August 12, 2009

Skirting and Washing Fleece

Since the skirting table is complete I have been anxious to break it in and skirt some fleece. Have been waiting for a quiet, home alone, evening to tackle skirting and washing fleeces. For me it’s best to have no distractions. Trust me, distractions can lead to many mistakes such as setting the washer on agitate not spin. Agitating the raw fleece can result in felting the entire fleece.
Dear Son had an employee’s meeting to attend, then was spending some quality one on one time and dinner out with my parents so I took advantage of the quiet time!

Back when we sheared the last two of the sheep (Aberdeen and Kelly) I had quickly skirted their fleeces and tucked them away in bags. While pulling out the bags I ran across another fleece a friend had given me a while back. I thought I would compare my skirting ability to the skirted fleece of my friend. I guess "quick" is the key word in the first sentence above…Aberdeen’s fleece still had long bits and pieces of hay, a couple of heavily soiled tags and I even found cockleburs. My friends skirted fleece barely had any bits and pieces of any VM. This tells me I need to do 2 things - pay more attention to details and will need to re-skirt all fleeces I have stashed away.

I washed Aberdeen’s (moorit brown) and Duckie’s (black) fleeces after skirting them.
The first wash and rinse water was dirty on both fleeces, but oh my goodness, Aberdeen’s was absolutely filthy compared to Duckie’s fleece. Besides being super VM collectors I guess our sheep get much dirtier here at our farm too.

I found that the skirting table also makes an excellent drying rack.

This is Aberdeens fleece after being washed. The colors are a bit off since I am using no flash and in the house. Looks more red here in the photo but it is lovely shades of brown.

And Duckie's beautiful black fleece drying on the skirting table.

I also tried a new technique in washing the fleece. Previously I had washed smaller sections of the fleece, placing the sections in sweater/lingerie bags. This time I placed the entire fleece in the washer, no bags. It worked well for me. Seemingly getting them cleaner quicker with less soaks and rinses. I am not sure this technique will work on the Angora fleece, but it works well on the Shetland.


Tammy said...

Great job! As for Duckie's being so 'clean', it really varies from year to year (if it's a dry dusty year etc etc) or maybe they got a good wash in the rain before shearing. Also...I know it's hard to believe but usually the second fleece isn't as trashy as that lamb's fleece. I think those little suckers just roll in everything when our backs are turned! :-) I do skirt pretty heavily since I try and have a decent product for selling via the internet. If you were using it for youself you might be able to salvage more of the fleece if you wanted to spend the time.
Thanks for a great post!

DayPhoto said...

Since I don't 'do wool' this is really interesting THANK YOU SO MUCH