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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. 

closer view of basting sts.

cold water soak - almost a weeks worth if I remember correctly.  I didn't think these needed that long a soak, but life got in the way, so they soaked longer.

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. 

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Aw come on Cheryl.. I said that since I had been spinning for just over 3 years, and the other lady had been spinning 15 years, that it made me feel like a newbie... of course, after I saw her yarn, I felt pretty darned accomplished. 

Well technically she is - but the technicallity of her spinning says she's not, so as a famous lawyer on this community has so often said "It depends"  - hehehe

I got the Margaret Stowe video and the How I Spin (Rita Buchanan), but preferred the How I Spin.  I think the information is much more useful and helpful for the way I spin.  I also like Rita's informal attitude about spinning...

I too have How I Spin - very nice DVD.  I'd love to get the newest carding DVD.  I so enjoy seeing how others do things.  That will just have to go on the wish/wait list as well.  :o)

I've got both of them also.  Rita's DVD really helped me learn a lot.  I don't remember watching the lace DVD past the washing part.  I was interested in the washing part at the time, and thought I'd watch the rest later.  I really need to do that, because I LOVE spinning for lace.

Are you going to try her tip of spinning from the 'tip'?  I want to try doing it both ways to see if there is a difference.  Let me know what you find out.  :o)

Thanks Jo.  Have you tried this method yet?  Any pointers? 

Wow, Wendy.  You really are a perfectionist or at least very very careful and organized about scouring!  thanks so much for all the info and pics...I too have some Icelandic fleece that needs scouring (and some that's already been done by the vendor).  I'm going to try to find the information the vendor (she is a shepherdess so hopefully it will owrk) pointed me to about preparing Icelandic, but I don't know that I'll get to it is shopping day and those 3 dishpans I forgot last time will not be forgotten this time...I'm just dying to wash me some crimpy lovelies.

Bingo, bango, bongo!  You hit the nail on the head - I am most definitely a perfectionist, although I am trying to get out of that bad habit.  lol  And I must admit, I'm not that perfect at doing this either, another good reason to get out of the bad habit.

Ooooo, any info you can share would be greatly appreciated.  I too need to go shopping, nothing to eat here.  DH and I have eaten out 6 out of the past 9 nights.  Of course some of it was hospital food, but hey - if I don't have to cook, I'll take almost anything! 

Yes, don't forget those dishpans this time!  I'd just love to see me some of your clean crimpy lovelies as well!  lol


I'm the dishpans :))  You do have it baaaad!  I see you have done more work on the Icelandic since this a.m. when i logged out...lock by lock!!!  I don't know that anyone, even the shepherdesses, would be more careful than you have been.  The only thing I've seen that perhaps might help with the lanolin is that it is suggested the water temp be at least 160 degrees (but that was probably before there was the wonder of Unicorn Power Scour).

In my hit or miss way of quickly looking for info. I noted that a great number of people commented that Icelandic was great for felting...aaaack!  Pretty sure that's not what you want to hear and neither did I...LOL.

Susan's link to Tongue River Farms Icelandic probably provides more info on this breed than most sites, but even then I read her washing instructions...she used a washing machine!  Not helpful to you nor I.

You have likely read all the threads in groups on Rav, like Fiber Prep and A Spinner's Study??  Are you a member of "yarnspinnerstales spin in" on Rav?  Her podcast #29 is at least partly about Icelandic fleece...I haven't listened to it yet, so I'm not sure if she talks about scouring or simply spinning or what.

Long story short...I'm no help :0

Yay for dishpans!  (just as long as no dishes are to be used - lol)  I knew about the water temp needing to be anywhere from 120 - to just under 180*s to melt the lanolin, and I do have Power Scour.  But it does not work well for me at all, which was a huge disappointment to me.  I think it is because we have hard water in our area.  Seems as if others who have hard water have had the same problem as I have.  So today I purchased some Seventh Generation dish soap and laundry detergent to experiment with.  I hope my sister can procure some ECOS detergent for me soon.  Want to try that as well. 

I knew about the felting, and I am really concerned about it too.  Especially since some of the locks, more than I care for, seem to have been already felted while on this little wooly beast!  I think it is at the end of the Thel where lanolin collected, got  a bit of VM in it and then was rubbed by the little beasty itself.  But I'm only guessing.  I contacted the shepherdess yesterday asking her what I should do and she said she's not had that happen before, so she was going to contact a friend who has more experience with this breed.  Still waiting to hear back from her. 

You're right, I'm not going to use my washing maching.  I've spun washed/rinsed locks out in it to help quicken the drying time, but that's all I will do..  That was a good link though.

I'll have to look more at the spinner's study and no I'm not a member of yarnspinnerstales spin in.  I'll have to look into that.  I've listened to a few of her podcasts, but that was early last year.  Thanks for the tips.  BTW - love fiber prep group.  Learned tons there this past month. 

Beverly, before I leave for the day I wanted to pass along a little tip I discovered late last night.  To help keep the water hot, hot, hot - something I found a bit of a pain to do - put foil over the top of the pan.  WOW, what a difference such a simple little tip made!  And inexpensive too.  :o)

I wanna see some of your lovely clean crimpies when I get home - lol. 


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