Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Examining "all the fleeces"

This weekend we took an impromptu trip to my sister's farm. That's where "all the fleeces" are.  Finally it was warm enough to open the sack and take  look at some of the contents. As I rolled it to access the ties better I noticed some lines and writing on the other side. It turns out that closest to the end there was a black fleece. Then a section of bellies. Then the many, many white-ish fleeces.
I pulled out the black fleece and checked it out. I skirted it - the obvious ick parts. But it's hard to see the dirt on a dark fleece.
Dumped the bellies and pulled out a few more fleeces to look at. They're hard-packed inside, so I had to rely on 'natural' breaks and then it would turn out I had a couple of fleeces. It was all very exciting as I had no idea what to expect.
I forgot my camera.
I borrowed my sister's iPhone to capture a picture of the largest of the 5 fleeces I ended up pulling out. This one was the easiest to identify the different parts.

Needs a good cleaning.

Yep, the rear end was pretty obvious and on this fleece the neck came across, leaving a hole for the head.

After skirting the worst of the stuff, I packed each fleece into a large pillow case. (Picked up 8 for $2 at the thrift store and washed them in preparation.)

Back at home I had to wait a rainy day.
The next day (today) was sunny and warm, so I got to work. I managed to wash about half the fleece - 4 laundry wash bags of wool fleece.

 Getting the supplies ready. I forgot to get a picture of the largest fleece laid out again as I tore it into laundry-bag-sized chunks to wash. (Bags not stuffed full of course.) I filled 7 bags, but only washed 4 for now. I didn't want to overwhelm my wash bucket.

 Laundry bags of wool soaking in hot water with Dawn.  First rinse water waiting.

 Washed and drying.  Much cleaner than before. When they're dry I'm going to flick and pick out the worst of the remaining stuff.  I just didn't know what to work on when there was still mud on the ends holding the dirt in. (There's another drying rack not shown.)

Wash and rinse waters when I was done the last bag. Furthest large bucket was the wash, but I kept topping it up with rinse water. Second blue is the initial rinse - more hot water. The orange and red buckets were my last two rinses and I kept refreshing those buckets. You can see a bit of suds in the orange, but red was pretty much soap free. Still some dirty water run off, but I'd be rinsing forever I think if I expected a large bag of fleece to rinse clear at this stage. I'll clean out more dirt with flicking/combing first.
I'm letting the first bucket cool to see if the lanolin will glob on top and then I could purify it.
I should do something with the other buckets of water now...

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