Category Archives: information sheet

Make Your Own Silk Paper – The Ironing Method

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DSCF1868Its actually very easy to make paper out of silk, and you can get some beautiful results very quickly if you use the Ironing Method.

I tried out a few variations, and made a few mistakes, and I would suggest that you work on the trial and error method too, and work out what you prefer.

There are various uses for this handmade silk paper, and you can make is as thin or thick as you like.  Thick paper can be used for book covers and even writing paper, and can be painted or embellished and embroidered after its dry, and cut to any size you want.

The thin paper is great to add to any art textile design piece, and is especially dramatic as a window within a greetings card.   You can also make beads by rolling strips of the paper and varnishing them – so I hope this gives you some ideas for xmas gifts!

You will need:

IMG_2605silk cocoon strippings (unwashed and still containing the natural gum, that the silkworms used to make the cocoons, which is what makes this method possible)

and/or

 

throwsters wastesilk throwsters waste (again unwashed – this comes in white or various colours)

 

 

silk hankies

matawa silk hankies (these are unwrapped cocoons spread out into hemmed squares – see my post on silk worms)

other odds and ends to add in when you are making the paper, such as bits of silk carrier rods, cut silk fibres, pieces of silk lap, washed throwsters waste, glitter, small beads or anything else that takes your fancy!

an iron and board or table

non stick greaseproof baking paper – must be non stick otherwise you won’t be able to peel the paper off

small spray bottle filled with ordinary water

A4 pack with everything you need - £9.99

A4 pack with everything you need – £9.99

I have put together a pack with the basics for you…depending of what size you make, it should be enough for 5- 20 pieces.

You can either buy this direct – see here – or you can find the listings for it on etsy – here, and on ebay – here.A6 silk sample pack_Fotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

DSCF1844Cut two pieces of the baking paper and lay one on your ironing surface, then pull out strands of the silk cocoon strippings and lay in a thin rough circle or square on top of the baking paper.

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1847Then spray with water and place the other sheet of baking paper on top and iron the sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1845Lift the top paper and add some more silk strippings, and repeat as above.  You can continue this process until you get the thickness you want – or you can …..

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1866….. add one thin silk hankie on top of the ironed silk, then another thin layer of the silk strippings, spray and iron.  The silk hankie does not contain gum so you need to add the strippings to fuse them.

 

 

 

 

 

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The idea of using the silk hankie is to give a thin net that will allow you to keep some gaps in the finished paper.  Lift the piece up and see if you want to add some more silk strippings.  The paper will still be wet so work carefully.

 

 

 

 

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Once you are happy with the piece of paper you have made, pull it off the bottom baking sheet and allow to dry.  You will find you have made a very thin sheet of stable paper.  The edges of the hankie will need to be cut off, as they will probably not have been stabilised.

Please note, when experimenting, you need to balance the thicknesses on each side of the hankie, and if you decide to add another one, you can.  Silk hankies can be dyed before you use them and will add some lovely colours to your paper.

 

DSCF1854You don’t need to use the silk hankies – this is another version where I tried adding some white silk throwsters waste, a little washed dyed silk throwsters waste and some coloured glitter.

 

 

 

 

DSCF1860I wasn’t sure I liked it all that much, but its just to give you some ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the finished dried piece.  Its a lot thicker than the first piece, and you need to fill all the gaps before you dry it!

 

If you would like to share your pictures of the paper you make, I will be happy to put them up on another post so that others can see them and get inspiration!  Please email them to me referencing “the ironing method’.  If you don’t have my email address, please use the CONTACT ME page.

 

To make things a bit clearer, you might like to watch this video I found on U-tube!

Some pictures of Silk Worms making Silk

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silkworm and cocoon

silkworm and cocoon

As you will know, if you follow my blog, I LOVE SILK!  Not just the finished silk fabric, but the raw silk yarns & fibres, and the cheaper bits like cocoon strippings and throwsters waste.  You can find some pictures of these in a previous post – and if you go to my etsy shop or julz craft supplies on ebay, you will find most of these, and other items on sale!

