View Full Version : cleaning wool

May 25th, 2009, 08:26 PM
We are having our sheep sheared and I would like to know how to clean the wool....my sister is a weaver....has my grandmothers old spinning wheel and wants to make her own wool.....any help appreciated...........

May 26th, 2009, 12:28 PM
Very carefully!!!
Never agitate it even a tiny bit.
Never have water running with the wool in the sink or tub.
Never use hot water or change the water temperature between washing and rinsing.

The easiest way is to use a mess bag and place some wool in there.
Fill a sink or the tub of a washing machine wish warm soapy water. I use cheap shampoo.
Gently place the wool in the water after the tub is full and let it soak for hours.
Take the bag out and let it drain on a dish wrack or screening.
Fill tub with the same temperature of clear water.
Place wool in it and let it soak.
Drain again and repeat to get most of the soap out.
You can use the spin cycle of the washing machine to drain your bag of wool. Keep the wool in the bag.
After rinsing take the wool out of the bag and gently place of screening, not metal screening as it will rust, or on some other draining medium and let dry.

After the wool is dry, spin it and ply it. When all done, wash the skein again to set the twist and get any final lanolin and/or dirt out.

Wool when washed felts real easy and that can ruin your wool for spinning. You have to be really gentle and try not t move the wool around when its wet. You cant use hot water as that makes felting almost an instant event.
Temperature change and movement both cause wool to felt.
Wool has tiny bars on the fibers and washing it causes the barbs to lift. Then the barbs inter-tangle with each other causing the felting to happen.

You can card it and spin it without washing it first. I do that most often. I only wash really dirty wool before spinning it.
I hand card so lanolin isnt a problem on my carders as its easier to wash the lanolin out of them that trying to wash it out of the wool without the wool felting.

Once the wool is spun, its easy to wash out the lanolin.
I have a wrack, homemade, I wrap my skein on to and agitate the whole thing in a tub of hot soapy water.
The yarn gets clean, the twist gets set and no worry about felting.

May 26th, 2009, 08:08 PM
thanks you are a sweet heart....alot of don'ts...good ;thing I asked before I started making a huge mess..thanks for taking the time to type that all out Shanti....:uhhuhuh:

May 27th, 2009, 06:00 AM
I knew Shanti could/would tell you!:)