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

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