Sunday, January 13, 2013

Washing, drying, and picking

We are just a few 'likes' away from reaching 100 on my facebook farm page! At last check it was 96!
So I have been super busy washing fleece and picking what is dry.

There are so many ways that people was their fleece and I think it is mostly personal preference. Here is how I wash my fleece and it works for me. 
I use 2 1/2 gallon buckets and fill it with about half way with hot tap water and the other half with water that has been boiling on the stove. This makes the water in the buckets about 155 degrees. I currently am using 3 buckets at a time because that is the amount of water I can boil at one time.
I then add 1/4 cup of Dawn dishsoap to the bucket and swish it around.

I then add 5 to 7 ounces of fiber to one bucket.

 And then it soaks for about 20 minutes.
After is soaks I take it out of the bucket with a spaghetti spoon and put it in to drain. I did not use to do this step but it seems to require less rinses when I do it this way. 

While it is draining I change the water in the bucket, look at all the dirt!! This is actually after 2 rinses, guess I did not get one after the first wash.

The clean water is half hot tap water and half boiling water. It does not contain any soap. I have found that after the soap, the fleece must be pushed down some to help it in the rinsing process. I don't stir it at all, just gently push it down a couple of times.

When I remove the fleece and the water looks fairly clear then it is clean and rinsed enough. Some times it can take 2 rinses and sometimes it can take 4 rinses. It just depends on how dirty the fleece is.

After it is clean I put it in mesh bags and put it in the washer on the spin cycle and let the access water get spun out so it will dry faster. Then it goes to the drying racks.

After it is dry then I pick it to separate the locks and get more of the little bits of vegetable matter out. Since I  used all 'seconds' (my word for my fleece that is not good enough to sell to hand spinners, but still nice fleece. It usually has lots of vegetable matter in it.) It takes some time to pick it. I just use my fingers to pull the locks apart. 
Here are some locks before I picked them.

Here are the same locks picked.

Here is all the light Shetland washed and picked.

Here is the black Shetland washed and picked.

I washed the Shetland fleeces last night so they were dry enough to pick while I was washing the mohair and Icelandic fleeces this morning.
Here are the Icelandic and mohair drying after being washed.

So now we wait for the Icelandic and mohair to dry......

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