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cleaning Raw fleece

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  • cleaning Raw fleece

    Not sure if this is the best subject to post my question under but can anyone tell me how easy it is to wash raw fleece to prepare for feltmaking? I might be able to get some alpaca fleece and have been reading up on processing it. It seems to be fairly straight forward but I am worried about getting the water too hot and felting the fleece or maybe not hot enough and not removing the lanolin - or do alpacas have lanolin?? I am guessing that this is not the best time of year to be shearing animals so I think I have a bit of time to do the research.

  • #2
    Not done alpacca before, but with sheeps fleece I use a washing liquid designed for clothes in warm water and wash it through a couple of times before wringing it out in a towel. and leaving in the sun to dry.
    full time mum and very very part time crafter.

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    • #3
      Woolite, and follow the instructions?
      Cheers,
      Scorch

      Scorch's Pyrography : www.scorchpyro.co.uk
      Crafts on Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanniso...7606138937826/

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      • #4
        Originally posted by beadsbydesign View Post
        Not done alpacca before, but with sheeps fleece I use a washing liquid designed for clothes in warm water and wash it through a couple of times before wringing it out in a towel. and leaving in the sun to dry.
        Do you wash it in the washing machine? I found a technique that used a salad spinner (!) and buckets that seemed handy enough. Not sure what hubby would think of me washing fleece in the washing machine or bath tub!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Scorch View Post
          Woolite, and follow the instructions?
          That might be a good soap to use. I haven't really thought about what type of soap is best.

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          • #6
            raw fleece

            I would look at it in person first, if you do not know the seller or cannot get references for their reputation, unless they are a regular fiber business, then it's probably on the up and up....but raw fleece can be nasty. If someone is advertising it now, maybe it has been sitting around since last summer. Sometimes field mice will nest in it. Picked, washed fleece will be kept away from where mice can get in it. Ask how old it is.

            Ask if it has been washed and picked to any degree at all. Remember, animals lie down in dirt and manure. And here in Texas, there is usually a LOT of animal sweat in the fleece!

            If the animals are in a pasture that is very clear and clean, their fleece should be fairly clear of debris, but if they roam around and get into "picky" brush and burrs, then cleaning raw fleece can be very unpleasant.

            And, no washing machine...not even on gentle.

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            • #7
              http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/washing-fleece.shtml
              ElaineJ soap and other stuff
              website
              blog

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              • #8
                Thanks Grammie! The fleece that I hope to get is from a colleague's brother and I presume he won't charge me. I don't think the alpacas will be sheared for a few months - it is supposed to snow again tonight!

                Love your goat!

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                • #9
                  Thanks, Elaine - I think I will need to have a good long look at that site - lots of interesting stuff!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by diamond_skies View Post
                    Thanks Grammie! The fleece that I hope to get is from a colleague's brother and I presume he won't charge me. I don't think the alpacas will be sheared for a few months - it is supposed to snow again tonight!

                    Love your goat!
                    That sounds like a great deal, then - lucky you! Alpaca is so nice.

                    I used to have two Debouillet sheep and a few angora goats...I was going to shear them and clean the fiber and spin it, and knit a poncho - start to finish. Hand shearing almost killed me...back breaking, even when done in "installations!" But the cleaning - UGH! SO much manure, dirt, sticks, burrs, even a few rocks!

                    Have you ever heard of a children's book called Miss Jaster's Garden? She accidentally sprinkles a hedgehog with seeds while he's in her garden bed, and he grows flowers...well, my sheep and goats were growing things, too!!! I think it was oats....I could not beieve my eyes!

                    My talented nephew in Philadelphia made the goat logo for me from a picture of one of my dairy goats - "Daisy." He did a good job!

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                    • #11
                      LOL - I can just see those goats and sheep walking around with oats growing out of them! A bit like one of those funny heads that you water and it grows grass hair. This could solve the world food crisis - grow vegetables on sheep!

                      I am thinking that cleaning fleece might be really time consuming but I would like to have a go just once. On the site Elaine recommended it states that alpaca fleece does not need to be cleaned. I think I will clean it!

                      Your nephew is very talented indeed.

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                      • #12
                        raw fleece

                        Well, many fiber raisers do put "coats' on their animals to keep the fleece free of debris - and maybe since you're in a cooler clime, your friend has done that - my animals would have dropped dead of heat exhaustion if I had put even net type coats on them, poor things. And I imagine beautiful green pastures in Ireland...soft and mossy...and clean.

                        Even though there were no burr type things growing in the lot where I had my fiber animals, there were a lot of hay bits, and either uneaten and/or "discharged" oats (pre-fertilized?) lying around. And of course, the ubiquitous manure.

                        I have to tell you something funny - though a tad gross - one of my cashgoras had twins, and their favorite activity was to hop up on the two sheep and ride around! The sheep seemed to enjoy the company! But the kids would, sadly, potty on the sheep. Most uncivilized.

                        Yes, i thought that it was great that they were growing their own oats - or at least, some for the kids! I wish I could get our dogs to get jobs...but they do work for their keep, sort of...they run off the coyotes and the deer, who think I plant my garden just for them!

                        So back to felting - there was a woman in Scotland who made the most beautiful "paintings" simply out of felt! Cannot remember her name or find her on the internet now...but my gosh, her art was breathtaking!

                        What are your felt plans? A felted hat? Felted embellishments for some other item? Or a cell phone cover? Oh that reminds me...someone was talking about felted soap the other day here...I'm scared to say anything for fear of offending someone, but felted soap ni my experience is not so great a thing. The felt on the soap gets gross with soap after a while...and is rather unpleasant to look at or feel - but that's just me...it might not bother anyone else. Also, it might not do this for anyone else but me...

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                        • #13
                          So back to felting - there was a woman in Scotland who made the most beautiful "paintings" simply out of felt! Cannot remember her name or find her on the internet now...but my gosh, her art was breathtaking!
                          Could be Andrea Hunter, Focus on Felt, in the north of England; her felt pictures are fantastic pieces of work.
                          ElaineJ soap and other stuff
                          website
                          blog

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                          • #14
                            felt art

                            Those are incredible! The name doesn't ring a bell, and i remember lots of landscapes - and very colorful "paintings." But maybe this is not all of her work...the sheep look familiar....

                            Gosh, what talent.

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                            • #15
                              felt art

                              There are some really cute "felt tapestries" at Flickr but I can't post urls yet...maybe I can post part of it...

                              photos/nushkie/set

                              They're just as cute as can be. I think I will try something like that - do a goat in a pasture ... and a Great Pyr....

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