Monday, April 27, 2009

This is the way we wash our wool...

So I have been spending the last week washing wool. It is done. Well, the washing is - there is still a bit of work to do to get it ready to spin.

If you have no interest in wool, feel free to click away otherwise, if ya wanna know how it gets from sheep to sweater (or sock or blanket or whatever) read on.

On Saturday (of last week) I bought a fleece at the Spring Fair.
I brought it home and layed it out on the kitchen floor. It was already 'skirted' (someone had gone around and taken out all of the icky bad clumps on the edges of the fleece) but it is always prudent to do your on checking. You can see the shape of the sheep if you look for it...The bit up on the Seahawks mat there in the top left corner is what would have been on the right front leg of the sheep.




A gratuitous close up of the locks:


The locks are about 4 inches long. Next they got divided up - ended up with 4 58qt tubs of wool prewashing (weight about 6.75lbs).


Next the locks got a dip in soapy water for about a half an hour. I got smart after the first batch and bought some tuelle to use as a net for moving, draining and drying the wool.


After a couple of rounds of soapy soaks it gets a rinse soak and then I spun the wad of wool in the tuelle to get the water out (washing machine is much more efficient tho) and then spread it out in the yard to dry:
Next comes the waiting. and waiting and waiting for it to dry. It washed out to be a pretty brilliant white.
I spun up a small sample from the locks just as soon as they were dry. I didn't take pics of the spun yarn until after I got out the kool-aid. However, after a dip in some kool-aid baths and a heat set in the microwave this is what my samples looked like:

That is Lemon-Lime and Pink Lemonade for anyone who wants to know...
Of course I had to see it knit up so I made another key-chain sock. The sample was just enough to get a sock out of (I had about 6 inches of yarn left over):


Overall I am really happy with the wool I bought. I ended up with a 73% yeild of the original weight..so 4lbs 14oz. I split this fleece with my friend Andrew and we are just playing around with the fiber seeing what we get when we try different things. Andrew carded the trimmings from his son's haircut with some of his wool and spun it up into a course yarn. Personally I love the color blend but won't touch it because it itches to high heaven. I think it would make a great rug but I think he is going to make a belt out of it. I have also combed some of my wool into roving and dyed those with the same colors. I can't wait for them to be dry because I really want to make aroving braid just to see it all done up pretty.

5 comments:

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Brian told me you bought this at the fair. It's so cool to see the finish product. Who would have thunk it Kool-Aid! Too cool looking girlie!

L J said...

You are WAY more effecient than I am. I have one pillow case almost full of clean sheepy stuff. The gigantic bag of dirty sheepy stuff doesn't even look like I have taken any out. I like your idea for the washing process. Think that I need to go shopping. :-)

L J said...

forgot to ask how many yards were in your sample skein? Like the way your mini sock knit up.

Rachael said...

Hey LJ,
I don't exactly remember how many yards but I think I did up 2 rolags worth if that helps. :)

luneray said...

Andrew carded the trimmings from his son's haircut with some of his wool and spun it up into a course yarn. Personally I love the color blend but won't touch it because it itches to high heaven.Yes, and now you know why "hair shirts" were worn an penance. :)

Good idea with the tulle.