Screamin' Hot Water

I have embarked upon the inevitable. Plunged ahead into the next opportunity. I have begun . . . washing raw wool. Don’t worry about the title. Nobody got hurt. That is simply the term that my instructor used to describe the neccesary temperature of wash water. Here is how I washed my first batch of wool.

I filled a really big pot 3/4 of the way full of water, then brought it to a boil and turned off the heat. Next, I added two tablespoons of dishwashing soap and almost a cup of Simple Green.

The Wool in the Wash

The Wool in the Wash

I gave a stir or two to blend it all and added the fiber. Gently. I was terrified it would felt, or that I had put in too much of something. The rather nebulous “add some soap and Simple Green” left a wide-open range from a splash to a couple cups. Then I half-covered the pot with its lid, because I noticed that, if I left the lid fully on, it would heat back up rather quickly and I didn’t want to risk bubbles disturbing the fibers, but I didn’t want to risk anything falling (or crawling) into the water. My dad hauled the very hot pot out to the back porch for me and I waited for it to cool down to lukewarm.

Then we heaved it down the porch steps and dumped the lanolin-laced, dirty water and the hopefully clean fiber into the colander. We left it in the colander for the rinsing, which we accomplished by hauling out a smaller pot of lukewarm water mixed with a splash of rubbing alcohol and slowly pouring it over the fiber. The rubbing alcohol is supposed to hold the lanolin in suspension so it doesn’t latch back on to the wool. This done, we hauled the fairly well rinsed fiber (still in the colander) inside to the kitchen sink, where we rinsed it some more.

The Wool After the First Round

The Wool After the First Round

I noticed some dirty spots still in it, so we decided to cook it up again. This time I used the two tablespoons of Dawn, but only a half cup of the Simple Green.

Here it is. Almost dry!

Resting after the Second Wash

Resting after the Second Wash

3 Responses to Screamin' Hot Water
  1. Anne
    September 24, 2008 | 9:31 pm

    Ooh, it looks so soft!

  2. Mama Mentor
    October 1, 2008 | 9:37 am

    How was the smell?

  3. Rebekah
    October 1, 2008 | 10:06 am

    Not too bad, actually. We took it outside to cool before the whole house smelled like wet wool. I’m actually a bit fond of the smell. It’s like smelling the cookies in the oven. Well, maybe it’s more like the not-so-good smell of the wet paint that you know will make your room look gorgeous.

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