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How To Sort & Wash Fleece To Spin

April 20, 2010

Last spring I was given two fine fleece from a local farm, which, against all better advice have sat in my attic awaiting some  TLC ; )

I have no idea as the the breed of the sheep that supplied these wonderful fleece, but they have a fabulous crimp & are a bright white (when clean!)

Today I dug out one of the fleece, to sort & wash ready for some spinning!

Here you can see the fleece, out on my cars bonnet, ready for skirting (Always useful to have the help of a good Dalmation!)

Sorting the fleece

A fleece is usually rolled by tucking each side into the middle and rolled from neck or tail end, as if  rolling a sleeping bag.

It may be best to unroll tips facing up.

Give the wool a good shake – all the ‘second cuts’ will fall out.  Second cuts in a fleece being processed for spinning will create nupps in the yarn.

Washing the fleece

Our fleece was washed in the bath tub.

It was filthy!


The fleece was given four very hot baths. I used fairy dish washing liquid for 3 of the baths – the last was purely a rinse.

Very hot water & soap = no aggitation!!!

After the final rinse, I allowed the water to cool enough for me to handle, but not enough for the fibre to react to the changes in temperature & took the whole thing out & spun in the washing machine (make sure your washing machine will not add water during the spin cycle)

Hopefully tomorrow will be a fine day, then I can get this beautiful fleece out into the fresh air to dry.

For those of you with fleece to process, here are two incredibly helpful podcasts:

Skirting a shetland fleece

Washing a fleece

both from Yarnspinners Tales Podcast – a mine of valuable information for the spinner.

Happy spinning!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 27, 2010 2:01 am

    Hi Lynn!
    How neat your photos were! Such a dramatic change in color from unwashed to hanging in your beautiful yard. Thanks so much for sharing this info.
    Blessings,
    Lisa

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