How to Wash Raw Sheep Wool: A Beginner's Guide | Ancestral Evolution | Skillshare

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How to Wash Raw Sheep Wool: A Beginner's Guide

teacher avatar Ancestral Evolution, Traditional skills for the modern world

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Why Wash Wool


    • 3.

      Selecting a Fleece


    • 4.

      Project Assignment and Materials


    • 5.

      How to Wash Your Wool


    • 6.

      How to Dry Your Wool


    • 7.

      Tips and Final Summary


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About This Class

Have you ever wished you could transform a stinky wooly sheep into something beautiful? Maybe you want some wool socks, or a set of felted dryer balls. Maybe you’ve been working with wool your whole life, but have never processed your own fiber. If so, this class is for you!

My name is Eliza and I, along with my husband, have been raising our own sheep and processing our own fiber for the last 6 years. I’ve been knitting and playing with fiber since I was about 8 years old. My goal in creating this class is to make washing raw fleece easy and approachable for beginners.  

We live in a world where there is often so much distance between the animal that produces a fiber and the person crafting with the fiber. I aim to close this distance a bit. My challenge to you is to get to know a local sheep through its fiber. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Ancestral Evolution

Traditional skills for the modern world


Hello, we are Eliza and Dave! Join us on our adventures with homesteading, the ketogenic diet, and science of natural living. We run a small farm with a flock of fiber animals made up of several different kinds of sheep and a guard llama named "Banjo." We look forward to sharing what we've learned along the way with the Skillshare community. Whether you are thinking about starting a small farm or just embarking on a journey into fiber, we hope to have something for you!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi there. I'm ELISA. And today I'm going to teach you how to wash raw sheets. Wolf. So I started spinning and knitting at about age eight and have been playing with fiber ever since. About six years ago, my husband and I got our first sheep. And so ever since then, we've been hooked. We've been cheering and processing most of our own fiber since then, so I'm going to share with you some of the things that we've learned along the way. 2. Why Wash Wool: So why do we wash wool to be in? Will has a number of different greases in it, one of which is land all in which you may have heard of Leyland. And these greases melt at a pretty high temperature. That's why we use hot water for washing wool in particular raw sheet. Please also has a lot of dirt in it, just from the sheep Rosh eats. Police also has sheep sweat in it, a number of different salt compounds, which we want wash out of the world as well. What I'm showing today is just one way that she police can be washed. There is also another, more traditional method that I will show in another class called the Swim Method, Um, but that that's a little bit of a different process. So stay tuned for that lesson. You can actually spin raw sheets, please, just straight off the sheep. This is what's called spinning in the grease, and this creates a very sticky wool that is somewhat waterproof. Back in the day, they would use yarn that had been spun in a Greece for outer layers. That's kind of a raincoat, if you will. If you're wanting to make something that's not an outer garment, and that's not going to smell like a sheep. You do need to wash your fiber in some way. 3. Selecting a Fleece: So let's talk about what kind of sheep's fleece to use. So this sheep's fleece that I have here I have about four ounces of raw sheep's wool, and this police is about a three inch staple lengthen. This came from our ram. In general, Fleece is from Rand's, and weathers or snipped males are gonna have the nicest fleece is to keep that in mind when you're looking at fleas. Other things you're looking for when you're looking at a raw fleece is a Is there a lot of vegetable material like Hey, pieces of seeds, um, little twigs leaves that kind of thing in the wool. If it has a lot of that in there, avoid it. It's not worth the trouble, because you're gonna have to go through and pick most of that out of there. Um, secondly, you want a fleece that doesn't have a bunch of second cuts in it. Second cuts are when the Shearer goes over part of the sheep a second time and ends up with a very short piece of hair, and those pieces can really wreck havoc with spinning. For instance, that is a second cut right there. Luckily, this police does not have a lot of second cuts in it. When you're learning to shear a sheep, it's an important skill toe to know how to avoid second cuts. Thirdly, you want to make sure that the fiber that you're using is strong fiber. So