Washing Wool and Farm Fest Preparations

Music for the farm fest and a woolly summer evening


Liz's wool yarn that she spun back in the day! 


Another beautiful day on the farm!  Today our daughter came out to help process a fleece for our fiber demonstration at the Greenbrier Valley Pasture Network Farm Fest this coming Saturday.    If you're in town stop on by!  John, Liz and Annie will be playing some music, and we'll have a table set up with a spinning demonstration, some raw fleeces, and (MAYBE! if its ready in time) some fresh lamb back from Allegheny Meats!   


Washing a raw fleece:

We actually had our camera out today so here is a little overview of how to wash a raw fleece(unwashed) in preparation for spinning or other wool crafts.

First, we pulled out one of our new fleeces from this year's shearing.   Annie and John sorted the nicest and highest quality ones out a few weeks ago.

This fleece was small so we were able to wash it all at once- for larger fleeces you want to split it in half so you don't have too much wool all at once!

Fleece before washing (also known as "fleece in the grease" or a "raw fleece"

Next, we filled a tub with warm (not hot!) water and some soap to wash the fleece. Its important to be very gentle in the washing process!


Fleece about to go in the water

You put the fleece in and very gently push down on it so that the water passes through the fibers.   This is a part where you want to be careful not to agitate the fleece too much! Otherwise you could end up with felted bits of fleece instead! As much as possible you want the fleece to avoid sudden temperature changes since that can cause felting to occur as well.

Let the fleece soak in the warm water for a while (until the water cools down) and then get another tub ready for the first rinse!

After the fleece and water have cooled, slowly raise it up, let it drain, and place it into a tub with clean water(room temperature or cool) to rinse.   

In the clean water, slowly press on the fleece so the water passes through like you did the first time around.

Then, after your first rinsing, fill your other tub up again with clean water.  Try to make the water temp. as close to the same temperature of the water the fleece is leaving as you can (to avoid the sudden temperature change).

Do your last rinse, drain, and find a place to let your fleece dry! 

Look how white it is compared to before washing! (photo near the top)

Look how white it is compared to before washing! (photo near the top)


When your fleeces dry you want to lay them on a sweater net, or a towel or something so they don't fall through! We improvised tonight with towels and clothing racks...worked out well!


Fleece drying


After the fleece was washed we had a little time for some music practice!  John, Liz and Annie are all playing  on Saturday Sept. 6th for the GVPN Farm Fest in Lewisburg and we've been having a great time getting ready.   Hope to see you there!

-Mountain Meadows Farm

John tuning the hammered dulcimers in the yard

John tuning the hammered dulcimers in the yard