carding wool · fibre preparation · handspun

washing all the things.

As many of you know who’ve followed the podcast and blog for a while, I am a huge fan of Eucalan delicate wash. When I was asked by Eucalan and Stitch Craft Marketing to review their product, I have to admit, I jumped at the chance. There are a few shops near my home who carry Eucalan and I currently have three of the 500mL bottles that I am working my way through.

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Handspun Cheviot socks going for their first dip into the ‘pool’ – they came out looking even better than new. I had knit these at the park while watching the kids and they’d become dustier than I’d thought initially.

When hand washing, I leave my items in Eucalan for minimum 15 minutes to soak unless I am uncertain about the colour fastness, which is another discussion for another time. This has served me well over the years and I have had no problems except the epic felting disaster of Fall 2015 (which had nothing to do with the soap I chose!). There have been a few times over the years in which toques and mittens have ended up with mud on them, particularly since the kids were born and every time, items come out clean. So my glowing review of Eucalan and my status as a loyal customer continues.

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Eucalan kindly sent me a gift bag full of samples to try all the scents, along with a 100mL bottle of Wrapture, which is their Jasmine scent. It’s by-far my favourite as I hadn’t tried it yet, but the lavender is the one I always buy and have used for years.

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This yarn was fulled, as I posted about here, and the lavender scent was wonderful as I worked over my basins of hot tap and cold ice water.

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To read more about Eucalan’s story and beginnings here in Ontario, Canada, have a look here and here. Generously, Eucalan gifted me a pack of 5 – 100mL bottles to give away which I had announced on the podcast a while ago. To enter, participants had to share their questions, stories and comment about washing their woollens, particularly fleece and handspun yarn.

Here’s what some of the participants had to say in the All Things Washing thread ::

Karen (Simoom on Ravelry) said about combing (definitely a form a cleaning our raw fleece!), “Weed seeds often create neps, and should ideally be removed before washing, since washing often just increases the tangle. I love my combs, often I just flick the ends, this removes second cuts and other short fibers, which could create neps. Weak spots might also break and create neps. But mostly I love my combs, yes a lot of wool gets discarded, but only the good stuff remains, honestly I sometimes feel bad, but then I look at the dirt trapped in the the fibers left on the combs and this is often not nice fiber (ex. like the dry brittle tips).”

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I loved what Anne (Angora on Ravelry) had to say about the Suint Method, The Suint method works for me for whole fleeces but a warning here, I live in the countryside, have 4 active young men who play rugby so bad odours have given me some form of immunity. It’s easy but you need a week or longer time commitment. Then you can prepare the dry fleece by carding or combing.”

For washing socks, Catie (CatieCat on Ravelry) says, “How I wash socks – I currently use Eucalan – I put a capful or so in a washbasin, fill it with luke warm water, put a couple of pairs of socks in and just leave them to soak the water (I don’t squish the water in) – I come back after they’ve sunk (honestly long after they’ve sunk because I tend to forget about them. I squeeze water out and then run them through the final spin cycle in my washing machine. That way they’re not dripping wet and dry relatively fast. I should put a colour catcher in there with them – that would likely help keep the colours bright without having to wash them separately.”

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More on socks, Sarah (PAKnitWit on Ravelry) said, “I’m not a pro at washing fleece, but I do hand wash all my socks (I just don’t trust them to the washing machine). I let them pile up in a spot in my closet until I have a good pile (usually about 18 or 20 pairs). Then I throw them all into our one remaining bathtub — my designated washing spot, as it’s in our third-floor bathroom that doesn’t really get used except for this purpose — in warm water with a good squirt of wool wash. I let them soak for a good while, usually about an hour, though I’ve been known to forget they were there for most of a day. I drain the water and squeeze out the socks, and then I lay them flat to dry on mesh drying racks. I have five of these racks, and they can stack on top of each other, so they don’t take up a huge amount of space. They do usually take a couple of days to dry, depending on the weather and the temperature (they are set up next to a radiator, so they dry a little faster in winter).”

And lastly, think about this from Charlynn (KnittedBliss on Ravelry) who said, “I finally purchased the heavy wire sock blockers this past fall and love placing my washed socks on them to dry.” Great idea!

I had been hoping for some pointers on washing fleece, since this seems to be a big stumbling block for new spinners and Doris (Mollymiaknitt65 on Ravelry) stepped up with some stellar advice, saying, “I love washing fleece, and have a basic system down that has worked quite well, its the method of some of the known fiber folks in print and on the internet. I’ve done luster long wool, med/fine and even a superfine merino without felting. I’m writing the process down but I think it would be a super long post. I will if there is a request. Here are my basic tips. I like to preserve as much lock structure so I sort and organize locks or small bundles than I can keep oriented and place in lingerie bags that I sew down the middle (quick baste stitch) or 2 rows, depending on the size bag and locks. I pre soak in cool water and dip in warm just before easing in bath water. I use 3-4 tubs to have an assembly’s line going. A great resource for cheap bags and rubber tubs is the local Dollar store and Ikea. I bought 10 gal Torkis tubs ($5 US) – great if you wash outside or in the bathtub. I have found that I can gently move the bags of fiber without felting. Felting happens with soap, agitation and a sudden change in temperature. Keep water temperature steady. I use a thermometer, a tip from Henry and Roy Clemes. Do keep the fiber submerged and avoid squeezing soapy water out of bags, this makes and traps bubbles that block water from getting back through the fiber and thus not get cleaned/rinsed… and it floats! Lol.”

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And finally, Becca (Bethy40 on Ravelry) had said, “When it comes to my handspun I just give it a good soak in warm water with a fiber rinse. Maybe it’s because I love baths so much but I just imagine that my yarn loves a good long soak in warm water too. I love to watch it relax. There are only a few pieces of equipment I wouldn’t do without. I love my blocking wires and the children’s playmats that I use to pin things out. I love my mesh stackable dryers cause they save so much space. Other than that it is all very low tech and can all fit away on a shelf.” I totally agree with all of that, especially the soaking part!

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I used random number generator to figure out who the 5-set gift pack will be going to and Post No. 67 was chosen — it was Mollymiaknitt65 (Doris)!!! If you can send me your mailing address, Doris, I will get that into the mail for you ASAP. You can send me an email at Rachel [@] welfordpurls [dot] com or through Ravelry. Congratulations!

Until next time,

r.

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