|Natural soap bubbles created with|
potassium salts and wool grease.
With spring comes fleece, so I did a little research, contacted Liz Clay and did more research. I found a few sites who touted various degrees of success and failure with the method. I thought I would give it a go: really what did I have to lose. It was just sticking wool in a plastic bin and letting it soak.
Knowing what I know about fermentation and fleece, I could see why some people had struggled; tap water, unless from a surface well, would not work as it would inhibit fermentation. Also the vat was going to smell bad...really bad. As long as I know the source, I don't mind bad smells at all, so that wasn't a worry. Although, if you are squeamish this may not be an activity you should undertake.
|Cleaned Cheviot just out of the vat |
without final rinse.
Today I decided to was a good day to open and pull out the fleece. It was there a little longer than a week but I figured with the cooler than room temperature weather it could stand the extra fermentation. I placed it on a screen, allowing the liquid to go back into the bin for the next batch. I soaked it in a second vat for a few hours, drained and put in a final vat of rinse water. It is now drying in the sun.
So the verdict?? I thnk this method to clean wool is WONDERFUL! The fleece hasn't felted at all and just falls away from itself. I am marveling at the beauty of the fleece; usually at this point in processing I am sick of looking at it and need to step back for a bit. There is no dealing with sheep 'dirt' it has completely dissolved...it is amazing. Suint cleaning will save me water, soap and time. There is some grease left in the fleece but as I am dyeing the fleece, that will be cleaned out at that rinse. Now I just want it to finish drying so I can sort and get to the next step!
I am headed back into the garden to get the second fleece into the Suint vat; a beautiful charcoal grey Shetland!