HOT WASHING FLEECE
We scour our fleeces by using extremely hot, kettle boiled, water and soap
powder. We don't use any particular brand, the only exception to this is the Alpaca
and dog hairs, to which we use a liquid wash.
Using a standard washing up bowl, fill it approx two thirds with dry fibre, take it out and then fill the bowl with the hot water fom the kettle. As a very general guide we use 1gm powder to 1gm fibre.
Dissolve your powder, making sure that it has fully dissolved, then immerse your fibre. Gently push the fibre to below the water level. DO NOT AGITATE
Leave the fibre to soak for 20mins, if you leave the fibre to soak overnight and the water cools down, you run the risk of the lanolin that has seeped out of the fibre being re-immersed back into the fibre, setting and felting the fibre.
Once the 20mins are up, lift the fibre out of the water and allow to drain.
When starting to rinse the fibre, you must make sure that the temperature of the rinsing water is approx the same as the temperature the fibre came out of. As you go through the rinsing you can lower the temperature but gradually, if you change the temprature suddenly, you are likely to shock the fibre and felt it
Rinse the fibre through thoroughly, we usually rinse each peice of fibre three times.
We then place the fibre in a spinner to spin off the excess water, you can use the spin only cycle on your washing machine, put the fibre in a pillow case first though, and only allow a short spin.
After it's been rinsed, we then spend sometime teasing the fibre apart, although this can be a lengthy part of the process, we find that it speeds the drying time and also helps enormously in the carding process.
With regard to Alpaca and Dog hairs, we spin the fibre first before washing, due to the enormous felting qualities of Alpaca. Once the skeins have been washed they will be given a five minute conditioner bath and then rinsed. Look under ' Processing ' to see the how we process Alpaca.