OK, reach over to your basket or shelf or pail and grab that skein of Brown Sheep yarn. Got it? Nice. Know where it came from? Mitchell Nebraska right? Sort of...
On a mountain slope in Colorado live several herds of 80,000 sheep. They spend their days growing soft wooly coats. When the ranchers shear them, we have an order in to buy the dirty greasy wool. It is shipped in giant bales to our factory.
Upon reciept of the raw wool, we send it down to South Carolina to be washed, carded (lining up all the fibers in the same direction), and combed (removing the short fibers). The freshly washed, carded, and combed wool--weighing half of what it did when it arrived in South Carolina--is shipped back to our mill in western Nebraska for processing into beautiful high-quality yarn.
We turn it into roving--great for purchase by those of you who like to spin and dye your own wool products. It comes in 25-pound "bumps."
At this point we spin the wool into yarn. It is all white since the dye-master has not gotten his hands on it yet.