Thursday, October 4, 2012

Packing fleeces for shipping

Hello everyone, long time no talk!  Yes, its been a loooonnng, hot, dry summer and I apparently didn't feel like talking about it :).  Well, today I actually had to turn on the heat in my car on the way home from work and I'm looking forward to firing up the gas stove tonight!  Nothing like putting a chill in the air to make me chatty apparently lol.

It has been my intention to post the blog some time ago but well, I got distracted (whats new!).  Last spring when the fleeces were flying out the door, I decided to take some pics of my process of packing a fleece up for shipping.  When I first started doing it, mostly to the processor, I had no clue how to fit a room full of fleece into a couple of boxes.  I asked around, got some advice from some helpful processors and fellow shepherds that got me through.  I'm a visual person though so I thought it might be helpful to others to see how I do it.  I've got it down to a fine art too!  What used to take me hours now takes me a few minutes! So here we go.

First you want to bag up your fleece in a new plastic bag, one that has no holes, not even tiny ones.  Its important to use a pretty good quality bag, thin trash bags usually don't work that well.  I found these clear leaf bags from a local discount store and they work really well.  Then find a box..and yes, this will easily fit into that box with room to spare when we're done!  Go ahead and print all the paperwork out that needs to go in the box as well as your shipping label, you want to be ready to close up the box and get it sealed quickly. 

Tear a couple strips of tape for sealing the bag, I like to use duct tape...

Next, place a paper towel on top of the fleece. The paper towel prevents wool from being sucked up into the vacuum and I also like it to help absorb any moisture if the wool gets warm during shipping.

Then place your vacuum hose (small nozzle end) on top of the paper towel. 

Now comes the fun part...turn on the vacuum!

Its so much fun to watch that wool shrink down to nothing :)

Once all the air is out (it will stop shrinking), turn off the vacuum and quickly pull the nozzle out of the bag.  I throw the nozzle down and quickly turn the bag to seal it off to keep the air from escaping.  This takes some practice, you can always start again if air gets back in the bag.

Once you've got the bag twisted, kink the top over and wrap the tape tightly around the kink to completely seal it and give you time to get it in the box and the box taped up.  The bags will start to expand  within a few minutes so this needs to be done fairly quickly. 

So this bag of wool turns into...

This!!  Isn't that fun?!  Okay, I'm easily amused lol. Of course you would never store your wool in this manner, this is strictly for shipping.  Also, by the time it reaches its destination, air will already be back in the bags and when the box is opened, the bags will mushroom up out which I think is kinda fun too :).  Be sure to thoroughly tape up your boxes so they don't bust out during shipping!!

So I'll leave you with some of our fall color thats just starting to pop. Didn't think we'd have much this year with the horrible dry hot summer but the trees are surprising me.  I'm sure with this cold snap we're getting, the color will deepen in the coming days!  Enjoy!


  1. Sounds like you are in the mood for Spring shearing...Did you send any of your wool to a processor this year?

    1. LOL, maybe not just yet! I had some lamb fleeces that we sheared a couple of weekends ago that I've been shipping out to Etsy customers and it reminded me of the "photo shoot" from spring :). I didn't send any to the processor this year, my fleeces are selling much better in the raw, people like those curls :).

  2. I will have to remember the vacuum cleaner suggestion ... next time ... I just bagged up 60 pounds of fleeces and took them to the mill.

  3. Dang! I knew I should have posted this sooner lol!

  4. I love shipping wool that way - sent some to my daughter, but didn't warn her about what would happen when she opened the box! Wool everywhere! I think it kind of exploded - I packed a LOT into a little box :)