Remember the shetland fleece I bought earlier this year?
I washed it, combed it – seperated the down coat from the coarse outer coat, and spun the down into a nice, lofty two ply.
I wanted a little sweater – it’s really soft and I’m not overly sensitive to wool anyways. The Sylph Cardigan by Robin Melanson (Interweave Knits) was perfect. Or at least close to perfect! I downsized it, one size. I also continued the lace pattern throughout and knitted on the neckband rather than sewing it on later. I reshaped the sleeves a bit when downsizing. I like them well fitted.
I washed/am washing the shetland fleece indoors since it’s not exactly balmy outside this week in ontario.
I began with soaking the fleece, in parts, in tubs in cold water – changing the water as it dirtied and warmed. I’ve still got a little in a cold bath that started soaking the first day. I think extra days make it easier to clean.
Next, I used this method of hot water wash. My soap is a presidents choice aromatherapy dishsoap – it smells like lavender.
The wastbasket was a stroke of genius – we found it at the second hand store for 75 cents! It works as the perfect colander. I used an old tupperware bowl for the wash, the metal bowl for a drain to set the basket in.
Each batch got two soapy soaks and two or three rinses in nearly boiling water. In the interest of saving water I use the last rinse as the first soapy soak for the next batch (and make the last rinse very quick to prevent significant cooling). I used a couple of towels and rolled each batch, squeezing out most of the water and laid them out on my sweater drying rack (in the livingroom).
As the fleece dried, I seperated it into locks…
By starting at the tips, it was pretty easy to seperate. Dirty tips aren’t so bad, lol….they help the fleece stay together and (mine) combed out easily later.
I picked up my fleece this morning at the post office. Good thing too…now it looks like it’s going to pour rain today! It came in a pretty small box, it’s amazing how well they vacuum packed it.
About 4.5 pounds of raw charcoal/black shetland fleece from Devine West Ranch in New Brunswick, Canada.
Couldn’t help it – had to see! – so I’ve let it stretch a little in a smallish bin in the living room until the kids get home for lunch. I want to let them share in this whole thing – it’s a real learning experience for all of us and I’ve always been craft mama with them 🙂
It fluffed right up and it’s not nearly fully ‘fluffed’…
I can see some finer fleece as well as some coarser and there seems to be a variety of browns/blacks within the fleece. I’ll be able to say more once I stretch it out (planning to use an old sheet for that!) and have a better look. Doesn’t look like too much hay or other fun stuff in there but again, I need a better look.
I’m all excited and intimidated at the same time, lol! Wish me luck 🙂