Or two rather, that need to be washed. So I made the fleece a basket to be washed in. Originally I wanted this basket to wash my fleece faster. But after giving it much consideration, I decided I’d rather wash the fleece while preserving lock structure. So I made a basket and then sorted the fleece carefully, lining the locks up butt to tip and pulling out any second cuts I found before I even put it in the water. The fleece I am currently washing is a CVM Romeldale. It is gorgeous shades of gray and natural.
Bug took one look at this fleece and asked if it was all from one sheep. I told her it was, and she said “That must have been a very beautiful sheep!” I asked her why she thought so, and she told me it was because it was gray and white with some very dark gray as well.
I then created a top for the basket, because I was worried that just setting it in the water would cause the locks to move about and then I’d fail to preserve their structure. The next picture I took just after I set the fleece in the water for its initial wash.
The fleece is nicely caged, so the locks are preserved. Then I snapped a photo after 20 minutes in the hot soapy water.
All the gunk and lanolin just rise right out of there. I removed the basket, drained the water, and refilled the tub. After the second wash it looked like this:
The rinse worked great, so I hung it using dowels, and allowed it to drip for an hour.
Once my hour was up, the fleece was cool, so I removed the lid and gently squished out as much water as I could. Then I took it outside to dry:
Look at all those locks all set up just how I want them to be! This will make flick carding so much easier. And sure enough, I ended up with some beautiful locks!
The next batch I am going to try a few new things. First, I’ll try stuffing the basket a bit fuller. I had to fill far fewer tubs full in order to get the locks clean, but at this rate I’ll still be using the same amount of water because I am washing less fleece per basket. The other thing I’d like to try is sewing the basket shut. This might help with the instability of my materials. Once the fleece is lined up properly, I really have no reason whatsoever to open the basket up again until the fleece is dry. So next time I will fill the basket full, sew the lid on with cotton yarn, and then wash. That should be sometime this evening. I also think if I had my little Bug helper, it would have been easier, as she’d have helped me lift the basket out of the water each time. But, she was at school this morning thus unavailable to help. Even with these minor changes, I’d call my basket a success.