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 🙂
  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 🙂

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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