Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Tunis in" for the next exciting episode of "Forays in Fleece Stashing"!

This is the last mild day before we are expected to get blasted with a deep freeze....well, as deep as it gets in Connecticut, these days....the weatherman is calling for temps to be in the 20's during the day---I do remember winter weather in the not-so-distant past, when weeks on end were typically low teens or single digits during the day and below zero nighttime temperatures.we had to move the goats into the heated garage at night! They had a hard time with that kind of cold, even with their beautiful new jackets. But global warming has changed our climate somewhat. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to wash up a sample of a beautiful Tunis fleece that has managed to escape the clutches of infestation, in storage in my basement for about 3 years, before we head out to enjoy the day. We "found it" , along with the yearling Romney fleece that I posted about recently, which did have bug infestation, but was salvageable. Usually best to clean fleece when you purchase it, so that you do not run into this problem. If you can store the fleece in an airtight covered container, with the air pressed out of it, you can buy plenty of time, as air is a cause of deterioration. So, as you can see below, the sample on the left is washed, the sample on the right is not. Quite a difference in brightness, there is just a bit of yolkiness to the unwashed wool, cause by a bacteria, actually. But, after a 10 minute soak in a bit of Dawn dish washing liquid and hot water, with only a gentle press or two to get the wash liquor flowing through it (followed by a rinse in hot water, also no agitation--otherwise it would have felted), it has cleaned up beautifully. I had read that detergent was okay to use ( I generally use Orvus WA Paste), and wanted to try it. The results are great. This Tunis fleece is very soft, fine, and springy. It has a lot of life in it. I think it would be a good fleece to make a sweater or hat from, as it will trap a lot of air in it, due to the springy nature of the fibers, and would spin up woolen style quite nicely. Can't wait to experiment with the spinning wheel, as soon as it dries! Maybe this evening. The rest of this day will be spent antiquing, and possibly a stop by an Antiquarian bookstore in Massachusetts--perhaps I will find something on hand looms or spinning wheels, or old knitting books!

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