Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm Washing Fleece

It's time to start preparing for my next spinning project, which will be a Shetland fleece I bought ar Rhinebeck. It's actually pretty cool looking, variagated black and white. I'm debating separating the two colors out, or carding it all in together for a heathered look. It does come from an older ewe, but is still pretty nice.

My usual approach to fiber prep is as follows:
  1. I skirt the fleece and pick it over as best I can for VM or whatever other nasties are in there
  2. I handwash in small batches in the kitchen sink with water as hot as I can stand in Dawn dish detergent. It really does cut grease. I use an old dishpan or a bucket and throw the first wash outside, because it has the most lanolin, and I don't want to clog my sink.
  3. I alternate washing and rinsing until most of the lanolin is gone and the fleece is clean. I try to keep the water temp consistent and avoid agitation to keep from felting, but even if you do felt it, just pull it apart.
  4. When the fiber is clean, I spin it out in the washer, fluff it on the kitchen counter under the fan, and let it dry, turning occasionally.
  5. When the fleece is dry, I then run it through the drum carder, or comb it, depending on my needs.
If anyone out there has never made their own yarn, it is a time consuming, but rewarding process, which I do enjoy. I was tempted to send this fleece out, but it takes awhile, so I'll just do it myself.

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