Thursday, May 29, 2008

Been busy cleaning fleeces

Well it's been awhile but lots of catching up to do.

Here in Israel wool is not as popular as in colder climates and all around the US. Meaning there isn't a huge fiber arts movement and we have maybe once a year a fiber fest. So that being said what do the farmers and Bedouins do with all that wool from their flocks after shearing time? Well, the good news for me is that they throw it out! I was fortunate to learn this in the fall and inquired from some friends of mine and at the local zoo and made arrangements to get the spring shearing.

I got six bags altogether this year.

Two of the bags were Jacob fleece, this was a mix, naturally of black/brown and white fleece.

Two were Jacob- Merino cross and was almost entirely black and very soft.

The last two were Angora goat or Mohair. I think the mohair is adult but fine adult and I got one entire fleece.

Cleaning the fleeces is a smelly job but fun nonetheless. I make sure to use apple scented Palmolive dish soap because it's the best grease fighting soap agent we can get easily here. The mohair was particularly smelly and for some reason the sheep smell doesn't bother me as much as the goat. I can stand goat dairy products either because of the smell being too close to the taste. EESH!

I found much information on-line for cleaning fleeces and am very greatful for the internet for being such a great resource.

If anyone out there is looking for info about how to clean fleeces I have here a few resources;

Rexenne for one has really informative videos for fiber artists, spinners mostly she can be found on you tube and flickr.
Ronan fibers has alot of info about mohair and how to pick, skirt and clean a fleece.
And here are some general wool scouring directions. There are tons of places to find information on-line, my advice is to experement and see what works best for you in your set-up.
In the next post I will show some of the cleaned product and how I went about doing that.