Jun 5, 2011

Holy sheep fleece!

Right. So I went to a fleece sale and it was a first for all involved. We saw a sheep being shorn (the guy who did it was a total expert!) and we picked up a 3rd place Suffolk lamb fleece ... 4.5 pounds' worth.

What have I gotten myself into? Dirty tips? I didn't even know what that meant before I got it home! I guess I'm the live-and-learn type.

I followed the advice of the nice woman in the vendor area and put the fleece in the washer with a bunch of grease-cutting dish soap and really hot water. Yes, the whole fleece. Perhaps I should have done it in batches. Anyway, I rolled it up in a couple of curtains to keep the locks together and that's why you see fabric here and not fleece...notice the colour of the water? It was INSTANT. Ew:

Also, I didn't really do anything with the fleece before it went in, so I gave all the vegetable matter a really good wash too. I'll have to pick that out at the end. I really wanted to deal with the stinky, sticky, greasy fleece as little as possible.

After its wash, it had a rinse ... and then another, at which point the water looked a little less brown:

Revealing its goodness after a total of four rinse-soaks ... see those dirty tips? They'll be my enemy:

Out of the washer and ready to be laid out for drying: 

Extreme close-up of the veggie matter that's preventing my fleece from being pretty:

Next up is to allow the fleece to dry completely, then hand-pick all the bits and pieces out. Then I'll probably dunk it once more to be sure it's as white as it can be, and then it'll be drying again before carding. 

After that? You betcha - DYEING! (stay tuned)

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