Washing Fleece

Yesterday was my first fleece washing day.
I started with Smiley's fleece.

Her fleece was easy to separate into white and black with a little left as a gray mixture. 

It's soft and crimpy.  I think that's good but I don't really know.

I've never done this before and I haven't wanted to ruin it, so I have been putting it off.  But next week I am going for my second spinning lesson and she told me to bring some washed fleece along so I could spin yarn from my own sheep.  So, you see, it had to be done!

The instructions from The Joy of Handspinning seem easy enough.  I guess the trick is to not aggravate agitate the fleece at all.  If you do, you will have felt!

First you have to have HOT water.  Add enough Dawn detergent to make the water seem slippery. 

Place wool in mesh laundry bags. 

Submerge in hot soapy water and let it soak for 30 minutes.

Drain (nasty, greasy) water and re-fill sink with same temperature water. Try not to handle the fleece too much (how much is too much, though?) And don't run water over fleece! Dunk fleece to rinse.

Rinse. Drain. Refill. Repeat.  I don't know, Is that enough rinsing?   (I did three.) 
Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to last rinse. 

Lay out to dry on towels.  Don't ring it... squeeze it... mess with it.  (This is really hard for me!)

I don't know.  Seems a lot cleaner.  Still some vegetable matter (grass & hay) in there but I assume it will come out in carding. 

It should be fun to spin some of our own wool.

Smiley's wool makes me smile!


  1. Good job! VM doesn't really wash out. Some will fall out with hand-teasing, flick-carding, or whatever method you use to prep it; you'll pick out more as you spin. I predict you will ADORE making yarn from your own sheep.

  2. Wow, that seems like a lot of work, but hopefully will result in some beautiful wool.

  3. I think I'm as excited as you are. I doubt I will ever be able to do what you are doing. I do know the feeling of satisfaction when you see something from beginning to end.

  4. Yes, a lot of work, but how exciting. I wonder what you will knit with it!

  5. GREAT JOB!!! I've still got small bits of veg from commercially washed and processed finished yarn. Not an issue for me or so fan my customers, after all this is a natural fiber not scratchy polyester or acrylic. I cannot wait to see the wool from the blended middle pic!!! THAT is going to be STUNNING!!!

  6. Very cool that you are learning this skill.

  7. What a wonderful feeling it must be to be getting ready to spin your very own wool! I'm looking forward to seeing the photo's of your lesson. Have fun! :)

  8. Good job! It is very rewarding making something from your own sheep and doing all of the steps yourself. I can't wait to see your yarn.

  9. I bet you did it just right. What fun it is to follow your adventures.


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