Hi again and hope I am posting in the right place ?
In my eagerness to make a start I placed an order direct to a farm, so somewhere in Scotland their is now 5 ews running around with my name on there fleeces, waiting to be sheared sometime in may. But when I get the fleeces they will be raw and dirty. And I don't know how to clean them. I have watched a few YouTube videos on the subject, but the people all seem to use a top loading washing machine, and I don't have one of these, just a front loading automatic. I don't really fancy washing dirty smelly fleeces in my domestic washing machine. And if I did wouldn't it felt naturally in the wash cycle ? Plus on the videos they all seem to live in the states so Iam not familiar with the cleaning soaps they use, will iI have to use specialist fleece cleaning fluid or powder And if so what is it called here in the UK ?
Thanks in advance if someone can point me in the right direction,
I think they will be raw unwashed fleeces when you get them. No need to panic. you do not need a washing machine at all. I never use mine. All people are doing with the machine is using it as a big bucket. It is nice to be able to spin the water out but you never want to agitate the wet fleece. You don't need to wash the whole fleece at once. You can was it is small batches. put a small amount of wool into a net bag like you would wash delicates in. Fill your sink or a bucket with the hottest tap water you have and add some dish washing soap. slowly press the wool and gag into the water and let sit for 15 or 20 min. Lift the bag out and let it drain. While it's draining dump your dirty water. I put it on the garden when I can. It's full of good fertiliser. If the wool still looks really dirty do another soak in hot soapy water. if it seems clean fill the bucket with hot non soapy water. let it soak 15 min and them probably do it again. Always fill the bucket with the hottest water. You never want to take the temperature lower then the temperature of the water you took it out of. it is ok to go hotter. Just let it soak do not agitate it. It is tempting. in the mean time you may want to buy some wool that is already to use. Do you know what type of wool you ordered?
Hi and thank you shepherdess for your reply and advice, I did an internet search for fleece suppliers, and came across a directory that listed suppliers, type of fleece, and what it is best used for. I have ordered 5 full Jacob sheep fleeces. But not available until may. A friend is also giving me a fleece she uses for spinning and surplus to her requirements. I don't know what breed this will be from but again it will be dirty. Hopefully this weekend I can get to hobbycraft and buy some ready to use mareno ?? Roving ?? I think I have that right, and probably have a go at needle felting. But its wet felting I really want to be doing.
Yes roving or top. make sure its not supperwash and you will be able to use it for both needle and wet felting. merino is usually very fine and nice for wet felting. I like something a little courser for needle felting but merino is what I used when I started. If you are in England you can order form just around the corner at world of wool too. They have lots to choose from.
Thanks again shepherdess, yes I am in England and will take a look at world of wool. They may supply larger quantities than hobbicraft, you don't seem to get very much in the packets they sell, and I was planning on getting quite a few different colours to start me off.
Sounds like you've gotten good advice. I think world of wool will be much more economical than the hobby packs. There is lots of information on our blog, just click on the grey button at the bottom of any forum screen to go there. We have tutorials and if you put your key words that you want to know about in the search box, you can bring up other posts that might help you. 5 fleeces is a lot of wool - I have used up one fleece in about one year. But I don't make tons of stuff like Ann does. Have fun and just experiment, that's the easiest way to learn.
I also recommend world of wool over Hobbycraft, they offer "select your own mixed bags" of merino (I think it was 25g per colour and you need to order a minimum of 4). Their wool is generally good quality too, sometimes wool that has been sitting on the shelf for months or years will have started to felt in the bag making it difficult to lay out.
The botany lap waste is fun, it's like a woolly lucky dip and is great to play with but it is often difficult to tell what breed of sheep your samples have come from so you might get unexpected results.
Oh and beware of ebay - I'm not sure why but wool on there tends to be more expensive than World of Wool and it really is a lucky dip, sometimes what you get is closer to felt than roving and it's not always the breed the seller thinks it is!
Thank you all for being so helpful, I have taken a look at World of Wool and will be placing g an order soon when I'm in a position for it to be a substantial one. I have looked also at EBay but decided not to go that way until I have more knowledge, as I found it mind boggling. I probably will still nip to hobbycraft and get a couple of small packs because I am itching to have a go at probably needle felting and £1.90 or so isn't too bad if I mess up. I don't know if anyone is familiar with a shop called The Range, they have a great craft department and often cheaper than hobbycraft, so will check if they also stock roving. I have taken a look at a lot of the topics on the forum, also read quite a few of the blogs and finding it all very helpful and interesting. And all the work I have seen is very inspireing, you are all very talented. And Teri I am in the Norh west of England in Lancashire not far from Manchester.
I'd definitely agree with World of Wool, Far cheaper than Hobby Craft. So cheap in fact it's cheaper to get the train to Huddersfield, and buy your wool in person than going to Hobby Craft. But their postage is good.
Have a look at their natural wools, like Ann said, coarser wools are better for needle felting, World of Wool do some washed (sometimes called scoured) wools which are good for needle felting, very cheap, they can be teased apart, but need carding really. Their natural wool tops can be pulled off and 'messed up' for needle felting, Merino isn't easy to needlefelt really.
Also, English 56s is a blend which is very cheap, good for needling and good for felting, especially if you want to practise with a cheaper wool.
I hadnt realised world of wool was an actual factory you could visit, I have just done a Google maps search and its only 36 miles away from me. I am pos going to Leeds one day next week so may do a bit of a de tour and pay them a visit.