I think I actually ‘started’ this back in February!  I had two raw fleeces that I had purchased years ago (yes, that long!) and were still packed way.  Since my brown mystery fleece was now completely finished, I needed to resupply my clean fiber ‘to-spin’ pile.  Again, this is a mystery fleece.  I had purchased it and knew the kind of sheep it came from when I bought it, but I neglected to write it down.  Always keep records!  I’m learning this the hard way.

The process of cleaning the fleece isn’t that hard really – kinda like doing laundry.  I use lingerie/delicates clothes bags.  I have some with more open holes and others that look like are made of window screen material.  I suppose it’s just preference, both hold about the same about of fleece.  I believe you probably should keep the fleece in the bags for the entire washing and rinsing process.  I took mine out for the rinse because I didn’t have enough bags and needed to get the next group going. The free floating fleece in the rinse water, I think, was a mistake because my wool was ever so slightly felted.  Still completely useable, but I noticed a bit of a difference.  It was harder to gather up obviously, and agitation in hot water can cause felting.  My water was also a little too hot, which is a contributing factor to felting. Best temperatures are 120 or below.

I used Unicorn Scour for this wash.  It was the first time I had ever used this product and, yes it really does a great job!  One of the nice perks is you don’t need to have very hot water at all for the detergent to work.  I read that after I finished.  Oops.  Again, the wool is still completely useable, lesson learned.  I will create a scouring fleece log, so the next time I do this, I can quickly refer to it and not make the same mistakes again.

The following will be a quick picture log of what I did.

 

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Fleeced in wash bags and all set out to work
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First batch of wool. Much of that is dirt and lanolin that is being removed
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The temperature of my wash water. I was around 150 – really too hot.
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Those are sweater racks that can be used to set the bags of wool on and let them drain off. DO NO WRING OUT THE WOOL! That is a guaranteed way to felt it!
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Clean on the left and dirty on the right.
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I wasn’t sure how many gallons my tubs were holding and I decided my fleece probably din’t get enough detergent. I did a second wash. You can still see how dirty the far tub is. Tub in the foreground is getting really dirty!
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Running out of bags. I just set this on the grass and let it drain.
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This is a Nina Spin Dryer . Great for getting out the excess water without felting!
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I actually took the washed fleece before the rinse and spun it. This is the dirty water.
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This is all my rinse water
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All finished with the spin dryer
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Set on the porch to dry. It didn’t take too long since the spin dryer removes the majority of the water. I did need more space to lay out the fleece.

 

 

I took a video of the Nina Spin Dryer to show how it works.  It was extremely helpful in this process.