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a friend of mine was getting rid of some fleeces, and I'm the only in my group that really takes the time to wash and process them.  She knows how to do the carding, spinning and such, but not the washing.  She was looking to let go of some of her fleeces and told me about it.  I wound up with 15 lbs, 8 ounces.   They are a number of years old but still in excellent shape. I guestimate that it's all worth about $200-$250 dollars easily.  My cost?  she wants me to was 1/2 lb of one of them for her and 1/4 of a nice large brown fleece weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs 14 ounces!    The best part is that she doesn't even want me to card/comb them.   she just wants it  washed. That seems to have been her hang up with not doing them.

On top of all of the other fleeces that I have to process, as well as the 20 lbs of alpaca, and all of the roving I have yet to do, I think I will not have to buy wool for a couple of decades at least!
 
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Eric Crouse wrote:a friend of mine was getting rid of some fleeces, and I'm the only in my group that really takes the time to wash and process them.  She knows how to do the carding, spinning and such, but not the washing.  She was looking to let go of some of her fleeces and told me about it.  I wound up with 15 lbs, 8 ounces.   They are a number of years old but still in excellent shape. I guestimate that it's all worth about $200-$250 dollars easily.  My cost?  she wants me to was 1/2 lb of one of them for her and 1/4 of a nice large brown fleece weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs 14 ounces!    The best part is that she doesn't even want me to card/comb them.   she just wants it  washed. That seems to have been her hang up with not doing them.

On top of all of the other fleeces that I have to process, as well as the 20 lbs of alpaca, and all of the roving I have yet to do, I think I will not have to buy wool for a couple of decades at least!



Wow! Sounds like a great deal. It does have me wondering though--as someone who knows zero about processing animal fibers--just how DO you wash fleece? [I don't have sheep, but I have always been interested in making yarn from animal hair. Actually, I specifically would love to figure out how to do it using the undercoat soft hairs my double-coated dogs shed every year. It's beautiful creamy-colored and wooly but only about 2 to 3 inches long, tops.] But anyway ... I would love to see the entire process of washing, carding and spinning wool and I imagine others here would too. Have you considered making a video of the process?
 
Eric Crouse
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There are 150,000 ways of washing wool.  Some like to use a Suint mix, which is where the fleece is left to sit in rainwater for a week and it begins to ferment.   Some people like to use Dawn Dishsoap. some like to use a product called Power Scour, and so forth and so on.  I will say that you should not use washing soda on a fleece as it will destroy the wool.  

Myself however, I like to take the fleece put it into a mesh laundry bag from Walmart,   rinse the fleece in hot water to knock of the loose dirt, then I do about 4-6 tablespoons of Borax and the same amount of shredded bar soap for every 1.5 lbs.  mix it thoroughly so everything is homogenized.  let it sit for about 20 minutes in hot water, and then gently squeeze everything out being careful not to agitate it so you don't felt it.  Fill the tub with hot water again and rinse, and then repeat until the water is clear.  After I let it sit for a couple of days to fully dry, I'm ready to start carding/ combing and spinning.




 
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