I'm a writer, knitter, freelance editor, and independent publisher. This blog is an older one that I no longer update; please visit http://independentstitch.com for all updated information!

Deb Robson and Tussah

Tip jar

for the sheep!

Tip Jar

« Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore | Main | One way to wash fleeces, part 2, the wet work »

July 27, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Great opener to a fascinating process. I use the bowl and colander method but will be hunting down some sifting cat boxes to use in future! Terrific idea. Thanks! (Really looking forward to the next parts. :) )

Susan J. Tweit

Wow! I had no idea how much work was involved, or the care needed to keep the wool from felting. I love your creative solution with the cat litter boxes--great idea! I'm looking forward to the next parts too, to learn more about a process I had no idea I knew so little about.

Virginia McKenna

I was recently given a portion of a Columbia fleece. I was told it was washed but it still smells and seems to be greasy. It also is full of vegetable matter. This comes at a perfect time for me as this will be my first fleece to clean and spin.

Deb Robson

Virginia, after I got Power Scour I ended up re-washing some fibers Id previously processed with hand-dishwashing detergent (my former go-to method) because I liked the results enough better. This was when I was in the middle of work for The Fleece Fiber Sourcebook and didnt have extra time to spend: but I thought it would be worth doing, and it was. I didnt re-wash everything; just the fibers where I thought my enjoyment and spinning would be improved enough to warrant the time and effort. Because the wools had not originally been entirely cleaned (i.e., the grease had not been taken off--it wasnt redeposited), the results were rewarding.

The dissolve/redeposit issue is mostly a potentially serious problem with very fine wools.

Columbia is likely to be full of vegetable matter! Its a range breed, grown for a combination of wool that is generally processed industrially (where treatments with acid and heat and rollers break down the plant material into tiny bits that then fall out) and for meat. And its a lovely wool to handspin. Picking (after the wool is clean) will help with some of the vegetable matter. Sometimes if a fleece is really full of it, Ill comb it--even when I plan to card later and spin woolen-style. Vegetable matter tends to be eliminated by combing more than by carding.

One step at a time, and evaluate at each stage. Also . . . try things! Sampling can be really instructive.

Virginia McKenna

Deb, thanks so much for the additional information about Columbia fleece. I just recently purchased your Fleece and Fiber book, which is fabulous; full of information. Ive also recently acquired a set on small combs, prior I was trying to use dog combs. I just ordered a 4oz bottle of Power Scour from Unicorn Fiber this evening. So I should be ready to process my first fleece, something new to learn.

Thanks again for your advice.

Deb Robson

Youre all ready, Virginia! Four ounces of Power Scour will clean a lot of fiber. Dog combs are a great way to find out whether you like the basic idea of combing, and the real thing is faster and easier to use. Thanks for your good words about Fleece Fiber. It was the book I wanted to have on the shelf, and I sure waited a long time for somebody else to do it, and they didnt, quite, so. . . . Well, Im glad to have it to use, and it makes me happy to hear that you like it.

Adrienne Williams

this is a great help, I've got 2 fleeces waiting to be washed, must read the next 2 installments.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Networked blogs