no guts no glory…

story of my life.. when I start something I jump in headfirst.. 😛 Sometimes it’s bad but usually it’s really cool. I’m not the careful type and so far I’ve not fallen flat on my face yet so I guess I’m doing something right.. wel.. it’s either that or I’m extremely lucky and I’m pushing my luck ’til a point where I DO land on my face.. 😛 But we’ll worry abou that once we get there 🙂

wensleydale x gotland

This is washed (and dried) Wensleydale x Gotland cross fleece but unfortunately my scale only goes up to 500grams (I know I really need a new one but this one works so meh) so I don’t really know how much it is. I would estimate a 2-3 kilo’s but I’m not sure…

So before I started washing fleece I tried to find information on the web and found some good sources and good videos on youtube that were very informative. However there’s one thing about all of them I don’t really understand. Some of them wash fleeces by hand and others put them in a top-loader washing machine, but they all stress that you should NOT agitate the fleece while it’s in the water.

I have a front loader washing machine so I’m not even going to try it (hehe oops I did.. I’ll explain) but I find it hard to understand. When I look at this Wensleydale x Gotland fleece I see a snowy white fleece at the butt end and a tangled, messy, dirty, greasy, GROSS fleece at the tips.. the whole thing looks so gross I nearly lost hope for it to ever wash out.. (but some of it actually did).

I was freaking out about the whole thing because it’s suck a lovely fleece and its a birthday present so I really really can’t mess this up because I’d feel terrible because of my BF.. seriously if I buy something and I kill it for the sake of knowledge and experience I won’t be sad, because I’ll be taking something from it, but since this was a present I felt the need to do this right so I might get more presents like these so I won’t hurt my BF’s feelings.

So I’m freaking out because I hear Gotland felts like crazy, but on the other hand the fleece is so damned dirty I don’t know what to do with it, so I decided to give it a good long soak. I soaked the whole thing for 3 whole days… I filed a tub with lukewarm water and a little soap and let it stay overnight, the next morning I gave it a careful rinse and repeated the process 2 or 3 more times. Then I tried some warmer water and moved up to progressively warmer water until the whole thing was soaking in hot water with a little bit of soap.

The whole time I barely touched the fleece because I was afraid it would felt, and all the time it wouldn’t really get clean.. yes there was some serious mudd coming off the fleece but the nasty parts were still nasty and the color was still nothing close to clean white.

So in the end, after 3 days, I decided to just go for it.. I was thinking about the people who put their fleeces in a toploader washing machine and thought… well those things don’t just let the fleece sit there.. it moves around right? so what’s with the whole ‘don’t agitate’, ‘just push it down and leave it’ ?? I guess I misunderstood?

After these thoughts I went in and gave the fleece a good washing in nice hot wate with a whole lot of soap (I mean really washing.. squeazing moving, stretching.. ) et voila! It was getting clean :O and there was no felting.. (I was carefull :))

The now dried up (after a centrifuge trip in the frontloader machine) fleece is sitting here.. taunting me… knowing I have no time to play right now…. but tho I’m happy with the cleaning this time.. the thing is STILL dirty… I was combing through the locks yesterday and there was still dirt in between them…. am I supposed to was the combed locks again? or should this come out with spinning or washing after it’s spun? aahhh I’m losing my mind people.. a little help 😛

wensleydale x gotland

Here’s what the fleece looks like. It’s mostly locks that are connected via the shearing end so you can pull them off, and when you do that it becomes really fluffy and nice, but the tips still have a darker color, but when you comb it you see it’s because of the dirt 🙁

wensleydale x gotland

After pulling the locks apart it looks like this. It’s really soft and shiny 😀

wensleydale x gotland

The combed locks look like this, the staple length is between 20-25cm and I’m hoping to have a lot of these to make a nice roving. I’m going for a good fiber prep so I can have some even dk weight spinning this time 🙂 This picture really shows how the tips are still dirty. Should I wash them here? or will it come out after spinning? questions.. questions…

wensleydale x gotland

The locks that are shorter or arent as pretty and even are sorted on a different pile, these can be made into rovings but need some more care.

wensleydale x gotland

The third pile is all the fleece that doesn’t look like a lock anymore. This is the pile that will be saved up and in the end will either be carded and spun or will be spun longdraw style 🙂 I’m using every little bit of this fleece if I can help it 🙂

wensleydale x gotland

This little bugger is a bit weird… all the other locks are whiteish but this one is yellow… please please please tell me this lock is not saturated with sheep PEE 😛 please tell me there’s blond sheep out there or that there’s people who dye their sheepwool??? 😛

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