draught it is (and other follow-up stories)

Wool processing

The Lincoln Longwool locks are dry! What do you think, are they clean enough?

Lincoln Longwool fleece after washing

Lincoln Longwool fleece after washing

I’ve looked at and asked advice about methods to wash raw fleece: there seem to be a wealth of variations, some quite drastic – ranging from “wash in cold water” to “drop in piping hot water”, which leaves a beginner like me quite puzzled. I personally went for the cold-to-luke-warm option, paying attention to avoid any sudden temperature change that could felt the locks.

For those who have an interest in wool processing, I’m listing some more of the information I’ve come across (some of these came originally from Wovember’s discussion board on Raverly) and advice I have been given. I’ll leave the conclusions to you 🙂

  • Washing & storage advice provided by the fleece seller:

I recommend a very gentle soak (2-3 times) – I add liquid detergent for delicates and a little bit of washing soda into my basin – and of course it is important not to agitate and not to give it sudden change of temperature. It is important to make sure it is rinsed well and hasn’t got any soap left in it – otherwise some fleeces can become brittle in a few weeks. I have tried different products to wash the wool – and I found that detergent for wool/delicate fabrics works best – you can also use usual washing-up liquid. Never use biological detergents – they damage wool, fiber and silk. If you want to preserve the shape of Lincoln locks, the best thing to do is tie them up at the tips with a rubber band and then put in the warm water with detergent – for a couple of hours, you can leave them there for the night, then change water a few times; without moving locks – this way they won’t felt. If you have a plastic basket with holes, you can put them in the basket and then in basin with water – then you just take basket out and let them drain, and put it in new water. I don’t use very hot water for washing wool as it may felt – happened to me before – just normal hand-washing temperature. To store: it needs to be wrapped in a newspaper or -best- in a fabric bag (e.g. pillowcase), and have some ventilation (no tightly closed box).

Draught stoppers

Autumn has set in with its windy rainy days and the flat started featuring unwelcome draught again. I remember mumbling about draught (draft) stopper patterns a while back – perhaps it’s time to put my plans into practice?

For easy care it will be done in a machine washable yarn. I think I gave up the fancy for a snake theme, it’ll be either one of the free patterns from my old post, a simple striped thing or a mono-colour with stitch decoration (got the inspiration today while reading about Ganseys).

Elder Father knee caps

Little progress on the knee caps, with stitch-dropping seriously hindering my work. I’m going to move it from DPNS (too short) to a mini-circular (30 or 40 cm?) and that should solve the issue. More pics later…


Vintage spinning wheel

Thanks to the Antique Spinning Wheels group on Ravelry, I found out that the type of wheel I received from my Austrian friend is also seen sometimes sold here in the UK (probably imported from the continent), but – important – it comes in two sorts: the decorative and the functional. The former may be a working wheel but more usually it is not; the latter is a normal working wheel. Apparently mine is of the working type (phew!) and is vintage (40-99 years ), not antique (100+). The investigation continues…

16 thoughts on “draught it is (and other follow-up stories)

  1. Forest So Green says:

    Wow, the fleece looks very white and clean. I like the vintage spinning wheel, Annie

  2. Flora Poste says:

    That fleece looks as soft and clean Santa’s beard!
    My next project is going to be a draught stopper too.I was looking at your link but now the new Mollie Makes Woodland Friends as a fox pattern!!! Just a few more days and it will arrive at my doorstep..my ears are flapping with excitement…causing more draught ;0) I hope by then to have finished the crochet cushion. All good stuff on either side of the pond!

    • itwasjudith says:

      Wow, a fox draft stopper!! That’ll be very nice 🙂 I can picture the ears flapping, reminds me of Dumbo!
      Today I put together a few ideas for the stoppers to make and dug out some yarn…
      Look forward to see the cushion pics 🙂
      Have a good night

  3. kiwiyarns says:

    That is quite a difference between the unwashed and washed locks!!

