Skein Size Matters


Minnie Belle, back when she wasn’t naked.

Her mama, Annabelle, getting naked:

Miss Crazy Jacob and Crazy Jr. That’s CJ to you.

When I got the sheepies naked this year, I decided I was going to do something different and actually have the wool processed. I’m going to have the wool from Minnie Belle, Miss Crazy Jacob, and CJ spun into yarn (each in their natural colors) and have Annabelle’s wool turned into batting for felting or other crafts. I’m having the wool processed by The Fiber Factory. They specialize in alpacas, but also process for sheep. Most importantly, they process small batches, which is perfect for me with my four sheep. I called some other places and found I didn’t really have enough wool for a “run” (especially since I want to keep Minnie Belle’s separate to keep her yarn her natural color while keeping Crazy and Jr. together to keep their natural color, and of course also keep Annabelle separate as batting).

I need some help from you crafters out there in filling out the forms for my wool. I have to specify a skein size. 200 yards. 250 yards. Or other? What is the size skein you prefer when purchasing yarn? I may keep some of this yarn for myself, but I plan on selling most of it so am interested in hearing what people prefer and find most functional in skein sizes.

I plan to get this wool boxed up and out of here by early next week, and I should have yarn and batting available for sale in about three months! I’ll have the yarn and batting available online through my website, but I’m also setting up a little “farm store” in conjunction with the studio where I can sell eggs, yarn/batting, soaps, photo prints/magnets/postcards from my farm photography, and probably a random variety of whatever else I have going on–jams and jellies, herbs, plants, who knows. I’m a multi-tangetial operation!


  1. bonita says:

    Suzanne, I figure it’s a dart board. 200, 250…will the yarn be worsted or bulky? How much will you get from Minibelle? the CJ’s? The trend now is to specify #ounces as well as #yards in a skein.
    IMHO the best you can do is pick one. An experienced knitter or crocheter can handle a skein of yarn and decide if he or she wants to work with it. Then they’ll guess how much they might need for some future project. If the yarn appeals, and I’m sure yours will, the size of the skein won’t much matter, it’s the quality and seductiveness of the yarn that will be the deciding factor. Then the yarn will go home and become part of the knitter’s or crocheter’s treasured stash. They will wait for the perfect pattern to come along to use your special yarn.
    The K’s and C’s of the world not only have UFO’s, they always have TBU yarn on hand. Can I get an Amen?

  2. STracer says:

    I don’t know anything about yarn, but when it comes to cross stitching, Bonita, here’s your Oh Yeah! I have a multitude of XS fabric in 14, 18, and 25ct, with DMC every color in the rainbow. Three UFOs with dozens of TBU plans. Oh and my ORT jar is a spiral of color too. It really is a foreign language. 😀

  3. jan n tn says:

    OH bonita, tis all so very true! Although I’m not exactly sure what TBU is…I’m sure that it exists in the third bedroom of this house.

  4. rurification says:

    Bigger skeins means someone needs to buy fewer skeins for a project and can probably get a nice project out of one skein. That’s good. I’d go with the bigger skein. Are you going with worsted?

  5. GA_in_GA says:

    Glad I am not the only one guessing the acronyms this morning! 😆

    TBU – To Be Used??? I’ll have another cup of coffee for the rest! :bugeyed:

    And Suzanne, I am so excited to know you are leaving the original coloring in the yarn. Sign me up for a skein for J or CJ, please!

  6. TeaCup says:

    Well as a person who buys stuff but never does much with them, I have to say that all the acronyms are interesting!

    Suzanne, I think your multi-layered farm sales idea is wonderful!


  7. langela says:

    Not an answer to your question, but a suggestion for using the wool. I felted some of my soap bars for home use. It is wonderful! It is so helpful when the bar gets smaller as it keeps it from breaking apart. It also helps ours last longer and not slip out of our hands.

  8. Robin says:

    I’ll give you an Amen,Sister Bonita. I have crocheted and knitted for about 40 yrs now, so I have a hefty stash of yarn, but I still add to it. Most worsted skeins are between 180 and 220 yards. I love to use yarn when I know what sheep it came from-gives it that personal touch.Even a little picture of the face of each sheep that it came from makes a nice add on when you’ve made a gift for someone special !!

