Saturday, March 25, 2006

Wool Washing Time
I have no earthly idea what I am doing but I always plunge into most everything I do that way, why should washing a fleece be any different? Because you can really screw it up! So I checked my notebook from when I was taking private spinning lessons and then turned to the internet for research. My spinning teacher has washed more wool than I am sure she wants to remember but this is my first time and I needed more than one method to give me the mental comfort I needed.

I went out to Linens 'n Things and bought myself two of those mesh laundry bags. They weren't that expensive. I think $5.99 a bag and I know I will get a lot of use out of them so I didn't mind spending the money. I really wish now that I had bought 4 but I will go back and get the other two. I have two fleeces to wash and hopefully more to come.

So before I got too far ahead of myself and screwed up the washing of the fleece I used Google to do a word search for washing fleece. I got a great site right away. I think it said that the site was being moved to England but who cares, because they had some really great simple information on how to wash a fleece and about wool moths. I printed it all off and read it about 40 times. I really didn't want to screw up my first fleece washing. I had visions of giant balls of felt in each bag and then I would have to decide what new craft I would have to learn to use up all the felted fleece. Is there some use for it that I have yet to learn? I guess I should also being doing a Google word search for that too?

Armed with my bags, I went outside on a really dreary day and divided up the fleece and got enough in the bag to make sure it wasn't too over crowded and could lay flat. Then I took the two mesh bags of fleece back into the house and laid them back on top of the two bags of fleece and starred them down while knitting on my shawl. I didn't have the kind of dishwashing liquid the website recommended so I had to wait until today to get some. We did our grocery shopping and found the Dawn that was recommended and I bought the largest bottle I could. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out. I have the fleeces on the third soaking and I am dying to see what happens myself. Those of you who wash your own fleeces, please feel free to dispense some well formed advise. I still have one whole fleece plus about 2/3s of the first one to wash. So chime in any time!!


Leslie said...

Brava! Dive right in!
From my limited experience, I believe that there are only two things to keep in mind : no agitation, and no quick temperature changes. Some people like to soak in plain water for very dirty fleeces; some don't think soaking is a good idea. I sometimes need very hot wash water to get all the lanolin out.When I'm ready to rinse, the wash water has cooled, and that's the temperature the rinse water has to be. Squeeze the wool; no swishing around. Blot. Separate a bit. Dry on a rack, or screen, anything that gives support and allows air circulation. This is the way I do it; I'm sure others will have tricks I don't know about.

vlb5757 said...

Leslie, thanks for coming by and the E mail. I got all the fleece washed by don't have any screens yet so just laid it on a large bath towel on the diningroom table. The top seemed dry to the touch this am, so I flipped it over to dry on the other side. I have no earthly idea what I am doing but I think the fleece is okay. I don't know of any sites that show a fleece gone wrong, so don't really know what felted fleece looks like. I am hopeful mine is okay. It's nice and soft and hopefully most of the veg matter will come out when I comb it, which I have never done either. So this is fleecing and carding -101. I knew about the agitation and just pushed the bags into the water in the tub. I will post what I did later and then you can tell me if it's right or wrong! Thanks for the help!

Wool Winder said...

I don't have any experience here, but it sounds like what you did should work. Have fun!

amanda cathleen said...

Can't wait to see how it all turns out : D