In the summer of 2020, I went into full fleece washing mode. I set up a skirting table, got the RV hand washing machine ready to spin out most of the water and set up the fleece drying racks in front of the garage. You have already seen some of the results. Over the next couple of months, I began to notice an unsettling trend of wetness occurring speciously in conjunction with putting washed fleece on the drying racks. Very Suspicious!!! how can this be a coincidence having happened so many times this summer? I think the weather may be out to wet me! (or maybe it’s just after my fleece)
My hypothesis: 2020 weather is sentient. (And is offended by drying fleece)
Equipment necessary for this experiment:
- One Icelandic fleece,
- Many strainer buckets,
- Three soaking big buckets,
- A small amount of soap (sunlight dish soap – not detergent),
- One RV hand spin washer (like a very big salad spinner)
- Three umbrellas on standby
Test of the hypothesis: Take exquisite Icelandic fleeces that had been put aside to wash later and wash now. (Also this first fleece may be perfect for Mrs. Mer’s Hair.) Watch for a reaction from local weather.
1 Part of Icelandic fleece waiting in the strainer bucket
I divided the first fleece into six small amounts in the fleece washing strainer baskets. Washed out and filled the three fleece washing buckets. Started the soap soak on the first three fleece strainer baskets and got them to the rinse stage. No sign of rain.
Today, a bit overcast with tiny patches of sun, I went out to check on the rinsing. Looked clean, felt clean, OK on to draining, spin-drying then laying the wool out on the drying racks to finish drying.
2-3 Fleece placed on the dryer rack
And it started to drizzle, so I pulled out the umbrella and continued spin-drying as well starting the next three into their soap soak.
4 next half of fleece in soap and soak stages of washing
5 Filled one drying rack and pulled out the second.
And it started to drizzle again.
Pulled out the second umbrella, looked at the overhanging and which way the rain would fall. Drat. Need a bigger umbrella, well if I move the spinner over to the skirting table and put the bucket over it
6 two umbrellas up and… it has stopped raining again.
Got all of the first fleece washed and onto two of my three drying racks, and pulled out the third rack (all from Ikea). I did a quick division of the second darker fleece and got the first part of it soaking in soapy water. With a bit of wrangling, I got the three drying rack set up and under the umbrella. As I went to check the soaking fleece and give it a sloosh and it started to Rain! Heavily raining….. I quickly through the fleeces into the strainer buckets and got everything under the tarp end of the dog yard. well now the weather is just laughing at me and I am soaked too.
7-8 wet, very wet
I came in to complain about the unfair and possible vindictiveness of weather to Ann. (Ann is very patent with me.) I sat down at the computer, ready to type and the sun came out…..
9 Sun coming out on my Tie basil plants in a broken pot, I will be trying to overwinter.
I waited a bit then went and laid out the fleeces again to dry…..maybe dry.
10-13 all the wetness was worth it, look at that fleece!!
14 The first part of the second Icelandic fleece is trying to dry.
Any bets on where it will rain today? Don’t take that bet…..
15 it rains again
Conclusion; 2020 Weather is sentient and it is offended by fleece drying.
The Icelandic fleeces are now well washed, extra rinsed and finally dry. I have washed two more fine fleeces, which I got last year from the Wool Growers Co-op originally from Alberta, again with many extra rinses in the “Drying” stage. They were a lovely dark chocolate colour until I washed them and discovered they were a nice shade of grey (the wash water did remain a very dark brown).
16 the drying racks
Unfortunately, I have two more large fleeces to wash before the snow arrives!!!! One is the large ram I got at the same time I got the Shropshire and the second is a fleece I just bought from Beth. It is a long black Shetland who was ether hiding from the shearer in the straw or was rolling in it. I have never seen so much vegi-matter embedded in a fleece! As bad as it looks there was only one sheep self-felted section. the rest, if I can get the straw out, will be fabulous. After pulling burrs, straw does not look as daunting!
17-20 Beth’s Black fleece of straw, the top section of the strainer bucket is self felted.
I still need a solution to the continual extra rinse step I don’t think the fleeces really require. I have bought strapping and ½ inch welded wire fencing to make drying racks I can hang under the tarped area of the side yard. I will get over to Dollerama (what a great source of fibre and felting related equipment) and buy a couple of clear table cloth covers and some extra strong laundry clips to block the wind and rain along the dog fence. Maybe I had better not tempt the weather too much or it may escalate its intensity, we did have a tornado go through Ottawa two years ago! But that may have been to thwart someone else’s fleece drying endeavours.