Beth Smith

Washing the Wool

So the spin along/knit along has begun and Chelsea dyed my fiber on Saturday. It is Australian Wool top which is just a mix of domestic Australian wool. It’s pretty soft and has a lovely crimp.
Today I did some sample spinning and chain plyed the sample so I could knit a swatch. It is done but it is also too dark to take photos. Tomorrow, I promise.

If you want to join us, we are spinning and knitting for a project. Conversations will happen in the Spinning Loft group on Ravelry and on Facebook if you click the Discussions tab on the Spinning Loft page. Everybody who finishes by December 31 will get a 10% coupon for their next sweater quantity fiber purchase (a pound or more).
This past Monday was my monthly Lace Knitting Group meeting. We meet at Rae’s Yarn Boutique in Lansing. The above throw is the latest design by Sharon Winsauer. If you are not familiar with Sharon’s Lace designs you will want to check them out. Everything she does is pretty spectacular.
Next thing is….I’ve been washing some wool and thought maybe somebody might want to see. The fleece above is Wensleydale and the fleece below is Blue Faced Leicester. Both beautiful specimens but neither one is clean.

For fleeces which I am not worried about preserving lock structure I have a very simple washing method. Generally, I wash 8 to 16 ounces at a time in this lovely dish pan.

Fill the dish pan with HOT water. For fleeces that aren’t as high in grease as Merino boiling isn’t necessary. When the pan is half full I put a squirt of Unicorn Power Scour and then let the pan fill the rest of the way. This just keeps the sudsing down.

When the pan is full of water I add the fleece. You can let it sink down but I am generally impatient and so I push it under the water with the bottom of the wool wash bottle. I don’t use my hands cause the water is too hot:-)

I let it soak for at least 15 minutes…up to 30. I don’t want the water to cool too much because the grease and dirt starts to migrate back to the fiber as the water cools and the grease starts to solidify again.

I go back and dump the water and fleece into the sink (I have a little strainer over the drain so the fiber doesn’t go down). I squeeze the fleece and try to get out as much water as I can with my hands without wringing and agitating. Then fill the dish pan again with a tad less Scour and soak the fiber again.
It is important to remember that there should be no swishing and not fooling around with the fleece too much while it’s wet.

After at least 2 washes I generally do 2 rinses which is exactly the same steps but with no scour.
If the water isn’t looking somewhat clean after 2 washes I’ll do another but remember that 2 rinses will follow so completely clear is not necessary.

Then squeeze as much water out in the sink with my hands and then roll it in a towel and stand on it to remove even more water.

Then all of the fiber gets spread out on a sweater dryer or a screen to dry. Takes at least a full day and sometimes up to a week if it’s damp outside.
The above fleece is the washed Wensleydale and Below is the washed BFL. Both of these will be combed in the very near future.

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