Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

King Poo Sheep

I've been wanting to learn how to spin my own yarn for quite some time. Months ago, my sister brought me our mother's old spinning wheel so I could learn to spin on it. Go to this post to see a photo of the spinning wheel. I find the idea of learning how to spin on the same spinning wheel that my mother  learned to spin on romantic.  My mother bought a spinning wheel kit back in the 70's, sanded, stained, and put it together.

The idea of using this spinning wheel is romantic to me, what you are about to see, is not.

I signed up for a class, and my first one was yesterday afternoon. I was given a bag of sheep wool and told to clean it before our next class where I would then learn to card it. How hard can that be?

First, you pull out a chunk of wool and start to pull it apart a bit. I decided to do this outside as dirt, grass, hay, and who knows what else tends to fall out onto what ever surface you are on. I didn't want any of this on my kitchen table........

I'm pulling the wool apart here a bit. Separating the ends......

Aside from the disgusting poo, notice how yellow the wool is.  That is the lanolin.  After washing, I was told the wool would be white.  I was skeptical but, it really does turn white after he lanolin is melted out! 

I go to get some more wool and.... is that what I think it is?

Great! Just fabulous! My bag of wool apparently is the bum end of the deal and all that goes with it. Yup. That be poo. I am paying big bucks to learn how to pull poo off a sheeps bum wool.

After all of the wool is pulled apart and the poo taken care of, it is time to get the water in my sink as hot as I can possibly stand putting my hands into and I put the wool into the water. I am to walk away for 10-15 minutes. In that time, the natural oil on the wool called lanolin which holds onto all of the dirt, grass, poo, etc. etc. and more disgusting etc. will be melted off.

What in actuality happens is the water in your sink turns a putrid color of brown which looks like you are washing a bunch of horse poo instead of sheep wool and your kitchen/house smells like it too.

After the 10-15 minutes is up, you transfer your wool to another hot water bath that has a bit of soap in it. Let it again sit and then rinse your wool in another sink of hot water, and be amazed that what was once really disgusting and brown is surprisingly kind of white!

Do this a few times and then take your wool and set it out in the back yard on an old towel to dry making sure to fluff it here and there from time to time....

And that, my friends........ is how you wash sheeps wool right off the good ol' sheep itself. Next time..... I want the neck or body. Teach me for having to do a make up class and getting what was left. Talk about a bum deal!

P.S.  Yes, I did wash my sink after really really good and disinfected it.......


  1. Oh, like you didn't anticipate getting that end of it! I forgot about that class. We were going to take it together. But I'm glad, now, I forgot. Anyway - we need to diversify. I'm sure there's something practical and romantic that I'm learning to do - like woodburning. I need to learn to wood burn. After I finish the pin cushion exchange project and the traditional load of ornaments, and ride in the canyon and - maybe I should clean the kitchen; come to think of it, I think my sink already looks like that first shot of yours, and I didn't put any wool in it -

  2. I wonder why you're instructed to get rid of the lanolin? People pay big bucks for lanolin and it is what makes the wool water resistant and warm . . . and it is so good for your skin! I guess if it is what is holding the dirt in you have to get rid of it, but something about the process just seems odd.

    The poop part is funny!

  3. Kristen, Yes we were supposed to do this together!!!!! I didn't think about this part either but you know, being a farm girl and all, it really wasn't that bad. Heavens, what does that say about me??? I would like it very much if you'd figure out that wood burning stuff! I've some furniture I'd like!

    Anaise, Not all of the lanolin gets melted out. It depends on what you are using the wool for. I'd tell you more but I'm just learning and not educated enough. I am told as we start to spin this, we'll have wonderfully soft hands from the lanolin still left in the wool. :D

  4. Fascinating! It's a good thing you washed it. I wouldn't want your knitting to look sh^%$##()y.

  5. From what I understand, ALL the wool is going to be like that! They must like to....roll, I guess. This would be a good reason to buy pre-washed, pre-carded wool after you're done with this class!

  6. I have even more respect for the pioneer women who did this similar process.

  7. Love your shirt. Not so keen on the sheepy doo...but, now I can appreciate hand woven from the very beginning even more.

  8. Korrie, Well that is just sick and wrong. Nasty. I was hoping if I got some upper closer to the neck part I wouldn't have any of that... ewww.

    Chastina, No kidding!! The whole process is amazingly time consuming. Of course, I'm amazingly slow at it..

    Donna, I made that shirt! :D One of my sons had a tie dye birthday party and we tie dyed t-shirts. There's a lady at the farmer's market here in town that is just brilliant at it and does the parties.

  9. Okay, laughed the whole way through THIS post too. "The bum end of the deal." Oh, so funny!

  10. oh Rachel this made me laugh so much, thanks for sharing your experiences. You did get a bum deal there didn't you. It will all be worth it though - you'll have some woolly wonderfulness at the end of it - and a few funny tales to tell!

  11. Wabi, Just you wait! You take a class and it will be your turn and you better post photos!!!!

    Julie, Just as long as I don't have a 'tail' to tell.... :D

  12. You are so brave to dive into this, poop and all. You are willing to take on life 200%. Considering your history with West Nile Virus, you are 1 unstoppable gal!

  13. Ginger, You're one to talk!!! You inspire me lady! Seriously!

  14. How nice it is to see what you look like. I write to so many women and don't even know their faces. I am wanting to work with wool to,, hopefully when we move do France someday and enjoy a cooler climate.

  15. Earthboys, :D That isn't what I look like! I don't have double chins and I'm really tall! And I'm much MUCH younger......... ;)


Go know ya wanna comment!