OK, so I had to wash some fleece last night. Not the Merino I just bought, some of the Rambouillet x Cormo fleece I bought a while ago. Why did I do this, you ask? Well, I rationalized it by saying that it's practice for washing the Merino. You see, I've never washed a finewool before, and I wanted to get the hang of it before opening up the (more expensive) Merino.
I've got to say, the Ramb x Cormo fleece is GORGEOUS! It was pretty before I washed it, but after washing, it turned snow white and soo soft. I wish I had a functional camera (grr) so I could show it in it's poufy white gloriousness. I'm dizzy with anticipation of spinning this.
The fleece is dense, crimpy, and lovely. I pulled the locks apart somewhat before washing, so that the water/soap would penetrate better and one wash would do it, and hopefully avoid felting from too much water time. I wish I could describe how the locks felt. They were dense like a really good cake is dense.
I did one load in the washing machine and one load in the dishpan. Both came out the same, but the washer holds more. And it's certainly easier to spin out the water than try to drain it in the sink and squeeze it out without handling it too much and felting it. Luckily, I think I avoided the whole felting demon. We'll see tonight when it's dry.
Wool-drying is about the only thing I'll miss about the house we're in now. Our propane heater is huge (way too big for the size of the house), and the top has a large surface area. Since the heat comes out the top, not the front, I can set up a clothes-drying rack on top of the heater and drape a piece of net over it to hold the fleece. The rack holds it far enough off the heater that it doesn't get too hot, but still dries quickly. We keep the heat low at night, so it wasn't quite dry this morning when I left, but almost.
The two loads I did last night are probably enough for half an adult sweater. They take up the entire drying area. And I only washed about one tenth of the fleece....... I'm going to be busy.
I need a drum carder.