one way you can do that is to just kind of take the two ends of the fiber in your fingers and just kind of give it a poll. And if you have a lot of broken ends that tells you that this fiber is not as strong as it should be, and this fiber does not have that. So it's a nice strong fiber. If there are breaks in the fiber, that could be because the sheep, for instance, had a stressful event in that period, um, had a nutrient deficiency of some kind during that period, or just generally was in poor condition, an illness, that kind of thing. For this project, I'm gonna be demonstrating on about four ounces of raw fleece. You can, of course, scale this up as large as you want to, even washing a whole police. But for the sake of this demonstration, I think it's easier and easier for you to see what's going on if I just use a small amount also less intimidating. If this is your first time. Washington, please. If you're planning Teoh, spin this wool. I do recommend that you find some fiber that has about a three inch staple length. At least that's gonna make spinning. It will be easier if you have something shorter, like one or two inches. It's definitely doable if you're more advanced dinner. But if you're more advanced dinner, you're probably not watching this class. So, um so, yeah, I would recommend something, at least this long, and if you could find something longer, great. 4. Project Assignment and Materials: your project for this class is to wash a portion of a raw sheep's fleece. Please post a before and an after picture of your fleece along with what you plan to do with it and what kind of police it ISS. So let's talk about the equipment you're gonna need. For this class, you're gonna need four ounces of raw sheep's fleece. You're gonna need something to wash the wool in today. I'm going to use a glass bowl so you can see what's going on. You could also use a sink. You could use a bucket. You could use a bath tub. You could use pretty much whatever you want, Teoh. It just have to be able to hold the wool and withstand pretty hot water. Next, we're gonna need some dish soap. Either Dawn or I have some knockoff dawn here or another will wash of your choice. We're gonna need a little bit of white vinegar. I also find that an old colander some store is really helpful in draining the wall, and this is optional. But I prefer to use a little bit of a central oil at the end of the washing, just to keep the moths off of my wool. I waited a continuous war against moths that eat fiber. So if I can combat them in any way, I will. So this is one of the ways I tried. Prevent moths is putting just a little bit of a central oil at the very last rinse when I'm washing fiber. So and last but not least, you're gonna need some hot water now for this. Process your gun and want water that is at least 120 degrees. So if the water that comes out of your tax is less than that, you may need to heat water up, for instance, on the stove or by some other method. Or reset your water heater so you do get water that's at least about 120 degrees Land. Lynn doesn't melt until about 1051 10 5. How to Wash Your Wool: All right, so let's get started. First, I'm gonna feel my bowl with hot water. Like I said, this water should be at least 100 20 degrees. So I filled up my bowl with hot water out of our tap, and it comes out about 120 degrees. I'm gonna add about one tablespoon of dawn or knock off Don here. I'm just going to stir this up. Make sure you stir this up before you put your will in. We'll never agitate your wool when it's in hot, several water, or you will get felt unless you're going for felt. In which case go next time, get on my wall. When I add the wool, I'm just going to gently place it on top of the water and give it a gentle push downward. We're just gonna let it soak into the water and same thing. Like I said, you don't want to agitate this. You don't want to stir it. You don't want to scrub it. You just want a gently press downward until all of your will is wet and in the water. And we're just gonna let this sit for about 30 minutes all right to our Raul has been soaking in soapy water for about 30 minutes. Now, we're just gonna drain it now when I drain it, I like to use an old colander, and I'm just gonna pour this bowl through the colander. I'm not going to squeeze the wool. I'm not going to rinse it with any other water. I'm just gonna pour it through the colander and let as much the water drain out as can. So here, I've got my wool that igraine out, and I just feel my bowl back up with hot water, and I'm gonna put some more soap in it again. About one tablespoon or so You can just eyeball it. I'm just gonna stir this up till it's all incorporated, and then I'm gonna take my will and gently, just again. Put it on the surface of the water, give it a gentle push down. We're not gonna stir it or makes it. And we're just gonna let this sit about 15 minutes this time. The second. So doesn't take as long, so we'll be back