Spring Fleece Washing

Spring came very early to the WI Northwoods, and on April 2nd, a beautiful 75+ degree day, I decided it was perfect weather to get part of a fleece washed that I’d purchased a year or two before. Thankfully, it was still in good shape having been well-packed for shipping.

This particular fleece came from Andy McMurray, Humble Hills Farm. It has beautiful locks, nice crimp, and is probably Romney, a breed I particularly like to spin.

As we live in the WI Northwoods and have a well and septic system, I am careful about what goes down the drains. I know of people who wash their fleece in their washer and spin the water out, but last year I bought a new front-loading washer so soaking the fleece that way is no longer possible. Plus, I hesitate the put that much lanolin/grease down the pipes and into the septic tank.

My method of washing fleece is to fill old “de-commissioned” canners (no longer used for processing food) with hot water and soap, and use other canners for rinse water, rising twice. The washed fleece is then laid out on a couple drying racks that rest on sawhorses.

This time I had only washed enough fleece for one rack. Since it was so windy for a couple days, I set the second rack over the top to keep the fleece from blowing away, something the area critters love.

Beautiful fleece drying on racks on the lakeside porch. I’m looking forward to hand-carding this fleece. Though hand-carding takes longer than drum-carding, I feel the results are better, and worth the extra time.

Since this was only a portion of this fleece and the weather is supposed to warm up over the coming weekend, I’ll be washing the next batch.

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