Phew – I have finished washing all the fleece from Amanda at Pedwardine Gotlands – tried a few different methods, but here is what i found most successful…
Tip 1 -DO NOT pour water with lanolin down the sinks – it may block them as it sets solid. Find a suitable place outside to tip dirty water.
Tip 2 – The more buckets you have to hand, the easier this is!
1-Fill 2 buckets with warm water – (no soap yet) – submerge the fleece into one and gently swish to remove dirt. Carefully squeeze most of the dirty water from the fleece or put into a colander and press down to remove excess water.
2-Repeat in the other bucket – this process of removing the dirt first makes it easier to see the lanolin dissolving in the next stages and reduces the temptation to move the fleece around more once the soap is in – and hence lowers the risk of felting.
3-Fill a bucket with warm water and ecover laundry liquid (or other gentle/green product) and submerge fleece – do not stir or touch as it could felt together at this stage. Cover with a makeshift lid to keep warm. This is when the lanolin will start to dissolve. Leave sitting for half an hour, handle as little as possible when removing – best to lift out in one go into a colander and press down once. As the lanolin dissolves you may notice a yellow tinge to the water and an oily watermark around the bucket – it is important not to throw this water into the sink, lanolin will solidify as it cools. Tip water outside somewhere appropriate.
4-Repeat with slightly hotter water – some wools can take very hot water, but i was recommended to only use warm for gotland fleece.
5-Rinse – fill bucket with clean warm water – no suds. Submerge fleece, swish gently to remove suds and strain.
6-Continue rinsing! Fill your remaining buckets with clean warm/tepid water, take smaller sections of fleece and swish out any remaining lanolin and suds – move it along the buckets and as the soap dilutes you can be more firm with the fibre. Squeeze water out and move to next bucket until water is clear. repeat with the other sections of fleece. Tip water away outside.
7- Take large handfuls of fleece and run tepid water from the tap over it while turning it in a circular movement in your hands. Squeeze a couple of times until you are satisfied it is well rinsed. Repeat with other sections.
8- Lay the fleece onto a towel and gently squeeze excess water out.
9-Spread on a dry towel or rack preferably outside in sun/air to dry or if raining outside finish over towels on top of the radiator!
10-Make sure the fleece is totally dry before storing, but it should now keep well for future use. The locks can be pulled apart at this stage if desired.
Remember -DO NOT pour water with lanolin down the sinks – it may block them as it sets solid. Find a suitable place outside to tip dirty water.
I am no expert at fleece washing! This is the best method out of the ones i tried – using gotland, gotland x shetland and gotland x teeswater fleeces. It is worth asking advice from your supplier. Try at your own risk 🙂 ! Happy washing!