Read on to learn more about the process of washing a fleece…
Sorting a gray Shetland ram fleece – the color ranges from light gray to deep charcoal.
When doing a spinning/shearing demo, observers often ask “Could I get enough yarn from a fleece to knit a sweater?” The answer: out of this typical Shetland fleece, yes, probably three sweaters. The sorting table is 4 ft x 8 ft, and this fleece almost fills it.
After sorting, this fleece was so large (good boy) that it needed to be divided up into four sections for washing. Providentially, I have two sets of vintage twin tubs for fleece-baths. Dawn dish soap is the only additive to the cold water.
Following two soaks in soap and water, and two rinses, the fleece will be ready to dry. The intermittent rains we are getting has made for going to plan B – instead of letting the clean fleece dry outdoors on the sorting rack, it will be put into mesh bags, and sent through the spin cycle of the washing machine.
To be continued: fleece will be drying indoors. And then ready for carding, then spinning, then ?. Knitting or weaving, probably. Some of the recently-washed fleeces will be blended with either llama, alpaca, or merino/silk before heading to the spinning wheel.