My three new fleeces have been out in the shed taunting me since I brought them home. Last Thursday was the first day in weeks that I had the time to get them out and play with them. I should also blame the weather. It has been crazy cold and wet.
In the meantime, I've been doing my homework and have added some new things to my washing routine. A few drops of alcohol is added to the rinse water and I have gone back to using a bar soap for washing locks with a Dawn soak.
All this (except the alcohol) comes from the DVD, Spinning for Lace. Margaret Stove's method and my method were not that different but hers is tweeked in a way that is best for Merino. The first difference is smaller locks. No more than a finger width is her advice.
She gives her locks a quick dip in very hot water and a squeeze before going on to the soaping.
Here is where we really differ. I used to try to keep my fiber lined up while patting it gently through the soap. She recommends a good scrubbing with the balled up lock. This really gets rid of any dirt and vm and believe it or not prevents felting-as long as you are using plenty of soap.
She also believes in a very quick rinse, leaving some soap behind to prevent insect damage but I am not a fan of soapy locks so I gave mine a good rinsing with my tea kettle full of nearly boiling water before patting them dry with a thick towel.
If I hadn't had to keep stopping and starting for one reason or another, I could have had all these done in just over a half an hour. It doesn't look like much, but this many locks can keep you very busy for quite a few days and give you plenty of spun material if you are spinning thin. Now for the real test. As soon as they are dry, I need to give them a gentle combing and spin some samples. One of them is going to be my TdF project. Right now I am betting on the Merino X.