Thursday, 7 October 2010

Techniques- More fibre washing

I have been watching a thread called "No more lingerie bag scouring for me" in the fibre preparation group on Ravelry. The point of the thread is fairly obvious from the title, it discusses how someone tried washing with free fleece and got great results. As I was on my last chunk of fleece I thought I would give it a go.
s
First up spread the fleece out in the bath tub. I still did it in chunks, but reasonably large ones compared to what I would put in a bag.
s
s
Set the shower to cold.
Take a deep breath and spray that fleece!
Remember to breathe!
Lot of nastiness washed away, when the water ran clear I gave it a squeeze and scooped it into a bucket while I did the next bit of fleece.
s
s
Once it was all well rinsed and running clear I did a hot wash cycle (soap, no soap, vinegar and conditioner) using the entire tub.
s
s
It worked really really well!
I have to agree with the original thread poster that it is the cleanest of all my washes, the tips are still a little stuck together, but I find that helpful for carding/combing anyway and the bulk of the fleece is lovely and white. There was no felting at all!
s
I will definitely be using this method again as I have found myself with a extra fleece that needs cleaning. It seems to clean better and I can get more done faster using the shower method than using buckets. Obviously it would probably be a bad idea for delicate fibres, those that felt easily, but for this fairly robust Suffolk it seems to work out great.
s
I do have a problem with getting it dry though, the British autumn has set in with a lot of rain.



9 comments:

  1. hmmm, I shall try this. My Alpaca is very dirty but with the lack of lanolin, is easier to clean. It would help to get that initial dirt off first. Most of my baths go black with dirt the minute I put them through which means tons of hot water.

    Thanks for sharing. Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perfect timing, I have a lamb fleece I was planning to scour today, I will definitely give this a try!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting that it doesn't felt with the shower head spray. I might give this a try too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I plan to try this, too. Lots better than using all the hot water. I think I'll use a plastic basket to keep the wool from going down the drain. Thanks for the tip

    ReplyDelete
  5. If it was delicate and a fibre with a tendency to felt it might not work and you could end up with a soggy felted mess. However the fleece I was washing is a Suffolk, which has a tendency to be robist and tricky to felt. I also have A LOT of it so figured it was worth the experiment.
    I think the fact the water is cold helps with avoiding too much felting.
    I was led to believe alpaca felts just by looking at it too hard, is that true?

    ReplyDelete
  6. OK, So I tried this out yesterday on the lamb fleece, I didn't use the bathtub, instead spread the fleece (in manageable sections) out on a chaise lounge in the front yard and used the garden sprayer with the shower setting. Then I added a step, I filled a spray bottle with hot soapy water and pre-sprayed the fleece, giving it a little extra attention in the spots that needed it. I washed the fleece in dish pans in the front yard, didn't want that greasy water going down the drain. Thanks for the wonderful tip!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a great idea! I have a ton of alpaca fleece waiting to be washed, I'll have to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Washing fleeces is such a trial and error process in my experience, and working with huacaya I am petrified of felting so I never use hot water because I have felted some that way before but sheep's wool is different. I'm always happy to learn tips from how others do it, that shower spray sounds interesting for really dirty ones. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete