Friday, August 8, 2014

Fleece Washing, again

A month or so ago, one of my weaving friends, Betsy, gave me a couple of Jacob's sheep fleeces.  I kept them upstairs in the studio, sniffing gleefully whenever I would pass them.  (Such a nice sheepy smell.)  This past week I have been taking a lock or two at a time and washing them in different ways, and using different soaps/detergents, to see what I felt was the best way to handle these particular fleeces.

The fleece is really dirty, (this sheep had fun), but the fleece comes clean really quite easily.  I really liked how clean the locks got with Orvus paste, but I was not in any mood to clean this fleece lock by lock.

I took some tulle I had on hand and cut it into pieces large enough to wrap around a line of locks.  I ended up with 8 pieces of tulle, and last evening I loaded them up, in anticipation that I would be able to do some washing today.
 I filled little buckets with really hot water, then I added about 1 Tablespoon of Orvus paste.  I took 4 of the packets and I rolled them up jelly roll style with the tips of the locks all pointing in the same direction.  I placed these rolls tip down in the hot soapy water, and I left it for about 15 minutes.  I carefully took the rolls out of the dirty water, emptied the buckets in the yard, then I rinsed the buckets and filled them again with plain hot water to do a rinse.
Once again I did a soapy soak, with a little less soap, then a rinse with a little bit of vinegar, and then one final plain water rinse.

 I hung the little packets out to dry on one of the chairs on the porch, and proceeded with my other projects.  By the time I was done with my day, the packets were ready to be put upstairs in the studio, on the sweater dryers.
Tomorrow I will unpack them and see how clean they came before I do anymore.  The last rinse water was quite clear, and I used a lot less water than I normally would have, (and a lot less heavy lifting!) so if the locks are in good shape, I may have found my new favorite way to wash fleece.

I like how I can keep the locks in an organized form, and that I can also sort them  for length and colors as I wash them.  (Jacob's sheep have several colors in each fleece.)  This fleece combs up beautifully!  This combed sample of the white part of the fleece is from the locks I did earlier this week.

Until next time, Happy Spinning, Knitting and Weaving, Tina



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