It All Comes Out in the Wash

Sometimes it does all come out in the was and sometimes you have to rely on the next step to take away that last bit of stuff. This week is a washing week. I have 30 pounds of wool to wash to get ready for my next two teaching engagements. When this is done then I have to get started on What Deb Robson needs for her upcoming spring classes.

But I am behind. I need to have this finished and dry before I leave for Vashon Island on February 2! I did a little less than half yesterday. Today’s washing won’t be as much because I am running out of space to dry it all.

I thought I’d show you my set up. Most people won’t be washing the quantities I do but you can see that this is very doable for almost everyone.

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This is the utility sink in my laundry room. this is where all of the water comes from and all the squeezing out happens.

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How do you like that wallpaper? We’ve been in this house since 1999 and I’ve never redecorated this room. Anyway, you can see that I use my washer and dryer as a counter for the wash tubs during the soaking. Each tub holds between 1 and 2 pounds of wool depending on the breed. The Down types which I’m washing today take up a lot more space than say the Lincoln that I did yesterday so a little less fits in the tubs with enough room for the dirt to move away from the wool.

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Here’s a look at the whole thing. Generally I do two soaks with Power Scour and 2 soaks with no detergent.  Yesterday I washed some extremely filthy Merino so I did 3 soaks with Power Scour before the rinses. I was willing to do this because the Merino is very long stapled. I think it’s 2 year’s growth and the fiber and crimp are particularly nice. But since it was on the sheep for extra long it was also extra dirty. The wool looked like the sheep had been rolling in mud.

Between washes and rinses I dump everything into the utility sink and squeeze out the extra water as well as I can. This takes away a little bit more of the dirt that is stuck in there.

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So here’s one of my drying spots. It’s right outside of Maggie’s room which is across from the laundry room. Poor Maggie. On the floor to the right is Teeswater which is dr already but i need to put it in a bag with a label. On the sweater drying rack is the Merino drying very nicely. the fans have been going for almost 24 hours now and the wool is drying faster than i thought it would. Hopefully the Merino will be dry by bed time today.

The towels hanging over the laundry sorter are the towels I use to press out as much water as i can before laying the wool out to dry. There are at least ten towels hanging all over the place drying out for the next batch. I just put the wool in the towel and stand on it.

As you can see, there is no spinning out of the wool in the washer and no machines involved. It’s all me.

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This is the other drying area. Lincoln in the back and Romney in the front. There were towels under the wool when I first laid it out but then the towels were soaking wet and so I removed them. More racks might be a good idea!

So, that’s what I’m doing right now. Get ready people on Vashon Island! I’m coming…first I’m gonna take this weaving class.

Some of this wool is also for the DFW Fiber Fest in April too. There are still spots in some of my classes if you are interested!



7 thoughts on “It All Comes Out in the Wash”

  1. Great! We’re both washing wool! Similar techniques, although I have to use the bathtub because I don’t have a utility sink. I do have four of those drying racks, which fortunately stack. And I also spin things out (inside lingerie bags) in the washer, which I bought when the old one died *specifically* for its spin cycle. And I don’t use the fans as a result (it’s also semiarid here; having lived in more humid places, I realize that having wool dry quickly is a trade-off for not having much water for, say, a garden).

  2. Eeee! I’m so excited to get to play with all this beautiful fluff! And very interested to see your set up – I have some rubber tubs very similar to yours, except that they’re narrower and taller. I bought them for the shop but maybe I can repurpose them. Must look for your sort, since it’d be easier to reach in and out. Would cool down faster, too, though, what with the extra surface area.

    But anyway: SO EXCITED! Just a few weeks away! And by then both my classes will be over so I can really just kick back and relax and have a great time in yours. XD

  3. Sarah Anderson

    Beth, have you thought of getting a spin dryer from The Laundry Alternative? It would save you sooooo much time and money (electricity)! I use mine most days for yarn, wool, clothing etc… It’s one of the most loved and used appliances in our home.

    1. I have thought of one but since I don’t spin things out now it would be an expense i don’t need right now. As far as laundry, Lousmith does it and is very set in his laundry doing ways:-)

  4. Faina

    I’m weaving too, self taught mostly. I’m going to learn wedge weaving. May be on my own, may be I would be able to talk Nancy McRay into teaching the class. Meanwhile I’m doing transparency inlay on my rigid heddle, you may envy me 😉

    1. I do envy you! and I miss you too. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately!

  5. Hello Beth!
    I am so excited for the fiber to finish class on Vashon, and to welcome you to our beautiful Island.

    I found, the last time I washed a batch of wool, that the flat plastic industrial bread rack trays fits nicely over the tub for drying. and with the fire going in the woodstove, the wool dried fast! I like the fan idea.

    Looking forward to meeting you and learning, learning, learning!
    Safe journeys,

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