Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Washing Fleece

I've been busy washing a few fleece(s) lately.
Shetland, Blue Faced Leicester and a BFL X Romney.

To wash the fleece:
First I open up the fleece and shake as much loose chaff out as I can. Anything obviously too damaged to use (too matted or just too much vegetation) I remove.
I fill some large buckets or containers with cold water and let the fleece soak outside for a few hours or overnight to remove the suint and loose dirt. I drain on the grass or into the gardens.
I then prepare a bath for the fleece of very hot tap water (140F) and use Dawn dish washing detergent with a tiny bit of Zep orange based degreaser. This is my default method.
Usually two detergent soakings for 30 minutes work well. Some fleece need 3 washes.

I have a portable electric spinner I use for fleece and before going into the wash water, I spin the fleece.
Again after washing I spin the fleece before the rinses. I do 3 rinses; the last rinse with some vinegar in the water. I spin again.

The fleece is then laid out on screening to dry.

Variations in washing: I sometimes add a spoon of Synthrapol/ or TNA soap to the washwater. I also used some Orvus to see how that would work. Truly I didn't notice any marked difference.

It takes a great deal of time to wash a fleece. Soaking time, washing time, spinning out water time.

The end result is a lot of beautiful clean wool available for a variety of projects.

BFL X Romney
Shetland 1

Shetland 2

Shetland 3

Shetland 4

Shetland 5. The nicest. A beauty

Summer Colours

Fun dyed Suffolk carded in small amounts ready to spin or blend.
I dyed and now have finished carding some Suffolk fleece. True it's not one of those fibres that you can ooh and ahh about being so soft, but it does have its uses. It's just as much fun to dye as any other fibre that may be softer.
I'm thinking of using this for an entrelac knitted bag, but that's just one possibility.  It could end up in a rug or ... I'm not really sure. There is time to change my mind.
I may blend the colours with a softer fibre in grey or white or some black even. They are all carded and beautiful now. 

The uncarded colours as seen above.

Dyed Suffok carded & ready to spin or blend.
This is the uncarded fleece, as seen in the middle of the red above.

Triad Dyed Suffolk. Carded & ready for spinning. These are 3 variations of each colour.