Saturday, May 15, 2010

Raw Wool - Corriedale

Corriedale Locks
For my second round of sorting and washing, I thought I would try and improve on my process. I've read several people using tulle to keep the lock-structure of their fleece when washing, so I dropped by Jo-ann fabrics and grabbed a yard to test it out.

My next-up wool was the 2-ounce packet of Corriedale. Corriedales were bred from a mix of Merino ewes and either Lincoln or Leicester rams. Their wool is still considered a "fine" wool, and can have quite a bit of lanolin in it.

Corriedale Locks
The sample of fleece I received was, of course, lovely. The locks were blunt and I was able to sort them by grabbing the slightly-dirty tips where they had matted together and use that to define the lock and separate it from the rest. And when I say "dirty" and "matted" I really just mean that this animal was alive and moved around and encountered a normal (or even less-than-normal) amount of dirt, sweat and wear. It's really a very, very clean sample. There was maybe one piece of grass in it and it took two rounds in soapy water to rinse completely clean.

The locks seemed much easier to separate than the CVM. I had a lot less of the tangled fluff that I had the first time. I did find a bunch of slightly-shorter locks and I kept those out with what little unidentifiable locks I had to card when I was done.

Corriedale Locks
I laid out all the locks in a square of tulle and folded them up inside. I then used these "fiber sausages" to wash. Unfortunately I didn't stuff them enough, or didn't really understand how to work with them. The locks slid around inside the tulle and tumbled together. They also worked around so that the butt was at the bottom and the tips at the top. When I pressed the water out of them all in a towel, I had to go back and re-align locks as best I could. The tips didn't come entirely clean, either. But I figured that will come out in the combing and carding, and if not the final yarn will get a good wash, too.

I think next time I'll fold my tulle in half and work with it that way, rather than in a really long piece. Or I'll put those tulle sausages back into my cookie-rack sandwich for support.

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