Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Wash Fleece

Real fleece comes from sheep.  It does not come from Polartec.  That's plastic.  Real fleece is wool.  Wool is real.  Wool comes from sheep.  A fleece is all the sheared wool from one sheep.  Now that you know what fleece is you can lecture all your friends about it.   

Unless you want your sweater to smell like a sheep, the fleece must be washed.  Sheep really don't smell bad, they just smell like sheep.  The first step to washing a fleece is to fluff up the wool by separating the clumps of wool.  At the same time you remove any hay or dirt that may cling to the wool.  This is called skirting the fleece.  Here Marja is skirting the last of three fleeces.  The other two are in the white mesh laundry bags.

One tub of hot water + one cup of laundry detergent + one half cup of dish detergent.

Let the fleece soak for one hour.  We covered the washtubs with old sleeping bags to retain the heat.  Once in awhile press the fleece down into the water, but do not agitate it.  If you put a fleece in a washing machine it would come out as one dense piece of felt.

Take the fleece out and drain the water.  Fill the tub with hot water but no soap and put the fleece back in.

Let the fleece soak about 15 minutes, remove it, drain the water, refill with warm water and soak it once more.  Then remove it and squeeze out the water.

Lastly spread the wet fleece on your drying rack.  Repurposed lawn chairs work fine on a sunny warm day.

Separate the wool fibers well to facilitate drying.

At this point the wool is still wet, but there is no sheep smell left whatsoever.  All the oils have been removed.  In large processing plants, the lanolin is extracted for beauty products.  North sea fisherman have traditionally worn sweaters made of unwashed wool.  The oil in the wool make the sweaters water repellant.  Wool is real. Unlike synthetic fleece, wool doesn't stink when you sweat in it.  In any event, it is far better to smell like a sheep than sweaty polypro.

Gunnar's fleece.  Although the terms "fleeced" and "skinned"  are synonymous for being swindled, it is much better to be fleeced than skinned.  You can be fleeced many times and survive, but you can only be skinned once.


Light frost on the asparagus

Morning fog

Everybody looking well trimmed

The pumpkin man hawking his produce.  We sold around 60 pumpkins I think.

The birch tree outside our bedroom window.
We took advantage of unseasonably warm weather to paint the hayshed and the trim on our house. 

Jonathan and his shadow putting the final touches on the hayshed. 

Ilkka took advantage of the sunny weather too.

We planted all these tees as small saplings.