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Monday, September 24, 2012

Spinning class...and how to clean a fleece

card and wool i carded
As you are aware if you follow this blog I am learning to spin wool.  The first week we learned drop spindle, and homework was to spin all the roving we were given as part of our class fee,  We had two types of wool for  assignment one shorter haired than the other.  OK I was the only one that actual spun all of both rovings I was given.  I never understand why people pay good money for a class then do not do the homework.  So I will go through the steps I did to make the lovely carded wool you see above.

Week two was using a spinning wheel.  I seem to be an over achiever in the course of the class I had spun about 4 times as much as every one else and was drafting pretty good.  Might have to do with the amount of homework we did or did not do the previous week on this. We had to leave what we spun on the spinning wheel and I forgot to take my camera will have to get a picture of it before next class so you can see it. Our homework was to clean a fleece, well 1/6 of a fleece as it was divided evenly amongst all in the class.   I forgot to get a picture of it before I started to clean it.   Um mm.... lets just say I have smelled nicer things.  After removing dung tags and big pieces of grass the soaking, washing, rinsing, and drying began.

This was my instructions as to what I was supposed to do.  Lets hope I get it correct as I am doing this while I am typing this post.  Meaning when the wool soaks I add to this post and take photos.
  1. fleece should be picked through before washing to open up the tips.  Discard second cuts and extremely soiled pieces
    1. yeah ewww...
  2. Soak... Fill sink or tub with hot water ( as hot as your hands can stand),  add fleece and let it soak for 10-15 mins, drain and gently squeeze out the excess water
    1. pre soak
    2. Yes I wore gloves as who wants to put their hands in poopy sheep water. 
    3. I goofed I did 20 mins got distracted by working on a project for the sound of music but that should not really matter in the long run.
  3. Wash... Fill sink or tub again with hot water, squirt in clear or white liquid dish soap until the water feels a bit slimy -  do not make bubbles, add fleece and gently push down into the water, leave it to soak for 10-15 minuets, drain and gently squeeze out excess water
    1.  washing ( soaking in water and soap)
    2. Did not have clear or white dish soap I had dawn so yes I improvised again I tend to do that.  Should not hurt anything just adds a little color to the water don't think the wool will pickup this bit of color.
    3. I goofed again let it sit for 20 mins because I was typing this stuff on the blog but should not hurt any thing either.
  4. Rinse... fill sink or tub again with hot water, add fleece and let it soak for 5 - 10 minutes , drain and gently squeeze out excess water.  You may have to rinse the fleece more than once to remove the soap.  Once the fleece is clean and the water is clear, drain and gently squeeze out the excess water.
    1. I ended up rinsing   5 times she said 2 or 3 would do it but I think I needed more so i did more still can feel the lanolin in the wool so it will be fine.
    2. it still looks dirty to me at this point but she said it would so I will go forward with the drying
  5. Dry... The clean wool can be put in a mesh laundry bag and run through the spin cycle in the washing machine - make sure there is no water coming from the machine during the cycle - or it can be rolled up in a towel to soak up the excess moisture.   The wool should then be spread out to dry and fluffed or turned over every couple of hours.
    1.  wool clean?  drying
    2. I did not put mine through the spin cycle but I have sweater rack in the bathroom for drying wool swetaers on so I set it there and set a hair dryer on a stand to have the air circulate better and dried it that way.   
      1. See you can still see there is still stuff in it but suppossidly this is considered clean.   Hmmm... clean to whom
cardersTeachers note:Remember that felting is caused by changes in temperature and agitation be careful.

Mine did not felt so I guess I did OK on that part.

The teacher has not taught us to card wool yet.  But I was taught by my friend Juanita few years back during "Colonial Days".  She and I were both demonstrating fiber arts there next to one another one of the things she was demonstrating was how to card wool.

Since I had never done it before I was not sure how clean it had to be to me this looks pretty dirty still.  So once I had some wool sort of clean. I decided to card a hand full.  It is amazing how much of the grasses and dirt comes out in the carding of the wool.  The teacher said it would she also said some would come out in the spinning process too hope so as there is a tiny bit left in it but nothing that I have not seen in store bought wool so it should be fine.

Below  is a photo of the little bit I did.  Amazing that something that was so dirty looks clean and usable now to spin yarn.  I am having fun learning new skills.  Hopefully I will be able to get a spinning wheel at the end of all this too.  The top photo is also this same wool that I carded.
wool i carded


  1. Well done! I was thinking it looks like so much work... but then I thought of the days when people grew their own flax, then extracted the fibre for homespun linen!

  2. Looks like you've got a really good teacher there! Dawn is actually what a lot of people use to clean their fleeces. I recommend Unicorn Power Scour if you end up washing fleeces often :)

    1. i liked her alot she is a good friend too also taught me how to knit lace

  3. that's really interesting!! thank you very much! I'm just learning to spin too, and a friend offered to give me some of his shee'ps fleece. Now I know how to clean it! awesome :)


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