So last weekend, I got together with some spinning friends to start a study group about (what else) spinning. I have the outline and am planning on posting it just in case anyone wants to play along at home. We haven't had an official meeting yet, but we did decide on some of the guidelines. We are all starting with a pound of unwashed wool (any type). We'll be spinning woolen and we are to keep a record of whatever we do to the wool (washing/carding/type of wheel, etc). I dug around in my stash and came up with some unwashed Merino. Here is what a pound looks like:
I must admit, it's pretty disgusting. I was worried about using merino because I've heard so many horror stories about not getting it clean the first go round and having it seize up after the wax and grease re-harden on it. I decided to give it a go anyway. Here's my pile of clean wool:
I figured I should start with boiling (or near boiling) water to make sure to get the most grease and wax out on the first wash. So, I boiled water on the stove in my biggest pot and poured it into the stopped up sink**, dribbled in a bunch of dish soap (Ivory), wisked the soap around and gently lowered a colander full of dirty wool into the sink. I let that sit for about 40 minutes - the water was still so hot it hurt my hand to reach in and unstop the sink. Poured in another pot of boiling water and lowered the colander again. Then I rinsed 2 more times (for 15 minutes each) in the hottest water I could get from my tap.
It took me 2 days to get those 8 batches done (the batch in the upper left corner was one I did with Mr. Clean to see if that would work - it did, but left a nasty smell on the wool, so I decided against that). I'm waiting for them to dry completely so I can weigh them again to see how much I lost in grease. I'll post the group's outline tomorrow. Come on Amy, you know you wanna...
**Just an aside, if you're going to use boiling water for a project, it's not a good idea to pour it into a stopped up sink and let it sit for 40 minutes at a time. The plumber's putty that seals the drain basket melts in boiling water, leaving you with sheepy smelling, dirty water in the cupboard under your sink. Hub suggests you use a bucket to hold the boiling water.