Fleece phobic

[Note: this post is sans photos because I am at work.  It will be updated tonight to include pictures.]

Yeah, well, fleece.  It’s like this.  I love to spin from sliver or combed tops.  I…(hate is too strong a word)…dislike spinning from carded rolags.  I own a set of carders.  I do not own a set of combs.  This is insanity.

Yes, I freely admit that it’s stupid to have the tools for the prep I don’t like, and it’s equally stupid to not have the tools for the prep I do like.  Stupid all round.  However it isn’t such a big deal when you stick to buying prepared fibre.  In fact, it hasn’t mattered at all.  Until now.

I scored some Suri alpaca fleece.  White and ‘clean’, but straight from the beast.  Unprepared in any way.  I say ‘clean’ because I assume that means ‘relatively free from vm’ because it certainly doesn’t mean ‘free from dirt’.  The white fleece was kind of brown.  Dirty brown.

Now I have two sheep fleeces, a lovely creamy coloured fleece and a gorgeous dark-brown-nearly-black fleece that are truly beautiful.  And I haven’t touched them because of my fleece phobia.  They’re sitting there because I don’t want to ruin them.  But this alpaca…I figured that I had better get a move on and try and clean it so that I could get the weight of it off my conscience and maybe even work out how to deal with my lovely fleeces (without ruining them).

So I put some warm water and a generous spoodge of dish washing liquid into the bath.  I soaked some locks.  I took them out and let them dry.

They weren’t white.  Well, bits were white.  The tips were more of a latte colour.  But that was okay.  I didn’t mind the latte colour, it fitted in with the other colours in the project (socks for my dad).  I did decide that before I went ahead and washed the rest, I’d just see how this little bit spun up.

The latte bit wasn’t colour.  It was dirt.  And although I tried to tell myself that I could try and wash that out after I’d spun and plied it – I knew it wasn’t going to work.  I don’t like touching paper because it makes my hands feel dirty.  I couldn’t cope with dirtdirt.

Back to the bath tub.  This time we tried wool wash.  More locks.  The result was improved, not not good enough.  Nowhere near.  On closer inspection, it seemed that one end of the lock would float on the surface of the water, and that was the bit that was staying dirty.

This morning, before work, I put all of it into a hosiery bag and dumped it in a bucket of water + wool wash. 

Will the alpaca retain its lock structure?  Will carding be the only way?  Will it be a useless (but white) felted mess?  Stay tuned for the update!

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~ by dreadlordvellan on February 11, 2008.

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