I came across this post about how silk worms make silk, with amazing pictures of the silk worms and their progress – it comes from Dona at Creative Country Life and you can find the original HERE.  Dona has kindly given me permission to copy this for you.

I am planning a series of ‘tutorials’ about using some of these, especially to make your own SILK PAPER but I thought you really must see this post first – it contains an explanation of how silk ‘hankies’ are made.


Raising Silk Worms!

They say that interesting people have interesting friends. I must be pretty interesting, if you go by that!

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Take a look at what one of my friends has been up to!

She’s been raising Silk Worms! I’m so jealous…

Now mind you this is not a large scale adventure. She just wants enough silk to make some Hankies for spinning. A Hankie is the form silk is generally accepted in for Hand Spinning into yarn.

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The problem is, even at a small scale, they go through a tremendous amount of Mulberry Leaves each day.

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Handfuls and handfuls of fresh Mulberry Leaves EVERY day. Naturally it is important to have easy access to a tree. And of course what goes in, must come out… So they need to be cleaned as well.

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The commitment is not a very long one. Only about 5-7 weeks. Before long they will begin to spin. Simple toilet paper tubes or egg cartons provide the perfect, cozy spot for the worms to spin their cocoons.

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One by one at first, then several at a time until everybody is neatly stowed away.

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But seriously. How cool is this??

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Soon there is nothing left but cocoons.

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But then comes D-Day…

The cocoons are… well, roasted in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. I know, sounds rather harsh after caring for them so carefully. But the thing to remember is that if the moth is allowed to emerge, they are doomed to die shortly after. They do not eat or fly. They simply mate, lay eggs and die. Now that’s harsh!

The next step is to simmer the cocoons in soapy water. This removes all the gummy stuff that holds them together. The carcass must be removed and then the silk is spread out on a frame about the size of a handkerchief (hence the name Hankies).

Then they are ready for spinning or dyeing. I hope to have some photos of that process to share with you soon.

As for me – I need to find a Mulberry Tree!

How to Make an e-reader Cover – a simple free pattern

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Here are some very simple instructions for making a personal and distinctive e-reader cover, with minimal sewing.  You could easily hand sew this, so you don’t even need to get your sewing machine out!

It could also be adapted to any rectangular object  you’d like to cover – just scale it down for your mobile, or even a  special notebook – I mean one made from paper that you actually write on – smile.

How to make an e-reader cover

(originally published in Country Homes  Interiors, but when I followed the link at the end of this post, I couldn’t actually find it on their site!)

 Create this slip-on sleeve from just three pieces of fabric.

You will need

  • Approx half a metre of your chosen fabric – or left over scraps from other projects.  You could even quilt them!  On the other hand if you want to buy some, do have a look at the fabrics I sell in the fabrics section of my etsy shop – HERE, and the fabrics section of julzcraftsupplies on ebay – HERE.
  • Matching thread
  • Tacking thread

The e-reader cover is made up of two main pieces, plus a gusset strip that joins the front and back. \ Michael A Hill

The e-reader cover is made up of two main pieces, plus a gusset strip that joins the front and back. (illustrations by Michael A Hill)

Step 1) Measure your e-reader and cut out two pieces of fabric to that size, adding 4cm to the width and 5cm to the height.

Step 2) Cut one 4cm-wide strip of fabric long enough to fit around the two longer edges and one short edge of the main pieces – this will form the gusset of the cover (see illustration)

Stitch a hem to finish. \ Michael A Hill

Stitch a hem to finish.

Step 3) Right sides facing and matching raw edges, pin one long edge of the strip around the two side and bottom edge of one of the main pieces. Stitch, taking a 1.5cm seam, trim and press open seam.

Step 4) Repeat to join the remaining main piece of fabric to the second long edge of the strip.

Step 5) To hem the top raw edge of the cover turn under 5mm then 2cm, press and stitch (see illustration).

If you do make one from these instructions, why not send me a picture of it and maybe I can add it to the next Gallery of Your Work!


 

source: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/articles/how-to-make-an-e-reader-cover-easy-sewing-instructions-craft-project-do-it-yourself-country-homes-interiors_530788.html

Winding Yarn into balls by hand – with or without a Nostepinne

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This is a very useful tutorial I found via Sheila Dixon’s Hand Spinning News, which has a video that takes the mystique out of how to use a Nostepinne, or any useful stick, to allow you to wind hand spun yarn, or just oddments of wool into tidy balls, manually.

