Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The sun is out!!

The sun is out and I have the day off!! So guess what I am doing? Other than sitting here at the computer updating the blog............ (o;
I am finally going through all the extra fleeces and skirting/reskirting, shaking, sorting and getting ready to wash. These fleeces will then be sent off to a mill to become yarn or roving.

We use our old heavy duty washer to wash fleeces. On the right is one of two cast iron tubs that we use to prewash the extremely dirty fleeces. We will soak the dirt out in the tub, and then bring in to spin out the water. We will then wash the fleece.
When I say wash, I don't mean that I use the wash cycles. I fill the washer with hot water and as much Orvus paste as I think the fleeces will need, and then I shut off the washing machine. I put 2 (or more) fleeces into the machine, shut the lid and walk away for about 40 minutes. I then come back and run the machine on spin cycle. Make sure NO cold water comes out at the beginning of the cycle before you do this. The best thing is to shut off the cold water. I take out the spun fleeces, and fill the washer back up with hot water. If it is an extremely dirty fleece, I will add more Orvus. (If it is an extremely greasy fleece, I will use Arm & Hammer laundry soap and a cup of ammonia to degrease the fleece, and then I will use Orvus in the next wash.) Soak the fleece for another 30 minutes and then spin out. Generally 1 wash and 1-2 rinses are plenty.
Lay the fleeces out in the sun, or near the wood stove in the winter, on screens and fluff as needed until dry.
I will then reshake the fleeces to make sure all the extra VM and second cuts are out before I put the fleeces away.
Just a few of the fleeces I have to make sure are skirted and shaken as much as possible to get out all the extra debris- second cuts, VM, shavings/straw. They will then get bagged up and will wait their turn in the washer.

The view from the basement door. (o;

The blue barrel holds a large bag which will be filled with the fleece from the skirting table. The bags then go into the garage or basement to wait their turn to be washed.

Horned Dorset in shavings bag, Suffolk in grain bags.

Romneys on tarp, llamas in bags and box. The llama will be processed here on the farm.

An unwashed fleece on the skirting table waiting to be picked and shaken, next to a screen full of washed and drying fleece. The Orvus does a good job of cleaning the wool.
So far I have 4 contractor bags full of washed fleece waiting to go to a mill to be processed.
The fleeces on the right are Jacob fleeces that I need to wash and have processed.

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