The Knit Knack's Blog

Better living through fibre

On Smelling up a House

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Colour me happy!  For starters, I am happy that Joyja could not stand the sight of her ½ fleece of a champion Romney ram a second longer:)  We met up at LYS, Spun on Saturday morning.  Joyja was so excellent.  Right there in the parking lot, she gave me the 411 on ‘scouring’ wool.  That term is a total misnomer by the way.  Agitation of wool in hot water = felt.  There is no “scouring” per se.  Repeated dunking & soaking with patience & respect.  My crash course was even better because the lot has 1 big bag of it in the raw; a medium bag of it clean; and a small zip-lock of it carded.  She could show me what each step gets you.   The highlights are:  a)  the fleece smells well “high” – might want vicks to get you through, b) use blue Dawn as the soap, & c) scour first; spin later – fleece spoils.

Joyja was so excellent that she also showed me Spun’s wheel that rents for $20/hr, and offered hers for my spinning pleasure as well!  Thanks so much!  IMHO, knitters are at their best when helping other knitters:)

I have totally personified the fleece.  He has locks, hence his name is Peter Tosh:

One of many raw wool locks

Bunch of raw, very woolen locks

The geekiness knows no end… a lock from tip to cut-end is the staple.

Its a staple, folks - in the raw

It's a staple, folks - in the raw

Six pounds of staples is A LOT!  This is Joyja’s cleaned wool:

And the springy goodness of the carded stuff:

As soon as I walked the bags in, Toby set to sniffing at it.  Very businesslike & thorough & adorable!  DH?  Not so much!

There are no 2 ways about this… Peter Tosh The Fleece stinks to high heaven.  My approach?

Starfish Oil & Diffuser - Lemongrass & Rosemary over sheep

Starfish Oil & Diffuser - Rosemary & (better yet) Lemongrass over sheep

I also set up shop in the most ventilated room – our kitchen.  Close to the stove, a ceiling fan & a sliding door.  All of which only served to mask the Essence de Ram.  Yes, it smells.  But.  It smells like something I want to own:  a living, kicking sheep!  DH was not quite so sanguine.  By about batch 1 ½ he was crying mercy…

Although I am in the kitchen, I wasn’t about to use the sink directly.  Luckily, my pails fit in the sink.  I dump the lanolin/dirty water in the back garden.  The rinse water’s either for my compost bin or the drain.  Here’s a pail in action:

The stick is a skewer that I am using to tease out trash (with utmost respect) & plunge the wool.  I mix hot pipe water, blue Dawn & boiling water in the pail & then add the wool.  It’s taking 3 washes & 2 rinses.  The last rinse is with some vinegar.

Honestly, I have not had this much fun in years.  In between cleaning/ rinsing batches, I looked into the world of drop spindles.  You pull the wool into strands & the spindle twists it into yarn.  It spins like a top in mid-air.  Long have I coveted one.  Thanks again to Ravelry, I worked out that a Stephen Kundert spindle would be a good place to start.  I chose his red cedar over cherry whorl:

DH is quite possibly as excited to get this as I am.  It tickles his “How It’s Made” fancy you see.  May even give us a few laughs by trying it himself!  Believe you me, the knitting never got this much interest!

The results of yesterday’s work… 2 batches, smelling up the house:

Batch 1, drying

I’ve completed batch 3 & 4 is now rinsing.  Make wool cleaner while the sun shines… and DH is at work!  So far, batch 2 has the most varied colour.  There’s a shock of white in thar fleece!

I am on the last leg of the Hottie Hottie top & have more new stash to boast about – do that another time.  Walk good!

Author: iriegemini

Lara is originally from Jamaica, living in the Greater Toronto Area with N, and a cat, Melvin. She knits, spins, weaves, and is a chatterbox on all of the above. Lara's journey began as a young girl with her Grandmother's cross-stitch embroidery stash & blessing.

3 thoughts on “On Smelling up a House

  1. oh – it looks like you are having an awesome time! Better you than me! LOL

    I can’t wait to see what you will do with it. You know, the Royal Winter Fair will be at the Exhibition Place in November and you can even go to the fleece auction! Oh, the door that you had just opened for yourself LOL

    • Lol! DH is way ahead of me – he has said there will be NO wool scouring in the Wintertime! I really am enjoying myself & if I can grasp spinning who knows?!?!

  2. Pingback: 10 years building a life | The Knit Knack's Blog

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