  4. vuchickens says:

    They look clean to me. But I know nothing. They are very pretty, regardless. 🙂

  5. ilikecolours says:

    I’m honoured to be ‘linked to’ on your blog hehe thankyou 🙂 Those locks look lush! I’m going to do a post on washing fleece in the near future to partner with my ‘Choosing Fleece…’ post (when time permits) – in particular on long locks, as I had half a fleece of Leicester Longwool which I’ve sorted and have nearly finished washing – the locks look very similar to your ones here (creamy tips and all) and could possibly be washed in the same way. I like your colander idea! Your vintage spinning wheel is possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Mine’s second hand but really quite big :s When you were separating your locks from your fleece, where they ‘stuck together’ or easy to tease out? Cos my fleece was er, let’s just say it needed ‘a lot of work’ hehe.

    • itwasjudith says:

      Thank you for writing the helpful post! I came across it, I think via Wovember, and thought that it could have been interesting for other beginners like me 🙂
      The locks before washing were kind of sticky, I think it’s due to the lanolin. Also, when sold, it’s normally given inside plastic bags, and those are not good to store the fleece – plastic kind of suffocates them. So I opened the bag as soon as possible and let the wool breath. If the wool (yarn or fleece) becomes somewhat “hard”, I found it helpful to place it in the bathroom when having showers, because the steam helps it “relax”. I now store them in a cardboard box inside old pillow cases.
      In any case, the locks were not exactly clean, so it did take a while to remove the vm. The other Bowmont fleece I have looks even worse in parts… pre-soaking in cold water did help with removing the largest part of the crap 😉

      • ilikecolours says:

        Yeah it’s amazing how much dirt actually comes off it isn’t it? The Leicester Longwool fleece I got was from one of the ‘fleece car boot sellers’ at a fiber festival, and he gave it to me in a massive potato sack (a paper sack) which was good cos yeah like you say, they come in plastic bags which is not the best environment for raw (and somewhat compressed) fleece! I’ve not come across the ‘hardness’ you speak of regarding fleeces but your bathroom/condensation tip will come in handy if I do! I’m nearly finished washing this fleece, and I’ve tried washing it in 3 or 4 different ways i.e in laundry bags, out of the laundry bag, teased from the fleece, washing in small ‘packets’ and whatever else I could think of, as this longwool definitely needs more attention than bouncy, shorter stapled fleeces (well, for me anyway). So in short I found the best way to tackle this fleece was to tease all the locks individually from the main part of the fleece and to wash, all aligned, in a laundry bag, in small ‘portions’. Cos it tangles like a *bleep* otherwise! I hope to do a post on it soon.. Your locks look lovely and long – what are you planning to do with them? (Sorry if you’ve already said. I have the mind of a goldfish). I looked for the Wovember group on Ravelry – I think I found it.. I’ll have to have a read! 🙂

      • itwasjudith says:

        Thanks and don’t worry, my memory is not great either 😉 I don’t have plans for the wool yet, but I’m hoping sooner or later to learn to spin.
        I washed it similarly to what you describe as being the best method for your locks. It’s also what the seller suggested, and it seems to be a good way (although time-consuming).
        PS I think I developed somewhat of a fixation with sheep and handling the locks is quite a woolly experience 🙂

      • ilikecolours says:

        Haha! I actually laughed out loud when you said the bit about it being ‘a woolly experience’!! I too am in love with sheep – and the different ‘hairstyles’ they have 🙂 There’s something special about having it in unwashed lock form. I’m a total ‘curl nut’. I’ve been lock-spinning some of my locks and it’s a great way to spin and it ends up looking really ‘sheepy’! If you do learn to spin I think you’ll have a lot of fun. Eventually I want to try and spin all the different types of fleece out there. You know, to further the woolly experience 😀

  6. itwasjudith says:

    ha ha! while ago i started buying a lot of discontinued yarn, it’s called Loop the Loop and looks a bit like a sheep curly lock (and it’s almost pure wool)… locks and sheep hairstyles can become addictive 😉
    Last time I was near a sheep at a small fair, I couldn’t stop petting her… people must have thought i was nuts! LOL….

  7. […] draught it is (and other follow-up stories) (weestorybook.wordpress.com) […]

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