A Spinning Story: washing the fleece

Morning,

Sorry the gaps between posts. It’s been a hectic week between physio appointments and getting the garden ready for spring planting.

There was also an incident involving a pile of garden mulch and a red bellied black snake, but we won’t go there…

However, despite the drama, I did manage to get quite a bit of fleece washed, and although I don’t have any prior experience to base it off, I’m quite pleased with the results.

Before… and after…

The washed fleece

The washed fleece

Raw unwashed fleece

Raw unwashed fleece

The before and after

The before and after

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT: After some experimentation and suggestions from the women at the spinning group, I have been using a mild dish washing detergent in place of the wool wash. There may be other products that you can use, but this was readily available and seems to be working well.

Materials

  • wool wash
  • hot water
  • vinegar
  • lots of buckets
  • time
  • lots of sunshine

Method

  1. Separate the fleece into small chunks and remove any twigs, burs and seeds.
  2. Place about five small chunks of fleece into a delicates washing bag (the ones with the holes that you wash bras in). Any more than about five and I found the fleece didn’t wash as well.
  3. Fill a bucket with hot water.
  4. Add one to two capfuls of wool wash and a good dollop of vinegar – sorry my measurements aren’t more precise πŸ™‚
  5. Soak the fiber in the hot water for 20-30 minutes, don’t agitate the fiber too much as the heat and friction can cause the wool to felt.
  6. Tip the soapy water outside as apparently the lanolin isn’t good for septic systems, not sure about sewer systems.
  7. if the wool still looks dirty then repeat the process again
  8. after the second soak, empty the soapy water and replace with clean hot water, soak the wool for another 20 minutes to remove the soap.
  9. Gently squeeze out excess water and place in washing machine for 15-20 seconds on gentle spin.
  10. hang in bags on the clothes line to dry.

In other news…my aunt bought a drop spindle which she sent me to try and I had a go using some combed alpaca. It was tricky at first and the fiber kept breaking as I was trying to spin it, but I got the hang of it after a while and had an absolute blast.

My dad has promised to show me how to use the lathe soon and I’ve bought some oak dowel from Bunnings so I imagine I’ll soon be posting photos of my attempts at making my own spindle.

My wool combs seem to be working fairly well. The only problems seem to be that the nails could benefit from being a tad long and I should have sanded the wood better and given the whole thing a coat of lacquer. Anyway, I plan on starting prototype 2 soon πŸ™‚

I was also having a bit of trouble with static when combing the Corriedale wool. We’ve been having some fairly strong westerlies and my hair was going a bit staticky too. I sprayed some water onto the teeth of the wool comb and that settled it down a bit. Not sure if perhaps the type of metal in the nails could be contributing to the problem. If anyone has any ideas please let me know. In the meantime I will continue to experiment.

Kristy xxx

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Making your own wool comb – prototype 1

I have been researching wool combs on the net (and apart from seeming really difficult to find) – they also seem to be very expensive (as in $200+ expensive). Now, as a newcomer to spinning, I don’t have that kind of money to go throwing around, especially when I really don’t know what I’m talking about yet πŸ™‚

So, this afternoon after work I decided to have a go at making my own wool comb. Note that this is a prototype – I haven’t been able to try it out yet…

Wool Comb Prototype 1 Finished

Wool Comb Prototype 1 Finished

It’s made out of scrap timber that was lying around – but I plan on making a prototype 2 when I have a little more time and will use a better quality timber that won’t split when drilled.

I used an epoxy glue which will take at least a day to dry properly, so I will post an update when I have had a chance to try them out. Also, i’ll post an update very soon about the results of my wool washing experiments – they were very successful! πŸ™‚

Materials

  • Timber (approx 2 x 8cm and at least 20cm long)
  • Nails (approx 6cm long)
  • Glue/Adhesive

Tools

  • Timber hand saw
  • Right-angle rule
  • Pencil
  • Punch & Hammer (used for marking wood before drilling)
  • Drill with drill bits to match the size of the nails
  • Sandpaper

Method

Preparing the begin working on the combs

Preparing the begin working on the combs

  1. Cut the timber base to size using saw (approx 2x8x10cm)

    Using the timber saw to cut the comb base to size

    Using the timber saw to cut the comb base to size

  2. Mark a line along the top of the 10cm edge (approx 1.5-2cm in from the edge) using your pencil.
  3. Use the punch and hammer to make small indents along this line (spaced about 1cm apart) – this will stop the drill from slipping when you begin to drill holes.
  4. Choose a drill bit that is approx the same size as the diameter as your nails and drill even holes along the line.
  5. Make sure the nails fit into the holes – it should be a snug fit.

    Finished comb not yet glued together

    Finished comb not yet glued together

  6. Using your adhesive, glue the nails into place – follow instructions on glue packet on drying times

    Mixing and applying the epoxy

    Mixing and applying the epoxy

A Spinning Story: the wool has arrived

I arrived at work today to find two parcels waiting for me. I am so excited, my fleece arrived much earlier than I expected it to; 500 grams of unwashed Corriedale off-white fleece and 1.3kg of unwashed white alpaca fleece.

So, I believe the next step is to remove all the rubbish from the fleece…the burs, seeds, sticks, manure etc.

My to do list over the next few days…clean and wash lots of fleece. πŸ™‚

If anyone has any suggestions, i’d love to hear from you.

I have also discovered that there is a spinners and weavers group that meets in the local CWA rooms twice a week. So i’m planning on stopping by tomorrow. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

xxx

Scarves and Casts

So…

About 6 weeks ago I broke my ankle kitesurfing (see pretty picture)….

  kite2Β kite1

Which resulted in surgery and a leg cast..

Yesterday I got my final x-rays and *yay* my ankle is healing and the cast has now come off! So i’m into a walking boot and lots of physiotherapy.

On the upside, my forced month and a half of rest has resulted in more time for crafty pursuits . My latest project is a simple lace pattern scarf using a mohair/wool blend. It’s nothing fancy but it’s simple to knit in front of the tv and I love the colours.

        lace scarfΒ  Β lace scarf (close up)

P.S. Sorry for the poor lighting in the scarf photos – it’s almost bed time *yawn* πŸ™‚