in about 15 minutes. So our will have been soaking again for 15 minutes and we're just gonna port through our colander like we did the first time again. Remember, don't squeeze it. Don't rinse it with any cold water. We're just gonna pour this straight to the calendar and then fill our bowl back up with hot water for our first rinse. So I filled my bowl back up with hot water yet again. And here is our wool starting to look a little bit cleaner. And I'm just gonna take it again. And we're just gonna lay on top of the water and gently push down. If you've noticed it's OK to put wool into hot water, But you would not want to put hot wool into cold water. Going from hot to cold is what's called shocking the wool, and this increases your risk of felt ing. So going into hot waters. Okay, as long as we don't agitate but the reverse not okay. So keep that in mind as you go through this process, so this water has no soap in it. Besides, what's in the wolf? This is our first stoke, and now I'm just going to pour this wool and the water again through the colander. All right, now we're on rinse number two. I filled my bold back up with hot water yet again, and I'm just gonna add a splash of white vinegar. Doesn't have to be exact, but maybe about an ounce or two. I'm just going to stir this up, and then we're gonna take our wool again. Just set it on top of the water and gentle push down. All right, Now we're gonna drink this again, and we're gonna do one more rinse. So I poured out our vinegar water through a colander again. And here is our wool. The reason that we use the white vinegar and the rinse water is that it helps remove some of that detergent residue on the world. So now this will should be fully clean. And we're just doing one last friends here. And this time I feel that my bowl with warm water, this is not hot hot. It's just this warm. And I'm just gonna add about 2 to 3 drops of an essential oil of your choice. I like this lemon eucalyptus. I think it works the best for keeping lots away, but a lot of them will work. So just monte or more all right. I'm just gonna take the wolf yet again, and we're just gonna lay it right on top of the water and push down gently. All right? We're gonna pour this through our calendar yet again, and then I'll show you how we drive. All right, here is our clean wool. As you can see, we have a couple little pieces of, but we called the M or vegetable material in here. It's helpful if, before you wash a police, you go through and pick out as much of this stuff as you can. This police really didn't have very much in it. It's just a little bit, as you can see, and some of this will come out when we card it as well. 6. How to Dry Your Wool: when you drive this, you wanted let it dry, laid flat on the surface. I like using an old town, and you can do this on, for instance, like the top of your dryer. Or if you have a laundry drying rack or something, just lay a towel over it and then put the police on top of it. You can also let it dry out in the sun as long as it's not a super windy day. I'm just gonna let this lay flat here, and you want to spread it out as much as possible. What? Here we go. So this will take about a day or two to dry, and then you're ready to use it. 7. Tips and Final Summary: So I hope this video is helpful to you and learning how to wash raw sheep's please a couple things to make sure that you remember. Firstly, never, never, never agitate your wool in hot, soapy water. If you do, you will get felt. Secondly, never, never, never add. Hot, warm, never, never, never add hot wool to cold water. If you do, you'll get felt. Always make sure you take your wool out to Let's review our process. We had a bowl. We filled with hot water. We added our soap, and then we put in our raw sheikhs, please, and just let it sink, pushing down gently. We let that soak for about 30 minutes. Then we drained it. Then we poured the fleece through a colander and feel our bull back up with hot water. We added another tablespoon of detergent and put our police gently into the water Again. We let this soak for 15 minutes, then reported to the colander again. Phil are bold. Back up with hot water. Put our fleets back in the bowl. Just let it rinse, drained it. Then we did another rinse with white vinegar this time and our third and final rent, so we just added 2 to 3 drops of an essential oil of your choice. Finally, we laid our police on an old towel on a flat surface to dry a couple important reminders. Never, never, never agitate your wool in hot, soapy water. If you do, you're gonna get built. Never, never, never add hot fleece to cold water. If you do, you're gonna get felt. Always make sure you take your fleece out of the bowl before adding water. Never let water run onto your fleece. This causes agitation, and you also get felt. If you have any questions or need help troubleshooting something, please feel for you to ask me and I would be everything I can to help happy washing.