I was wondering if anyone had information on exactly how one should go about washing individual locks of wool by hand. I bought an Icelandic fleece last month that I am working on now, and my first attempt at washing them in tulle netting was less than satisfactory. I sorted the fleece by staple length into three groups, and then even further by setting aside locks that were extremely curly at the butt or cut end. I placed the locks individually on a length of netting, folded the sides in burrito style and sewed two lengths of long basting stitches to help keep them from shifting down and placed them in a cold water bath for days.
I pulled it out of the soak cycle, let it drip for a while, checked to make sure it was at room temperature before putting it in the scouring bath. Temperature of scouring water was 140*, soaked for 15 minutes, not letting water temperature get below 120* so lanolin would not re-deposit back onto the wool. This is one of the wash cycles, using Unicorn Power Scour. I washed them two more times and rinsed them twice, same water temperature each time. I was not thrilled with how the tips looked, but thought I'd wait till they were dry and then see. These are the cleaned and dry locks still in the netting. I'm not too impressed with these. Last night I was finally able to work with these supposed cleaned locks, they still feel a bit greasy to me. I thought Icelandic was not supposed to be too greasy, so, not sure what that is all about. I want to try several things with this wool. Separating the tog from the thel, and spinning them individually, but I also want to spin the two together. That's what I was attempting last night, on a drum carder I've borrowed from the guild. I've not even done half of what I washed, and am already disappointed.
Even with careful handling of the fibers while wet, the locks seem to have felted slightly. And the tips do not want to seem to pick apart. I like to do a very fine layer of fibers while drum carding, so I have started to flick the ends open. It is helping some, but I was not thrilled with the batt. Too many neps for me.
So I got thinking maybe these locks need extra special handling and washing. Maybe they need to be washed individually. But just how does one go about doing that and not felting the lock? Is there a special procedure? I've not found anything on you tube demonstrating this technique, but then again, I've not used you tube that often so maybe I'm going about that all wrong.
She is such a pretty little fleece, and I'd love to do it honor by washing and then spinning it into beautiful yarn, but feel I am ruining it. Help! I'd love some advice from others.
Wendy, As I have no experience with Icelandic fiber, I did find this article which has washing instructions toward the bottom of the page.
Whoa, Wendy, this went way over my head!
Separating the tog from the thel
I have no idea what you are talking about! You are way beyond my pea brain.
Thanks for all the useful advice Susan and Jean. I've bookmarked that article for future use. I have spent the day reading over on ravelry - not kidding, the entire day, and found a comment from someone. So I emailed her, and she just responded. This is exactly what I'm looking for. So, if any of you decide this is something you'd like to try, here are some great details. Now I'll have to see if I can find the original comment that led me to a reply - lol. I hope this garners better results than I have had already.
Jean - the guild I belong to is going to the Wooly Knob next month. I'll probably be picking up a kid from college though :o(
Cheryl - 'pea brain' - hardly! Thel and Tog refer to the shorter, downy fibers and the long outer fibers on a dual coated fleece. Icelandic sheep are dual coated. The Thel measures about 3" on mine, and the Tog is about 6 to 7". The Thel is very nice and soft, the Tog on mine, since this is a lamb fleece is coarser, but not nearly as coarse as it can get on an adult. I'm going to try and spin the Thel only, Tog only, and then the two blended together. Supposedly you get a Lopi yarn if you do both together. We'll see. I just want to experiment!
Whoa, Wendy, that looks like a lot of work.. not sure I'm up for all of that. Have fun with your Icelandic
It is a lot of work. It took almost 2 hours tonight, and I didn't get much done. I'm waiting to see how it turned out when dry in the morning. I enjoyed working on it though. Thank goodness there's not too much to do, less than 1 pound.
Wendy, I am NOT a lazy person... no one will EVER say that about me. But back when I first started spinning, I bought a pound of raw corriedale to spin. I didn't even know what that implied, but when my package arrived, and I opened the plastic bag, I nearly died! I wrapped it back up and put it away for a while, and calmed down about what I had to deal with. I washed the fiber on my stove top, in a stainless steel pot, with a bit of Dawn, and it took two washes and three rinses to get it clean. I then handcarded the whole mess. I vowed at that time to NEVER again purchase a raw fleece. You are much more adventuresome and work brittle than I am...
Lol! Crazy is more like it! It is a lot of work, and there have been times when I've thought to myself that I'm nuts to keep doing this. But I find it addicting. Raw fleeces excite me! All the possibilities they possess. Yep, I must be crazy!
But your comment reminds me I really should finish the blog I started this past fall about the Finn fleece I bought. Yes indeedy, that will explain a lot - lol!
Susan, I was re-reading your comment, and that reminded me of a question I asked you a little over two years ago when I bought a little ziplock bag of some dyed locks. I too opened the bag when I got home and nearly gagged at the smell. You informed me that sometimes there is VM in the wool, and I had absolutely no idea what VM even stood for. I laugh when I remember exactly what you told me could be in that fleece. I was thinking of that very thing tonight while standing at the kitchen sink working on the locks. So glad DH didn't come out to see exactly what I was doing -- lol.
There are times when I think I should make the same vow you did - lol.
Wendy, of all the people in this group, I think you have grown the most in the last year. You have researched and experimented and just keep going. You amaze me.
Wow Cheryl, thank you - that means a great deal to me!
I have learned so much from others on this site, and I know I absolutely love everything I've done related to this fiber addiction I have. (Well almost everything - not so in love with the moths, manure, end of things - lol). I've known since I was 11 that I wanted to learn to spin, I only wish I had started so much earlier. There are so many things I want to learn and try, and in so many different areas, that at times I feel very scattered trying to do some of everything. But I don't regret the time I spent raising my girls, not at all.
I can think of so many others here who have grown so much in their knowledge and skills. It's fun to go back to the beginning of this SAL and re-read everything that has been posted. It's so interesting to see just how much everyone has learned, grown and improved. And it has been so very interesting to see where some people have decided to branch off and concentrate their interests in. Fascinating! Simply fascinating! I love this stuff!! :o)
ETA - Over the past year, I've realized that this is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do with my life. Sure took me long enough, didn't it? lol I could talk fibers 24/7 if I could find someone who would put up with me!