Thursday, August 4, 2016

Suint Method for Cleaning Fleece

Several years ago I was gifted several fleeces, some of which had been in bins, unwashed, for 6 years or more.  Most of it cleaned up beautifully, but the last one was particularly nasty.  Greasy, dirty, and mostly cotted.

I was going to toss it, but decided to try the suint fermentation method of cleaning dirty wool.  I read a lot about it and it seemed like just the thing to avoid actually having to put this wool through multiple baths.  A mini suint experiment was designed to see how it all worked out.  Using a small ice cream bucket and tap water (rainwater is recommended because chlorine can affect the process)  A large handful of really greasy wool was put in the bucket and left for about 10 days.

 Now this stuff is supposed to stink and you are supposed to do it outside away from neighbors and friends.  Well, I expected stink, but it went way past smelly to raunchy and nauseating, but it worked!  After a soak in Dawn followed by rinsing and a soak in vinegar water to restore ph, then more rinsing, it was very clean.  I put it in baskets then out into the sun to dry.  After a few days of sun the smell finally went away.  The people who use this method talk about drying completely to eradicate the smell. (Later i found that soaking in vinegar water for a several hours really eliminates the smell right away)   Hopefully when it gets wet again the smell won't return.  The remainder of the fleece was left in the suint for between 3 and 5 days, once the fermentation gets going, the process works much faster.

This is the clean fleece ready to spin.   There is a bit of yellow in the tips, but it looks beautiful.  The picture below is some of the fiber that I combed and dizzed off my home made hackle (which works great).

I am spinning the fiber from teased locks to make 
a bulky two ply for a spinning activity with the Shepards Talk Spinning and  Knitting with Naturals group on Facebook.Shepards Talk

Eventually this yarn will be combined with some other chunky yarns I have spun lately to make a wrap,  still trying to decide knitting or weaving???

The remainder of the fleece is badly cotted and I doubt it is worth cleaning and trying to separate, so I may just try to felt it on the bottom and use it as a rug.