Friday, 13 June 2008

Why Did I Think This Was A Good Idea?

When I started reading about Waldorf doll making I knew pure wool stuffing was the best and reading further, and looking at the price of wool to buy, I decided getting a fleece was the cheapest way. Also this is great education and good for farming work in Waldorf 3rd Grade. We had to wait for shearing to start and my MIL managed to get a fleece for us, which we bought home.

So today was the day to start washing it. Anyone thinking this is a great idea, it is but believe me it stank! Its fairly hard work as well.

We tipped it out of the bag onto the decking.

We sorted one third into one laundry bag, and another third into another bag. Apparently it's good to lay it out and put it 'sheep shape'. That was fairly impossible to do. It was caked in mud, grass and poo! And was very, very greasy with lanolin. Third left over to wash tomorrow.

Then we did the first wash. We needed a detergent, not soap which would cause it to felt, and gallons of very hot water. Its a bit of an art, because if the water cools the lanolin sticks back on the fleece and goes hard apparently. If it's agitated too much it felts. This is the first wash.

And this is the first lot of water, it was revolting!

Finally after three detergent washes, 20 minutes each, checking the water isn't cooling so it doesn't felt, and scooping it out into the sink to change the water, we were finally at rinsing. We tipped it out of the bags, because it had shrunk considerably and we could manage it better.

Two rinses later we wrestled it back into the laundry bags and onto the decking. We spread it out onto an old towel to dry.

It took 2 1/2 hours. There are still quite a lot of gooey bits in it and a lot of twiggy bits but we'll pull them out when its dry. So what are we going to do with it. We need to card it now and make it all nice and fluffy. Then we can store it. Some we're going to dye using vegetable & fruit dyes and then the plan is to spin some as well. Hopefully they'll be enough for me to make a couple of dolls.

The fleece smells much, much better - but my bathroom smells like a flock of sheep are living in there!


ruth said...

Wow you were all brave:) I bought it ready carded. I would love a spinning wheel. Bath water looked like the twins after a play in the garden;)

Carol said...

Looks like a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing the results of al the carding, dyeing and the like.

Maymomvt said...

YOU are a better woman than I. That is one project I will never take on :)

Dawn said...

That was so interesting reading about this. No wonder it costs so much to buy! I hope you'll show the projects that this wool will be used for as you complete them.

Jules said...

wow, this is a fab project :o)

Bridget said...

I think you're one brave lady too, I have anough washing to do already, so I'm not taking on any more!! We'll learn through you instead!

Tammy said...

No wonder wool is so expensive to buy when it's all cleaned, dyed, and rolled up in a little ball!

Looks like it was a pretty gross project, but now it will be so nice to have wool whenever you need it. :)

Thea said...

What great fun, we had thought about doing this as I wanted to do some spinning and make stuffing. Tho' Robynne has a preference for Alpaca rather than sheep's wool. We have even found a lovely Alpaca farm near my sister's that were going to make a visit to next time were up there.

Will we see you Weds?