Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Big Mouth, Big Butt...

Big fleece. The sun is shining and it's finally warm enough to do one of my favorite "jobs", washing wool. This is Peabody's - as always, one of my favorite fleeces. While Peabody is such a whack that we would keep him around just for entertainment value, his fleece is so nice that if we didn't enjoy his company, we'd keep him anyway. Here is an excellent portrayal of Tim trying to catch him for some routine vet care, except Tim ain't the one causing the airplane ride. You get the idea.

In case you are wondering what all that wool is drying on, it's our hammock. I've found that this is the only thing a hammock really gets used for on a farm. We have hooks on our porch posts and it is easily removed from under the shady trees to under the ceiling fan and then back to it's lonely outpost. This is a far superior method to the old way of leaving the cats in charge.

I wash all my wool in our old, trusty upright washing machine. There are other ways to wash, but here are instructions for my method if you are interested.

1. Turn your water heater up a bit - to where you really don't want to put your hand in it, but could, if you had to...for a second - like 140 degrees.

2. Fill the empty tub (I set my washer on "medium") and then add about 1 cup of blue Dawn. Carefully add the wool and then gently push it under the water. Don't agitate it too much. Let it soak for 20 minutes and then use the spin (no rinse water coming in) cycle to remove all the dirty water.

3. Remove the fleece from the tub and repeat step 2.

4. Remove the fleece and repeat the fill, soak, spin cycle two more times, but don't add soap to these two cycles.

Between cycles, take a damp rag and wipe the inside of the drum before re-filling. After two washes and two rinses, your fleece should be pretty darn clean. You could probably add another wash cycle if your fleece was super greasy or dirty, but I've never had to with our Jacob and Cheviot fleeces.

If you don't have a hammock, you can make a great drying rack out of an old screen door or such. You can also lay it out on towels, either indoors or out, but try to keep it out of the direct sunlight. While my fleeces are drying, the hammock is the perfect height for me to walk around it picking out any vegetable matter or second cuts I may have missed while skirting. Plus, it's such great fun to handle clean fluffy fiber.

1 comment:

~Tonia~ said...

Oooo so pretty.

Hi, I bought all 3 fleeces from you at the KY wool fest. this past year. I am still saving for a spinning wheel to spin it up, but I prepared some for my friend and she stayed up until 4 am spinning it. She loved it!!!!!! She said that she so wants more Jacob. The one that she spun was Henrieta. I am excited to spin it myself hopefully soon. Do you only sell your fleece's at the KY wool fest? I think we are going to Burgamo this weekend and I would have her stop by your booth if you are there. Your fleece's are so lovely! I have you on my top list for people to buy fleece's from. Actually you are #1 on my list ;).


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