Washing Wool for Hand Spinning
Wash your fleece about 1kg, or 2lb 3 3/4 oz at a time.
- Soak wool overnight in cold water with 3 cups of Drive laundry detergent. (Drive is an enzyme powered laundry detergent, specially made for heavy staining. If you are outside Australia you will need to find an equivalent product).The amount of Drive you use will depend on how much wool you are washing and the degree of dirt and staining that your fleece contains. For really dirty, greasy wool add a little more Drive as it soaks. The dirt and grease will loosen up overnight
- The next morning gently squeeze the water out, then spin dry in your washing machine for a few seconds.
- Place out 5 large buckets.
- 1st bucket: Fill with very hot water with 1 1/2 cups of Drive added, place a handful of wool into the bucket and let it soak for a few seconds, then hold the wool up and let it drain.
- 2nd bucket: Fill with hot water (water from your hot tap, not boiling water), with 1 cup of Drive, take wool from your 1st bucket and place it into the 2nd bucket. Let it soak once again for a few seconds, then hold it up and let it drain.
- 3rd bucket: Fill with hot water, no Drive, place wool into bucket. Move wool gently, hold up and let wool drain.
- 4th bucket: Fill with very warm water, place wool into bucket, move wool gently, hold up and let the wool drain.
- 5th bucket: Fill with warm water, place wool into bucket to which a little hair conditioner has been added. Let the wool soak for 1 minute, then hold up and let the water drain.
- Place into a washing machine when all the wool is finished, spin dry for a few seconds until all the water is almost out. If you are worried about the wool being loose in your machine place it in a pillow case first.
- Finally, place the wool out on a flat surface to dry.
Washing Alpaca for Carding
This fleece needs very careful washing
- Soak the fleece overnight in cold water with a little Drive added (about 1/2 a cup)
- Next morning gently squeeze the water out and spin dry for a few seconds only.
Use the 5 bucket method as for washing wool but have all the buckets filled with warm water, not hot, and make sure they are all the same temperature and do not vary.
In the 5th bucket add the hair conditioner, soak for 1 minute, then spin dry. Place out to dry in the sun on a flat surface. When drying any fibre make sure the air can circulate under the fibre as well as on top.
Washing Mohair For Carding
- Soak overnight in cold water with 1 cup of Drive added.
- The next morning, gently squeeze the water out, then place in spin dryer for a few seconds.
- Place all the mohair in a laundry tub of very warm water with hair shampoo added.
Gently push mohair backwards and forwards for a while. In the next laundry tub have warm water also with hair shampoo. Gently push mohair backwards and forwards for a while. Repeat this procedure (about 4 times) until all the grease is out, regularly changing the water in your tubs. You should finish up with the clean mohair in clean water.
After washing the mohair it has to be rinsed.
- Fill your tub with warm water and add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Push backwards and forwards for one minute.
- Next fill your other tub with warm water to which you add a tablespoon of hair conditioner. Place mohair in and let it soak for a minute.
- Finally place in spin dryer for a few seconds, then place out to dry on a flat surface
Washing Hanks of Yarn
- When you have spun your wool and wound it into hanks, tie the hank in 4 places and put out 2 buckets.
- Fill one with hot water and a little Lux. Fill the second with cold water only.
- Hold your hank at the top by one of your ties, then dip into the hot water bucket, then into the cold water bucket. Repeat this procedure about 4 times then hang out to dry.
This will take out the last of the grease and the dirt from the fibre and will shrink proof your wool, ready for knitting.
Please do not attempt any of these methods with large amounts until you have practiced with a small amount of fleece first. Also, when fibres are in hot or very warm water try and handle them as little as possible. If they are handled too much this will cause them to felt.
Copyright © Tracy Bradberry