You are SOOOO right. Let me take this moment to agree with you and my sore fingers and aching neck and shoulder too.
I am currently taking the needlefelting course at EBearZ on line and one of the things that has become apparent is that the quality of the roving we are using is causing us some grief. I have already come to the conclusion that I can felt until the cows come home and will never achieve the smooth finish I want on my bear's face because of the coarseness of the roving. Fortunately I've learned that before the bursitis in my shoulder gets to bad.
I have two wonderful new sources for roving which I checked out recommended by our instructor
which I pass on here... . People who actually rasie the animals that produce the product and know something about the entire process...the roving looks 'delicious' ...
I've been away from home for weeks and weeks and just now getting around to checking in on my favorite Subject:
Oh, Pat! I couldn't be MORE pleased that you've found Barbara & Elizabeth!! They are right near the Top of the list I give out of my FAVORITE Suppliers, ones I've used for 6 or 7 years.
Marr Haven has a Merino x Rambo cross (if I'm remembering correctly w/o checking my stock!) which I love as it needles so easily and you cannot go wrong with Elizabeth's Cormo for the absolute FINEST pure white finishing layer!
These are two business women who know their stock and I've always felt thta one must deal directly with the small flock owners to get the best quality.
One cannot just purchase 'wool' for needling. It behooves all of us to educate ourselves as to which breeds are the appropriate length/crimp/and all other characteristics for each project we're designing or for the way that we like to work.
There really are people out there who know their animals and are only too happy to send you a small bit of fiber (Please insist on paying a fee and not expect these samples for free) so you can test them out and familiarize yourself with the differences between, say Jacob and Corriedale and Cotswold and Polwarth and Finn.
It's just a matter of Googling each breed and writing to the owners you'll find listed.
Most of the ppl I've dealt with are the most wonderful ppl, just trying to work as I am, in this changing economy, and will answer your question if they can. Some aren't quite as knowledgeable about dry/needle felting as we'd like them to be, thinking that it's the same as the traditional wet felting, and will quote you the properties of their fiber in regards to wet felting. As this has now becoming more and more widely know tho, most are getting information more specific for each. But you still most inform yourself and question everything that's written or said against your own experiences.
This is where our own experience helps, as we can educate them - in order to help us in the future!
And do keep tiny samples and notes from everyone you've contacted, because you will forget or mix them up. I guarantee!
I've lost contact with some ppl that I'd purchase more from if I'd kept better records from since my beginnings almost 10 years ago, as well as being afraid to order from some, as I'm not sure if I'm going to get some that's going to be really bad fleece. (You don't want to know what has been included in some I've gotten...)
But we all learn from our own experiences and mistakes and if you just continue to purchase from online or shop suppliers who sell 'Wool' or 'Felting Fiber' you will never find the true treasures in the animal world, and obtaining the right fiber for each project is half the job done!!!