I'm spinning a Shetland fleece which is very greasy. I've soaked it in rain water, I've soaked it soap flakes, I used washing soda and even tried soaking it in washing up liquid. A lot of the grease has gone but its still sticky to the touch when dried. Any suggestions?
Is your water hot enough? I have had a lot more success removing grease since I started using a cooking thermometer to make sure my water is 125 degrees F. My hot water heater isn't set that high so I add boiled water to bring up the temperature. By using the thermometer I can make sure the water is the same temperature between rinses, too, so I haven't had any felting.
Dear Jane, my company scours huge volumes of wool and we actually buy the vast majority of fleeces grown in the Shetland Islands.
I have also washed many individual fleeces by hand - we do it in the office to see what the colour will look like after scouring (commercial washing).
I find thta you just have to repeat the process - soap and rinse and soap and rinse and after a few of those the grease will be removed and when dry the clean wool will smell fresh and will not be sticky. We have 8 water bowls in our commercial scouring plant, each immersion cleans the wool that little bit more than the previous one.
We also have a combing plant and many spinners prefer to spin from combed top. If you need some please let me know.
Best of luck.
Curtis Wool Direct Ltd and also of Jamieson and Smith Shetland Woolbrokers Ltd
Thank you. I've had another go with my latest skeins, using hotter water than before and keeping at it the results and much better. I have soft yarn instead of stiff and greasy. It is lovely to spin though!
Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex visited our wool scouring and combing plants earlier today. She also met Kate Davies the famous designer / knitter who specialises in knitting Real Shetland wool yarns from our company Jamieson and Smith Shetland Woolbrokers. They have just introduced a new yarn, The Real Shetland Heritage Collection, which is causing quite a stir in knitting circles.
Her Royal Highness used to knit herself, we hope she will take it up again soon.
Just for information please look at www.jamiesonandsmith.co.uk and also www.realshetland.com and you will see we are trying to help the 800 or so crofter sheep farmers achieve better returns for their wool.
You might want to try Unicorn Power Scour on your next fleece. It works at slightly lower temperatures and makes washing a whole lot easier.
You can take the help of detergents also if it is very greasy. Rain water is the purest form of water so it can work even better. Spinning yarn can also be taken into account with the help of washing soda.
That is very true, IWilson! Using a thermometer takes the guess work out. Also, soak the wool in hot water first (about 110f) for
10 minutes or so, then putting it in very hot water (about 120f or 125f) with soap dissolved in it. Don't let it cool before you are pretty sure the grease is out, it is harder to get out if re-coagulates on the fleece. Pre-soaking the wool softens the grease and makes it easier to get out.