In my previous post I showed you how I initially prepped a small batch of my CVM/Merino fleece. Now, I will walk you through the next steps I did in processing my wool. I am still a newbie at all this, so some steps I may adjust in the future, depending on what wool I am working on, what I want to achieve or create, and how much wool I want to work on at a time.
Now. It’s Power Scour time.
My supplies for fleece scouring:
- Bottle of Unicorn Power Scour
- Plastic bucket
- Ready-to-go fleece in their little lingerie baggies
- Tea kettle to heat up water
- And even the kitchen sink
First thing, I put a tiny amount of Power Scour in the bucket. It’s strong stuff, so it doesn’t take much.
Next, I filled up my bucket about half-way with the hottest water from the tap, and then I poured in most of a kettle full of boiled water. The optimum temperature is between 140-160 degrees to melt the lanolin off wool. The water from the tap doesn’t get that hot for safety reasons, so that’s why I added the boiled water to increase the temperature.
Next, in goes the wool. I used tongs to gently submerge the lingerie bags with very little movement. Less agitation the better to prevent felting.
I set my timer for about 30 minutes. I ate lunch and took down our Christmas decorations in the living room while I waited. (Yes, I know it’s mid-January. Don’t judge.)
When the timer went off, I checked the wool’s progress. I decided it still needed more time, so I boiled the kettle again and added a little more hot water to prevent the water temperature from going down too much. If the temperature drops, the lanolin could melt and then congeal again and not come off the wool all the way.
Next time I do this, I am going to make sure I have a thermometer, like a candy thermometer, so I can get an accurate measurement. That way I’ll know how often or how much hot water to add over the course of the soaking.
After another 30 minutes, I laid out my towels and used the tongs to fish out each bag.
I rolled each bag of wool in it’s own towel, making sheepy burritos.
Again, I used very little movement with the wool. No wringing or twisting. I have read that you want to avoid the urge to move it around or pick it apart.
To squeeze out the water, I placed the towel burritos on the floor and lightly walked on them.
Note to self: Don’t use socked feet next time, because socks will get soggy.
Finally, I unrolled the wool and placed them on my drying rack. You can get these sweater drying racks for really cheap at stores like Joann’s Fabrics or Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Just look at that, even while it’s still wet, you can tell how much whiter the wool is!
It’s a lot smaller, too. Apparently there is always a pretty good percentage of volume lost from the fleece after scouring. All that oil and grit has been soaked away.
With this breed, going by the info in The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, I probably lost about 40%-60%. Crazy, right?
And here is the dry wool. So FLUFFY!
I can’t wait to get spinning! More yarn-making updates soon.