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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
How To Make A Rug From Sheep Fleece?
How do you felt the back of a sheep fleece? Wet felting involves applying hot water and soap and rubbing with your hands until the wool felts. Wool fibres are covered in lots of little hooks, when you agitate them and apply heat they tense up and lock together. You are aiming to agitate the wool fibres so that they lock together and form a strong bond.
How do you wet felt a wool rug? Don’t soak it. And just splash a little water at a time. You don’t want the fleece to move around, but you do want it wet. Now that your fiber is wet, and the temperature of the hot water is bearable, press gently with your hands, straight down onto the fleece.
How do you make felt fleece? Put the bag of fleece in the wash water first and soak for 30 minutes and then move to a clear container of water that is slightly cooler than the wash water. Avoid agitation throughout the process to prevent felting. You may need to wash the wool twice and rinse up to three times to get it completely clean.
~ QUICK SPIN DRYING!
Fill washing machine with hot water; add soap (see step 1 above) and let agitate a moment. Turn off washing machine. Add up to approximately 2 pounds of wool, opening it up to remove debris as you go. Let soak for 20 minutes.
Protect the fleece from condensation and fluctuations in relative humidity. A muslin bag or sheeting allows for ventilation and absorption when storing raw fleeces. Storing raw, unwashed wool in a plastic garbage bag invites deterioration and even mold, especially if you live in a humid climate.
Washing Fleece Without Removing The Grease Or Lanolin – Best For Spinning. Put your fleece into a container of cold water and leave to soak, preferably over night. Do not be tempted to squeeze or rub the fleece as this will agitate the fibres and cause the fleece to felt.
Apply an even layer of tanning formula to the flesh side of the pelt, rubbing firmly into all areas of the flesh. Use about 4oz for a large sheep pelt. Fold the pelt in half, skin to skin, and lay it on a large towel. Leave it folded for 12 to 16 hours.
Sheepskin rugs are not necessarily cruel, but they can be unethical based on how the sheep was treated before it was slaughtered. Although a sheep died for human gain, no part of the animal goes to waste when it is used for these rugs, which is often not the case when they are killed for their meat.
For Felting or Needle Felting
The process for this is a simple one. All you really need to do it place your wool into one of the brushes and use the other brush to fluff your wool. This will rip the fibers apart and turn the piece into a fluffy piece of wool that you can then use to needle felt with.
The fleece is put through a willower to untangle the wool, removing impurities such as dust and sand, disentangling it on a roller with metal teeth to create a soft, fluffy mass of fibres. Some of the larger mills in Wales scoured the wool before willowing.
Once you have your fleece fabric cut to the dimensions you want it to be, all you need to do is finish your blanket. You can finish a fleece blanket with a simple folded hem, by adding fringe to the edges and tying it into knots, or by weaving fringe loops around the blanket’s edges to create a braided edge.
Sheep’s wool is a great material. It’s a natural insulator, locally grown, sustainable, and breathable, it dampens sound and is fire safe. Thermafleece is manufactured in the UK and combines British wool with recycled polyester fibres to create effective, safe and sustainable insulation.
To prevent abrasion with other clothes, it is best to wash fleece items together, combining like colors. Stronger washing cycles may cause the fleece to form knots. Use only warm, not hot, water on fleece. Add laundry detergent to the washing machine, but do not use a laundry detergent that contains bleach.
After rinsing the wool, spin the water out using the spin only cycle on the washer. Take the wool out of the bag and lay it out on a towel to dry. If you don’t want to use the washer to spin out the extra water, the wool will just take longer to dry.
To remove this I first do a couple of batch washes. For the first wash I add the locks to a pan of plain warm water, and gradually heat to a high simmer over about half an hour. This is then left to cool, then drained in a colander (one reserved especially for wool!).
In that case, storing fleece for up to two years and then processing it is a good option. If stored correctly, fleece can be kept for years and still process nicely.
I put the bags in a large cloth storage container that fits under the bed, or in a closet. The fleece can breath, bugs or (new) dust can’t get on it, and it stays dry. This is how I stored my fleece for two plus years, and it was as good as it was the day I got it when I pulled it out.
You should now have your wool that is easily rolled up into a roving ready for spinning yarn. Now it is possible to spin wool without carding it first. Instead you have to “rove” it, which can be done with the hands alone.
Some spinners simply love the feel of raw wool and prefer to spin it in the grease and then wash the yarn after it has been spun. This is just a matter of preference. Beginners should try spinning a yarn straight from the fleece to experience it.
Grab two sides of the hide and rub or buff it across the edge as you pull it taut until it softens. Repeat for the entire hide. This process breaks the hardness of the hide. After softening, apply an oil specifically for keeping hides soft.
Auskin natural sheepskins can be hand or machine-washed in warm water (40°C/104°F) using a mild liquid detergent that is suitable for hand washing dishes, on a ‘gentle’ wash cycle. Please note that machine or hand washing may affect the appearance of the natural wool fibers and the leather pelt.
Profitability can be challenging, but with productive sheep and close control of expenses, a profit is possible. Sheep produce income from the sale of meat, wool and milk. Most sheep are sheared once per year to produce wool.
A sheepskin is a sheep’s skin (funny that) and has come from an animal that has been slaughtered, usually for meat. No sheep are slaughtered specifically for their skin. Sheepskins are a by-product of the meat industry and have no real value until they are tanned.
Contrary to popular belief, sheep who are bred for their wool are not allowed to live out their days in the pasture. After a few years, the wool production declines and it is no longer deemed profitable to care for these older sheep. Sheep raised for wool are almost always killed for meat.