  9. DancesInGarden says:

    For your typical worsted WOOL yarn, around here they usually sell them in 100g balls. That ranges from about 150 to 220 yards depending on the type of wool (some are higher, some are lower).

    So, really, it is up to you. Since you have a small flock, you might want to get a few more skeins out of a batch….go for 200 yards. It is not uncommon for “specialty” stuff to come in a smaller amount, either so you won’t be cheating anybody.

    In fact, there is a small farm near me that sells un-dyed spun wool in 50g skeins, but I think that might be fingering weight and the yardage might be comparable to 200-250. She combines her colours so that she has a gradient from cream to brown available.

    I want to suggest in the future you think about having some spun fingering weight. That is awesome for socks and mittens and gloves, and for those of us that find wool way too warm and heavy, we can create larger items that are still warm as hugs in a lighter weight.

  10. wormlady says:

    I, too, would recommend smaller skeins. That way, someone who is intrigued, but doesn’t want to invest much finds it easier. I’m also partial to finer yarns. You can always use two strands if you need a heavier yarn. Plus, you can get 3 colors from 2 yarns by using each one separately, plus the two held together. I love to use the two colors on either side of the color I’m aiming for on the color wheel to get a richer version.
    Are your Jacobs spotted?

  11. LynneW says:

    How lovely to hear you will be able to sell your wool! Please do keep us posted.

    I’m voting with DancesInGarden – 100 grams or 200 yards is a good amount per skein, and spun fingering weight would be lovely for those of us who like to knit socks, shawls, etc. Maybe next year?

  12. LynneW says:

    I think you’re wise to stick with only one weight at a time.

    And once it’s been processed, wool keeps quite nicely if you store it properly, unlike fleeces (especially those that haven’t been skirted and washed yet!)

    So next year when you mention it again, if you haven’t already sold it you may have new readers who are interested!

  13. enjay says:

    In my experience Worsted is usually sold in 4 ounce skeins or hanks and usually runs about 200 yards or so.
    I’d love to buy some of Annabelle’s fleece, she’s the type of breed that I prefer to spin for socks.

  14. Vicki in So. CA says:

    I’m with the majority here… 200 yds. sounds good to me. I’ll be watching for your yarns to go on sale here on your site. Their natural colors are so beautiful!

  15. Old Geezer says:

    My wife, an “experienced knitter” votes with bonita and all the other commenters who weighed in (heh, heh) with the 180-200 length. She often will buy craft wool from specialty stores and will certainly look your offerings over. On our last trip to Scotland (where our daughter lives) my wife spent at least an hour prowling the yarn outlets in Ullapool while I sat on the quay admiring the scenery. I should have gotten a leisurely pint.

  16. holstein woman says:

    I used worsted weight and more than one color when I knitted and hoodie recently, so I vote with everyone else. You can do so much with it.

  17. farmershae says:

    Well, I know nothing about nothing. But I want some.

  18. woolylamb says:

    Worsted wt? 200 is fine, and sign me up!

  19. Pat says:

    I crochet and know zippitydoodah about weights; I’m just drawn to the colors and yarn type –cotton or wool, please. So I’ll watch for the wool to come back and hope to get some. What a treasure–wool from Minnie Belle or the Jacobs or some batting from Annabelle! :sheep:

  20. cabynfevr says:

    I just went to a sheep and fiber festival today and was in wool heaven! Sheep, Alpacas, goats and even rabbits! There is nothing more beautiful to me than skiens of wool hanging on a rustic rack. Thing is, I don’t knit OR crochet! I have a small weaving kit to make hats and scarves and I love to needle felt and make crafts from felted wool but no needle crafts, go figure. Anyway, I LOVE Annabelle and Baby Belles face. What breed are they?

  21. stacylee says:

    Must… Have… Annabelle’s… Yarn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. charitychickens says:

    I think Annabelle is the most amazing sheep I’ve ever seen – my children and I watch the video often of her romping in the yard with the dog. That is the best video in the world and always brings smiles. I know you wanted help on crafting, but I just had to post that. Hope all goes well!!

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