Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Washed Fiber!!!!

So, we have had allot of discussion on washing greasy fleece on the new list lately. I am certainly no expert, nor have I been trained in any way, but I thought I would share with you how I do it. First let me premise this with a little back ground. I am space cramped!!! We moved here in 2006 from Ramona Ca. and from a 3800 sq.ft. house. In earlier posts I explain all the other things, but don't want to get into it here. So now after some unfortunate circumstances, we have decided to stay here and purchased a piece of property and decided to build. In the mean time we got a 16x76 mobile home to live in while we do. Well, needless to say, you can only imagine all the stuff I have! I do have an outside building now to do all my stuffs in, but no water yet, so, I bring this up so those of you that don't have an outside kitchen or an outside area to do this, it is possible to do in your kitchen. Now I can only imagine the turned up noses, fleece in my kitchen!!! Here's what I do:

Usually I wait till it's time to give my kitchen a real cleaning, I move everything to one side of my kitchen, clean off my sink area so now, nothing food related around that area. I bring in the fleece I want to work with, I don't usually get to fleece to wash it before I store it.

Out goes the sheet on the floor and down goes the fleece. I have no kids at home, but as you can see, Petey sees the fleece and thinks he's going to get in to it, not a chance! Here is my fleece, I chose 4 different fleeces so you could get an idea how it works on all types.
The first is my fav, CVM from http://www.thewhitebarnfarm.com/.
The second is Salish also a one of my favorites, it is a special flock that was developed by a woman in Ore. It is a cross of Salish,Coopworth and Romney. She spent 20 years developing this flock for handspinning and worth every year of it in my opinion! Long,strong,and soft.

the third is Finn, I think :o, I really can't remember, it's either Finn or Romney.

The last is Rambouillet, I love this fleece after it's combed and the yarn it makes, but gettin it there can be a chore! This one is very clean compared to some I have gotten! Like Merino, the heavy grease can really hold in the dirt. However the locks are tapered and not boxy like Merino, that helps!

In order of how much grease, I would say the Ramouillet is the most with the Finn being the least, the other 2 in between. Although the Salish I have today is 2 years old and as I got into it, I noticed it had a touch of mold in the center.

I usually get fairly clean fleece and don't have to pick out to much yucky stuff. If it has veggie matter it gets a good shake out side before it is put up. You need to get the poop and stuff out before you wash. Veggie matter isn't that big of a deal to me as it mostly comes out during processing.
Here's my magic ingredient! This is what I use. Now if I have a fleece, like the Salish that has mildew, or very poopy and dirty fleece. I put a couple of drops, and I mean drops as it is very concentrated of Odoban in. I get it at Sam's a gallon lasts a life time. It is a great disinfectant and gets rid of any smell you can think of! I also use it when I wash rugs, dog beds anything that has an odor. I fill the pots with warm water and the fleece goes in before the water gets hot. That way it gets hot slowly!

I usually use canning pots, but they are dark and hard to get a good picture of so I also have these I use for small amounts. These are just used for fleece. This is the CVM in it's pot with a quick squirt of dish soap and put on it's burner to come to an almost boil.
Here's the Rambo in it's pot with 2 good squirts of dish soap.

Here is the Finn.

I fill the pot fairly full, so there is just enough room for the wool to have water around it, but not enough room for it to move too much should I forget to catch it before it boils! If it does I just remove it from the heat and let it sit a minute. I usually poke the wool down from time to time in the pots so all of the wool gets good and wet. As soon as it starts to simmer, I turn off the burner and start pouring off hot water and putting in the sink to soak and rinse. I pour the pot into a colander over a bowl, let it drain

So here I have poured the fleece into the colander and this is what the wool looks like.Doesn't look really clean huh? Well the object is to get rid of the grease in the hot bath, then the dirt can come out in the sink! Now I know people worry about felting wool when you wash. But I have found that if you keep it under water and move it gently, you won't have that problem. This is what the water looks like after it has drained, the creamy look is lanolin. I'm keeping a bowl full till tomorrow and I will show you what goes down your drain. We have a septic, don't start yelling at me yet :)
So in the sink it goes! Full of warm water not hot.

At this point most of the wool gets 2 rinses. Except the Salish and the Rambo. It gets 3 cause it's so dirty. I have also from time to time let it soak in the sink for 30 minutes or so if it is really dirty.
This is another handy tool I love! It's my spaghetti spoon! It scoops up hot fleece easily and seems to get the very last bit when you run it thru the last bit of water.

So now it gets squeezed and rolled in a towel. Now at this point you can put it in the washer to spin out the water, it takes much less time to dry! Both alas, I have a front loader, that won't spin without water! So I'm back to the roll in towel thing :(
But I do love my washer :)
Hopefully as I get my out building done, I will get an old washer and I will replace my in house stove and move it out there!

This is what it looks like when it's all washed and ready for the rack in my dryer!

Here is each one before and after
Finn and Salish
CVM and Rambo
Here it is altogether! I worked on this from 11AM till 1:30 PM that's not too bad! Wish I could get it all combed and carded that quickly :)
So now to clean the kitchen, out comes my Odoban in my squirt bottle, everything gets sprayed down and wiped, all the cloths,towels and sheet go in the washer with Odoban and hot water. The floor gets vacuumed and washed and I'm done with a clean kitchen.
Then it's out for Mexican food for dinner, I've been in the kitchen all day working, I need a break!

1 comment:

Delighted Hands said...

Dori-thanks for the tutorial! I am going today to a sheep farm I have found and buy a fleece-unwashed so this info is so timely! Will let you know how I do!