Monday, 16 May 2011

Washing and Storing Sheep fleeces!!

Thanks to my very thrifty friend Christine – theboredknitter, and the powers of free cycle, she found seven sheep fleeces and gave myself and our friend Lee – Another, a couple of fleeces each!
I have to wash a small amount in an old cooking pot, as my bath would block from all the fibre (it has a very old plumbing system)
I have had a look at a couple of websites and found this blog was most helpful.
I decided to use a clear non foamy washing up liquid, (Tesco nature’s way)
I also used a timer on my microwave set for 10mins, so I wouldn’t forget, and let the water get to cool, as this would set the lanolin again!
At first I soaked the wool in cold water, and then left for ten minutes.
Then I removed - yes the water will look like some one as peed!! lol
 and then added clean very hot water, and added the washing liquid, taking care not to make it foam or bubble. Again I added the wool and covered with a lid, to lock the heat in and left for ten minutes, I repeated this twice!

Then I removed wool, and added fresh clean hot water, put the wool back in without adding any washing liquid to rinse, each time leaving for 10mins with the lid on!, and not doing anything to agitate  the wool after all we don’t want it to felt!! (All you’re doing is lifting the wool in for 10 min and out of the water!) Until the water runs clear!

Once you’re happy that all the washing up liquid and dirt is removed, you want to leave in the strainer for 5mins then roll it up in a tea towel or bath towel to get rid of excess water!

Now is the time to finger pick through the wool, removing any bits of vegetable matter, or hay etc
Lay it out over the towel to dry.
I am storing my wool in an old cotton duvet cover, as the wool, i imagine would sweat being kept in a plastic bag!
lovely and white!
Just waiting for my carders to arrive! (will be more about this later)


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