Tag Archives: washing wool

Wool Weight Loss In Washing

Tonight the wool that was washed today was dry.  I started with exactly .5# of skirted wool.  Following washing it weighed almost exactly .4#.  That is a 20% loss of weight by washing…much less than the 40% that I had been cautioned it might have entailed.

Before…

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After…

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Washing Common Wool

Today I washed common, skirted wool in preparation for dyeing a sample with haskap.  I started with a weighed half pound.  It filled a 20 litre stainless steel pot when it was pushed down, but not packed…

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…this is the same half pound set outside the pot…

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Temperature set to 160F…

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With Tide in the water (stir detergent in gently – no suds), the wool immediately soaked in…the pot was 3/4 full of water…

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…after 20 minutes the water was filthy.  Gently push the wool down every five minutes or so, but do not agitate or it will felt…

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Taken out to drain in preparation for a new change of water, here’s a pic of the first washing (right) next to unwashed wool (left)…

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Second wash water…

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Following two washes the wool was rinsed…but the water is still mildly dirty…

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While it needs a second rinsing, the wool was set out to dry since I ran out of soft water…

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…I will rinse the second time before I mordant.

Stock Tanks With Which To Wash Wool

Today it is cold…-26 with windchill; tonight it will drop below -40 with windchill.

However, none of this is any reason to stop preparing to wash wool.  In fact, the sooner the better.  Temperatures will soon start to moderate.  And when items are in stock you had better go pick them up or they may not be there – nor at the same price – tomorrow as remotely as we live.  This morning I went to town to pick up two galvanized steel stock tanks…

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103 gallon – 2′ x 2′ x 4′, 169 gallon – 2′ x 2′ x 6′

I had thought to buy two 103 gallon tanks.  However, when I stood there I realized how much more wool could be held in the larger of the two.  So that’s what I bought.  The smaller of them can be used either indoors, or as a pre-heated tank using a propane or electric heater to speed up the next cycle of either the washing or rinsing of the wool.  The largest of tanks – 294 gallons (8′ long) – just seemed too large to be handy when it comes to keeping a supply of water at a constant temperature from end-to-end over the course of a half hour, or even to heat water to 160F beforehand.  There are limits to practicality when it comes to working on an individualized scale.

Each tank is predrilled with a 1 1/4″ hole and drain plug…

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I also bought a faucet and fittings for each tank at our local plumbing store…galvanized to match the tank and metal so that if the propane torch were to accidentally touch them they would not melt, like the plastic ones would which came with the tanks…

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And I cut rubber gaskets from old inner tubes which I will mount on the tanks’ interiors…

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