Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Change in Attitude

It has happened slowly over the last month or so.  It began when I read the post by Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, on her blog by that same name.  In her post she was showing the way she was cleaning her new yummy fleece.  As soon as I finished it, I was in shock!  You mean to tell me that she is going to clean that fleece lock by lock!  Yep,  that is exactly what she said, and in a subsuquent post you can tell that she really did do it that way.  You mean to tell me that she is not forcing herself to clean the whole fleece in one day!  Yep, that is right, she may even start using some of the clean locks before she finishes the rest!  I was dumbfounded, mostly because it just never entered my mind to do it like that!  I mean really, lock by lock!  That would take forever!

Then I purchased the video download by Rita Buchanan, and she pretty much does a variation of the same thing, she lines her locks up on trays and  with an empty tray on top to stabilize them, she plunges them in soapy water a couple of times and then rinses the same way.  She also talked about how much she likes to handle the wool in all of it's stages.  Skirting, cleaning, combing,dyeing,combining colors on the drum carder, and finally spinning, and knitting or weaving.  It just got me thinking about my usual way of going from dirty fleece to clean fleece.  I always approched it as more of a full fleece project, and I was bound and determined to get it over with, and as fast as I could too!  The results were not always the best, and I have felted my fair share of fleece too!

In my Studio reorganization this week I decided that I had better find out just how many dirty fleeces I had stashed up there in need of attention.  I was pleased to see that I had only four.   Three of them came from a stash dispersal, and I got those for 5 dollars each.  They are of unknown age, so really the quicker I get to them the better.  So, boldly, I picked up the smallest bag of fleece and took it downstairs to have a look at it.

Dirty, very dirty, and smelling pleasently of sheep.  You can see the lock I picked out in the picture above.  Lots of lanolin, dirt and vegetable matter.  A wonderful fleece to test this new system!

I began by taking a couple of handfuls of locks over to the sink, filling a dishtub (not my dish, dish tub!) with hot water and adding a couple of drops of dawn dish detergent.  I seperated out a couple of locks, and held them by their butt end and plunged them into the hot soapy water.  I fiddled with the ends a bit with my free hand, and worked out some of the filth.  I then laid it aside in the sink and did the same to the rest of it.  I repeated that step once more, then rinsed them out using the same system.  I rolled the locks in a clean towel and then laid them out one by one on a sweater drying rack that I have upstairs.  They looked like drowned rats, but at least they were not felted!  The next day, I did another handful of fleece.  I don't think my husband even knows that it is happening!  Now that is saying something!  Usually there is fleece everywhere, stinking up the place.

Here are some of the first clean locks to finish drying.  That is a 4 inch leclerc bobbin in the middle for size comparison.  I think you can just see the luster radiating from these locks.

I am taking my time, lock by lock, just a few handfuls at a time, and I am liking what I am seeing!  It may just take forever, but I think I will enjoy the process this time.

Thanks Stephanie and Rita, I am a convert. 
On Friday I will post on the Tuesday Weavers blog about how this clean fleece compares with my ususal clean fleece.  I think you can guess who wins!

Until next time, Happy Weaving, Tina


  1. It's rather like eating that elephant one bite at a time! Have you spun any of it yet??? (Did the lanolin bother you?)

  2. I have not spun with it yet, but I did comb out one of the locks. Such length and luster, and hardly any waste! There was some lanolin still on that lock, so I may have to wash them again! I made sure I washed my hands really well to remove the lanolin from them, so far no I'll effects.

  3. They look beautiful and why not slow fleece prep? Sounds pretty sensible to me. Doing a whole fleece would be daunting, but some choice locks at a time, much more fun.

  4. Glad the process is working for you. It sure does look bright white and clean.

  5. Wow, that's going to be beautiful yarn - yes, you can see the luster, especially if you biggafy the picture.

    I did some small pieces of a fleece that The Shepherd was skirting like that - they looked entirely too nice to throw away - and they were beautiful and so easy to do. We normally send our fleeces out to be processed, but I can see this method working for me entirely. Way to go!

    Have a Happy Easter and I hope you have lots of help in the kitchen :-) T.