Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More problem solving, or a new way to wash fine fleece....

Last March I did a tutorial on washing fine fleece in the crockpot. On my birthday a little over a month ago, Carol sent me 2 lbs. of wonderful, fine corriedale fleece. This fleece has a lot of my favorite things, but the most favorite thing is that it has a lot of body. Often a fine fleece can be a rather limp fiber, which is okay when one wants a drapey yarn. But a handful of fine fleece that bounces back immediately after squished in your fist?...That's what I like!!

Just look at the lock below, can you imagine anything keeping that wool compressed?

light gray corridale lock
Posted by Hello

I didn't want to tie this fleece in bundles for the crockpot, but I did want to preserve lock structure so I could still have the option of combing this wool for spinning. Since I have a canner set-up that I use for dyeing, it seemed like a good idea to just pack the quart canning jars with flicked locks, tips down. Then I filled the jars with very hot water with Dawn dish soap added. I let those jars sit for a few minutes to let the soapy water work through the wool in the jar. Then I pulled out the locks, maintaining lock structure, and squeezed out the excess water, dumping the dirty water into a collection receptacle. (I dump wool wash water out on the ground to protect our plumbing from greasy, waxy build up.)

Next I filled the canner pot to the appropriate level and brought the canner water just to boiling, then turned down the heat to stop the rolling boil. While this water was heating, I carefully refilled the wool filled canning jars with hot soapy water. (Make sure the water is hotter than the wool, and pour it in carefully down the side of the jar to avoid agitating the wool.)

At this point I lowered the wool and water filled jars in their rack into the hotwater bath. Then allowed the canner w/ wool to sit over low heat for about an hour or so to allow the waxes and grease in the wool to release from the fibers. Watch carefully so it stays hot, but doesn't boil.

1/2 lb. fleece washing in quart jar canner set up.
Posted by Hello

After an hour, I carefully removed the rack of jars from the canner and sat them in the sink. Wearing heat resistang gloves, I pulled the locks out of the jars, squeezed out the excess water and laid the wool on the drain board to cool. Once reasonably cooled, I rinsed them in hot tap water.

one jar's worth of clean fleece set out to dry.
Posted by Hello

Now I have to set out the wool in the spare bedroom to dry. The house has been so dry in this cold weather, it should dry fairly quickly.

Tomorrow I want to experiment to see if there's much difference in the top pulled from the two types of minicombs in my cupboard.


  1. This or that is the way I like to dye yarn. I use country classics about a teaspoon of dye less for red. Seal the jar and heat for an hour. I let the jars cool overnight then rinse. Most colors turn almost clear except of course for red.

  2. hmmmmmm, jars valerie's jars are uncovered and mary ellen seals hers...i've had thoughts both ways on this but other than condensation dripping down on dyes, i don't have any conclusions- i usually dye with the flat part of the 2 piece tops- lets me get into that jar if need be.


tie in the loose ends...