Sunday, October 5, 2008

Washing My Gotland

I decided this weekend would be a nice time to wash my Gotland lamb fleece that I bought at OFFF a couple of weeks ago. The weather was really crappy yesterday (rainy + wind), which sort of pre-empted me going to a Pumpkin Tossing contest up in Snohomish, about an hour's drive north of Seattle. Plus, Daniel was working, so I had the entire day to myself.

I actually ran a bunch of errands through Saturday afternoon, then settled down into washing this puppy.

I decided to use my washing machine, since I just cleaned my bathtub and didn't really want to scrub it out again.

Here is a picture of the fleece, before I started.

I used the "low" volume setting, and "warm" water, and let the washing machine fill with water. I added a scoop of my Trader Joe's laundry detergent - I figured it's detergent, unscented, and should work fine.

I put about a third of a pound of fleece in each of three nylon mesh lingerie bags (one of the items I bought on my errand rounds), and lowered them into the washing machine, and let them sit for about 20 minutes. Then I removed the bags, put them in a large bowl, and spun the water out of the washing drum.

This is the washing machine after the first rinse...check out how brown the water is!

This first batch I rinsed about 4 or 5 times... I lost count. The water in the last rinse wasn't perfectly clear, in fact it was a tad beige, but frankly I was tired of rinsing, so I put the locks out to dry on my other bath towel. (Yes, I only have two bath towels).

Daniel called me today about 12:30 PM, to tell me he was only home to wash his uniform, and had to return to work. Sadness - I was looking forward to seeing him. But his boat is due to come out of drydock within the next week, so he is understandably extremely busy. I do miss him... it is hard to be with someone and only be able to see them once or twice a week, but anything is bearable when the person is worth it and you know this situation won't be around forever. :)

With that information, I decided to wash the second half of the fleece. I used three mesh bags again, but this time I used a mix of "hot" and "warm" water in the washtub, and I spun out the fleece with the water every time. I don't think it adversely affected it. I also used two rounds of soap, and I think that may have helped more. I think I rinsed it three or four times today, and I do think the water looked cleaner at the end of it. I am debating whether to dunk the first half back in the washer... it still smells sheepy, but a lot better, and it feels mildly greasy, but not unpleasantly so. I am now debating how to start processing it... I am thinking of trying my combs. I figure if it doesn't work, I can always go to the carder.


Also, some project progress photos!

Here is my first cashmere sock, done done done! I actually finished it Friday, but I was having trouble finding EZ's sewn bind off instructions online, so I waited and just knit on my Koolhaas until I got home...something which I forgot to photograph. I used her sewn BO this morning...

I also cast on for the second cashmere sock this morning, too. I have Judy's Magic CO instructions in Cat Bordhi's latest book, so I was glad I didn't have to sign online to look that up.

Finally, here is my latest pair of socks. No, knitting one pair at a time isn't enough! :) I am trying (again) the Two at a Time Magic Loop method from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' book. These are the Sugar Maple Socks (Ravelry link). I am using Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Socks That Rock Lightweight in "Fire on the Mountain".

The two-at-a-time thing is making more sense this time around, and I have no explanation for it. I don't know if it's that I am a slightly better knitter now, or I have more patience for it, or the Noro yarn was being a pain in the ass, and the STR just glides along with no qualms. It is just REALLY fiddly on a 32" needle. I have a partial order in to KnitPicks to get myself some 40" sock needles...

I used a long-tail cast on for the cuffs, and I love that her "sugar maple stitch" pattern is just a 2 stitch cable... :) but it's cute. Hey, you can't reinvent the wheel all the time!

Speaking of reinventing wheels, I have an idea for a cool sock pattern. I want to use the Barbara Walker Spider cable chart placed randomly amongst a pair of socks. I think it would be awesome. Check out the cable here: (it really does make a picture of a spider). And, by the way, I think this blog (The Walker Treasury) is an awesome idea - they are gathering sample swatches of all the Barbara Walker stitch treasuries... all of them. Awesome.

Now, one final note about Koolhaas (Ravelry link)... I am STILL having problems understanding how to do the "tbl" instruction. It doesn't twist my stitches the way I think it should. I'm going on to the Interwebs to see if I can find a decent video...

1 comment:

Piggilicious said...

I thought about that Fire on the Mountain yarn a whole day. Is it self-striping?