Last week, the fleece bug hit me as randomly as it did when I bought and hid a five pound Romney fleece in my house after Rhinebeck 2011.
Yes. 2011, people. It was smallish and cleanish and smelled innocent enough. At the time I had no idea what to do with it, but nevertheless, home it came. All this time I'd stored it in a ziploc bag inside of a plastic storage chest. Unfortunately for it, the lanolin melted and stained what was a mostly white fleece.
Fast forward to a week ago where the impulse struck to rescue the parcel and there began a stealth mission to wash and hand process this fleece into yarn. The first bit to be processed was about 3-4 ounces.
The fleece was all rolled and squashed. I have no idea what section I grabbed first, but the locks were about 4 to 4.5 inches long.
So much information is available on how to wash and process fleece. Spin Off magazine, YouTube and Interweave videos, blogs and several books provide whatever you'll need to know.
My most recent research was with the dvd, Three Bags Full with Judith MacKenzie. It gave me the confidence to test my fleece to see if it was even salvageable. Once I did the snap test and found the fiber to be sound, I set to work in lightening clandestine fashion.
Like most, I used mesh bags to soak what I'd torn off from the sort of matted mass.
Two soaks in super hot water with Power Scour and a couple of rinses later, the water ran clear.
I was so glad that there was virtually no vegetable matter and no poop at all to deal with. In fact, the fleece never stunk, wet or dry. How lucky! Hope it's not the exception.
The bags dried in the sun spread out on a sweater drying rack.
It appeared that one bag was super white, the other stained by the sitting lanolin. Drat!
It was my fault for letting them sit for so long in storage. Oh, well. At least I relearned how to use my hand cards and combs. Not expertly, but enough to make a little yarn.
This whole day session was a such an invigorating learning experience. I'm obsessed!