In the Wool — Washing

Since coming home from BSG this month, I’ve been really wanting to get into the wool side of things with my sheep.  How neat would it be to grow the sheep yourself, use the meat, the wool and the horns?  I just love the thought, though a lot of you already do that.

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Yesterday I set out to start from the beginning — wool washing.  I went to the barn and picked out a fleece.  The bag said “Wether” on it so I knew it was from this guy–

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I acquired him from a lady whose flock I bought back in November of ’08.  He came with 8 ewes and two rams (and came without a name.)  He was the only wether and the lady said she wethered him and kept him because he had the nicest fleece.  I believe that’s all relative, depending on whose opinion it is and what they’re using the fleece for!  So I decided to give his fleece a whirl.

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I’d call it dingy.  And this white is supposed to come out white?

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I brought out my tubs I bought at Costco on Wednesday and filled it with scalding hot water from my tap (we have an on-demand water heater.)  I then proceeded to put in some Wool Wash.

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I got the Wool Wash from the Eco Store USA a while back and they were hoping for some giveaways of which we’ve had a few (I hope everyone who won is enjoying their products!)  I do have a bottle of this Wool Wash left and will be hosting a giveaway for it soon…  The Wool Wash’s directions were for 1-2 tsp. and they are proud that this is super concentrated.  It also does not contain any nasty chemicals — no toxic petrochemicals, no phosphates, no optical whiteners, no bleach, no nitrates, no enzymes, no chlorine, no EDTA, no alkalis or fillers, no synthetic dyes or perfumes… That’s what it reads off their bottle.  Some of the ingredients are organic eucalyptus oil (smells wonderful!) anionic and non-ionic surfactants (from glucose and coconut oil), plant based alcohol and solvents, citric acid, water.

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In the tub fleece!  I started poking it down in to the water with a spatula.

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It was amazing how quickly the water turned brown.  I was still interested to see the white fleece actually turn white!

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We then put the lid on the tub and let it soak for an hour in the hot sun on the hot concrete.  I would go out every now and then to see if the water was hot still — it was.  I have the perfect scalding scenario right here out my french doors.  I also have helpers, Annie and her “Baa.”  Her Baa doesn’t take hot baths, he gets tossed in the washing machine every now and then — It keeps his whites white.

After the hour was up, I slowly drained out the hot dirty water (on to the lawn!) and pushed the fleece to one side.  I then re-filled the tub with hot water from the tap (not put directly on top of the fleece) and added a couple more teaspoons of the Wool Wash.  It soaked for yet another hour.  I drained it again, put in hot clear water (no soap) let it soak for 30 minutes and drained.  Voila! —

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My whites are white and my brights are bright.  I’ve now got a second batch going while the first (half of the fleece) is sitting out in the sun on my clean truck bench seat cover.

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I’m feeling the itch to get my dyes out once this is dry… 😉

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About mudranch

I live in the country, I love to take photos, I'm a shepherdess, I adore my husband and daughter, I walk in the will of Christ.

Posted on June 27, 2009, in Jacob Sheep and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. So amazing. I had no idea what was involved.

    Love your helper too… Give Baa a squeeze from her friends in Texas…

  2. I love seeing the transition from dirty fleece to spanky clean!

  3. Part of my mind still baulks at dying the natural colors, but I’ll bet if you over-dye that whole fleece with one rich primary color you’d get the most amazing results! Bright red and deep, rich burgundy red all in one fleece…. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  4. Way to go!!! I will have to try some of that wool wash – it looks like it did a fabulous job 😉 I can’t wait to see it after you dye it. You will have to bring it with you and you can use my drum carder to make some very pretty batts! How exciting.

    • Thank you everyone! 😀

      Shannon — I was planning on getting as many washed as I could between now and then… hoping to use your carder! LOL Thank you for the offer! 😉

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