Saturday, May 14, 2011

First Slow Fleece Finished

I started washing this fleece lock by lock on April 18th.  I soon discovered that there was so much old lanolin on it that I would have to do a soaking type of wash instead of the quick wash I was doing.

I began to soak it by the dishpan sized amount.  I  fill the pan with hot water, add a good amount of dawn detergent and then I just place the bit of fleece tip side down and let it sink in.  Then I set the timer for 30 minutes.  After the timer goes off, I use my hands like a rake and slowly move the fleece towards me in the pan, then I lift it out and squeeze it without twisting.

Start the hot water tap going right away, so that you don't get cold water on the wet fleece by mistake.  Fill the tub once again with hot water, (use gloves)  I even run some of the hot water thru the fleece in my hands and squeeze once again.  No Twisting!  Add dawn once again to the hot water, and slip the fleece again into the water and watch it expand to fill the space.

Next I repeat all that, but just use clear water for the rinse.  I am letting this batch soak right now as I am posting.  I may have to rinse one more time.  Once it is rinsed and squeezed that last time, I set out a towel or two, doubled.  Lay the fleece down, all tips to one side, in the middle of the towel.  Fold the two sides of the towel over the fleece, then roll it up like a jelly roll.  Take it upstairs and lay it on the sweater drying rack.  It will take about 24 to 48 hours for it to be dry.

Here is the rest of the fleece already dry and waiting for my to pack it away.  The bit to the right is the only felted bit, it was really too dirty for me to wash, but I thought I would try.

A close up of the oiled and combed ready to spin top.  Isn't it beautiful!

As I was pulling the  final bit of  fleece from the bag this morning I noticed that there was a name and wt on it.  Valrhonan, 2# 5oz.

I had been told that this was a shetland fleece so I did a search of a shetland sheep named Valrhonan. 

I found a sheep over on , though over there it is spelled Valrhona.  Who knows it just might be her!  She would get a little darker as the years went by, so this could be an early fleece.  I thought that was pretty cool!

It took me less than a month to wash this fleece, and for one week of that I wasn't even home!  I am really pumped about this, and I love the finished product so much more than what I got back from the professionals in the past.  I can't wait to start the next one!  Now that is a surprise!

Until next time,
 Happy Weaving, Spinning, Gardening, and Fleece Soaking, Tina


  1. When I learn to spell, all will be better!!!! I just wanted to say that I'm glad the process worked so well for you!

  2. Glad to know the process works for you and it is even enjoyable.

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog, because then I popped over to see yours and got this fleece washing instruction. I'm glad for this information as we're getting sheared in two weeks and I don't want to pay for processing this year.

  4. Tina,

    Yes, indeed, I would guess that is wool from our Valrhona. I sold off a lot of wool last year at bargain prices since I can't work with it any more. Her wool is a creamy white shading to light brown now.

    I named her Valrhona because I was giving "chocolate" names to any musket or moorit colored Shetland that was born here.

    Hope you enjoy the fleece!