Fibre processing continues…

For those who are wondering… the nettle stems are back in the retting wheelbarrow for now. So I return to our regularly scheduled fibre–wool.

All I want to say about this last Polwarth fleece, with the prickly seedheads and the tips that were spiny and pulled off… is that I have reached the end of it.  Here it is–the last of it–!  It will be keeping toes warm for years to come once these slippers are felted. I do not need to spin more of it, ever.  The fleece from this sheep’s sibling, and fleece from this sheep in other years, are lovely, and I will return to those in time.


Next stop on the fibre processing journey is a Corriedale fleece one of my co-workers gave me (in 2011!! I wrote the date down).  I dyed some greasy a year or so ago and it came out badly.  I can be put off by experiences like that, which so often indicate the current limitations of my skills or patience, or both.  I put the Corriedale down and haven’t come back to it for at least a year.  It does have vegetable matter in it, but it is otherwise a lovely fleece.  I weighed the remainder and there was 2.3 kg still to wash.  It’s in a yellow plastic bag designed for a double bed feather quilt.


I sat a kilogramme of it to soak cold for a few days, because I’ve seen this suggested on Ravelry and it makes good sense as a first stage in getting mud, as well as grease, out of the fleece.  having tried it now, I would definitely use this process again.


This kilogramme is now clean and drying, and that leaves only 1.3kg of this fleece yet to be washed.  After that, only one more Polwarth fleece left to wash. I admit, a Polwarth is a mighty big sheep.  However, this is the closest I have been in years to having the fleece stash clean and ready to spin!


Filed under Fibre preparation, Knitting, Spinning

7 responses to “Fibre processing continues…

  1. Polwarth is such a lovely fiber. I’ve never washed one-or even seen one raw around here but if I do, it’s coming home with me.


  2. Pia

    I do the cold soak as well. I don’t get greasy enough fleeces to do a real FSM, but I can usually get away with just one soap and a few rinses after.


    • I’ve done the cold soak twice now, and I think it’s great. It also means the garden gets the benefit of the soak without detergent. I am not sure I have the stomach for fermented suint at this stage, but I sure have had greasy fleece enough to try it out! I usually do a couple of washes plus rinses, but I have had serious grease and serious dirt 🙂


  3. Jo powell

    Hi Mazz,
    Are you saying that you soak the fleece in just cold water? A revelation! I thought that you couldn’t get the lanolin out without hot water and detergent/soap. I need to get on to this – I have about 6 partial fleeces to wash.


    • Hi Jo, not at all! I share your understanding. I’m saying that I soak the fleece cold for a day or two or just overnight, prior to washing hot. It gets a lot of mud and… other things enjoyed by my garden out so the hot wash water isn’t full of all that and can do its job, and it loosens up the fibre a lot ready for washing (I have some that are matted with mud and sludge). So I found I got better results from such an easy no fuss first step. Seems to me you already have a method that works really well for you, but until I get a top loader–I am doing this in small batches! warmly, Mary


  4. Pingback: The never-ending parade of slippers | Local & Bespoke

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