Thursday, November 15, 2012

Washing a fleece using seed starting trays

This is the third method of washing locks that I am trying and I have to say that I am sold on this. I looked for trays with holes in the bottom and I guess they show up periodically at dollar stores or thrift stores. When I went looking for them over the summer, I didn't find any. I hit every dollar store around me and also the thrift store and failed. So I ended up buying these seed starting trays online. I had to buy a pack of 10, which was OK because they were approximately $1.00 each.

Plan A was to use the large foil pans (the ones that go in those wire chafing dishes) as I had done when I washed the previous lot of fiber. But, as they say, the best laid plans.... The trays were too big for the foil pans.
Plan B worked. The trays fit exactly into the tub in my laundry room. Of course, this means that draining is easy.
 These are the locks loaded into a tray. I only put one layer of locks in each tray because the trays are quite shallow. I think I could do two layers but they would take longer to dry. If I had a whole fleece, I might do that.

I am washing 3 trays of locks at a time to save on hot water. I start by putting in a couple of inches of hot tap water into the tub and soaking each tray for 15 mins. This is just to remove surface grime and wet the locks thoroughly. These locks are clean and the water is barely dirty after the first soak.
I use an empty tray to help keep the locks in order. When a tray with locks is put into or taken out of the water, the empty tray is nested into it and pressed down. This helps keep the wool underwater till it is saturated or helps squeeze water out of it as I remove the tray. It worked like a charm. Since the trays nest into each other closely, it is easy to do this.
 This is one tray soaking in a soapy bath. I washed these in Dawn dish detergent to remove the lanolin. For the wash and the rinse soaks, I added about 3 quarts of boiling water to the tub in addition to the hot tap water. I did this for each tray so the water remained hot. Each soak was 15 mins long.
 Wet locks after they come out of the wash. I stacked them on top of each other on top of an old towel so that they didn't drip all over everything. I rinsed them in hot water using the same process (boiling water + hot tap water for a 15 min soak).
 After all the washing and rinsing was over, I put the trays on my laundry drying rack over night. There is a heating vent just below the rack so they got plenty of air. They looked dry this morning.
 But just for safety's sake, I moved them up to an unused bedroom and stacked them up there. I will leave them to air and dry for a couple of days before I put them away. Another advantage of these trays is that they can be stacked on top of each other in very little space. They are also light.
As far as actually using the fiber, I am spindling away. This is more of the gradient being spindled. I also started spindling a Cormo top on my little Kuchulu. I am so not into knitting right now. I just want to spindle.


Stitchmistress said...

Bookmarking this post because I want to do this with my CVM fleece!

I am also addicted to spindling. Did a lot while I was away in Florida.

Thank you for letting me try your Kuchulu at the fiber retreat. I caught an update last week, and I'm in Loooove. Best. Enabling. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Love the fleece washing process, Jaya! Thanks!