue marble & brick red colours……there are other colours available in the range, and if you make a request I will add them in to the next order.

For spinners, felters and papermakers, I have got in some new packs of silk & merino fibreswhich seem to be happy enuf to be vertical!

There are various colour ranges of each of these packs, which sell for £4.99 each – and you will find the variations on the single listings. They are really nicely packaged and would make great gifts for Xmas – if they sell well, I’ll order more in – there are other colourways, but I didn’t want to go overboard, before I knew whether they’d sell – so there are only 3 packs of each colour at the moment.

Both the standard carders and the mini carders are available, and can be restocked quite quickly if I run out of them.

For knitters and rug makers – I have got a small stock of pure Berber Wool – and will be listing it soon – just haven’t got around to photographing it yet!  I have had some work done in the house, and haven’t been able to use my ‘photography suite’ (a table in the study, blocked by boxes) – smile.  Will do it asap – but thought I’d put this blog up now, rather than wait until I’d done it!

For other crafters – I still have loads of stuffing materials and pre-felt and wadding.  Unfortunately, the cheap white shetland wool that has been very popular is now out of stock, (well I have about 200 gm of it left, but its not listed – if you want it please contact me direct) but I have replaced it with some brown shetland wool of the same quality.  The mohair fibre will also not be replaced as it was a special from the wholesaler – so if you want it, buy it now, as there is not a lot of it left!

You may notice that I am experimenting with new areas of craft supplies and also have stained glass grinders, and some sheet glass (I dabble in stained glass myself and wanted the equipment, so I bought some extra to sell) – soap making moulds and a great stainless steel soap cutter, (I also sell some natural soaps and shampoos),  baking and chocolate silicone moulds and artists supplies – some of which are on ebay and some on etsy.  (You don’t have to register on either site to view my listings.)

The SPECIAL OFFER – FREE POSTAGE on the Kromski 24″ Loom with Carrying Bag is still on – please go to the last blog to see details – to qualify for the free postage, you need to contact me direct, and NOT buy it on either site!  ie: I can offer you this price, because I will not be paying selling fees.  Feel free to try me on other items as well!

Oh yes, I was about to restock with the LANDSCAPE DYES (info on etsy only at the moment) but my supplier is waiting for new stock to come in – do let me know if there are any particular colours you want me to order for you!

To add yourself to the mailing list and become a member of Julz Spinning & Weaving Club (if you have found this blog by chance) – please contact me at julz@julzweaving.plus.com.

That’s all for the moment, please feel free to leave a comment, tweet this blog, get in touch etc

thanks

NB:  If you like the mini cards or business cards I attach to your receipts, see the advert below – If you happen to catch this blog before midnight on Sunday 23 September there is a discount of 25% off all orders.  Please take your time over the design of your cards, or whatever you choose, I find the site rather confusing and complicated – but the print quality is excellent – and yes, I do get commission!