It is copied directly from Roving Crafters – she calls them “cakes” – and she says on her blog that it can be freely copied – so I have!  I will be adding this to the i/sheet page so that you can always find it easily.


 

How to Hand Wind Yarn Into a Cake

Winding warn cakes

Confession #1: I like to wind yarn.

Its fun. Its an excuse to play with my yarn and when I wind up other knitters’ and crocheters’ yarn (I’ve been known to do that) I get to play with their yarn too. But its more than just play time. A nicely wound yarn cake will save you headache and frustration and make for a more pleasant knitting and crocheting experience.

A yarn cake sits flat on the table. It has a nice easy end to draw out of the center. If its done right, the yarn won’t tangle up and the cake won’t flop or bounce around. A yarn cake as a great and wonderful thing and nearly every yarn shop in the world will wind up your yarn into a cake with their ball winder.

But you don’t need a ball winder to make a yarn cake. You just need a stick. A dowel will work. So will a broom handle, a fat knitting needle, or the empty tube from your next roll of toilet paper. If you want to be fancy-pants about hand winding yarn, you can get a nostepinne. But only really hopeless yarn-geeks bother with those.

Confession #2: I own three nostepinnes.

small cake
I also own a ball winder but sometimes I make yarn cakes by hand and not just for fun. If I only have a small amount of yarn, say 50 yards or less, I wind it into a little cake using a small nostepinne thin stick. That works out much better.

 

 

 

 

Winding Yarn Into a Cake By Hand

 


 

Give it a try because it super easy. You’ll be making yarn cakes in no time at all and believe me, they are worth it. And grab yourself a copy of that yarn cake cozy pattern. Its a freebie and you’ll need something to carry your cakes in right? Right.

Also, if you like free stuff check out:

Enjoy!


Harris Tweed returns to Uig in the Hebrides

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From NEW 3D WEAVING in the last post to AN OLD WEAVING TRADITION getting a new life.

I am no Luddite, and I don’t actually know what the Hattersley Domestic Loom, used by Harris Tweed Weavers looks like, but I was thinking about the fact that I came across both these articles at the same time, and I chose to feature the NEW over the OLD first, and that weaving as a commercial enterprise, such as HARRIS TWEED has a long history.  

Luddites were the original movement that objected to the “new commercial looms” in the late 1700’s – I vaguely remember from my school history lessons on the Industrial Revolution.

Would someone like to contribute an INFORMATION SHEET (i/sheet) on the topic?


 

Copied verbatim from the Herald Scotland – you can see the original newspaper article HERE.

Harris Tweed weaving returns to old haunts

Harris Tweed weaving returns to old haunts

It is worn by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, showcased at Florentine and Parisian fashion shows and decorates everything from upmarket handbags and hotels to US motorcycle jackets.

But now Harris Tweed is rediscovering some of its own Hebridean roots with the return of weaving to the Uig area of Lewis for the first time in a quarter of a century.

And it is two young local men Domhnall Iain (D.I.) MacDonald in Gisla and Calum George Buchanan in Valtos who are leading its revival in communities on the west side of the island. There already are reports of considerable interest from others in the district who see weaving as a good means of earning their livelihoods locally.

For more than 50 years, Harris Tweed flourished in Uig. One of the last of the old weavers, Seonaidh Buchanan, recalls the first six Hattersley looms coming to Valtos in 1938. They cost £35 each and the weavers were paid £7 a tweed.

The Hattersley Domestic Loom was the mainstay of the industry for the best part of the 20th century.

First introduced to the islands after the First World War, the Hattersley Mark One, helped ex-servicemen who had lost hands and arms to earn a living through weaving. Its rate of production was superior to the wooden hand looms that preceded it and it was capable of weaving more complex patterns.

At the industry’s peak after the Second World War, there were 34 looms in the Valtos peninsula alone. In Uig as a whole, there were at least 100 weavers and for most of these families, the loom was the main source of income.

The industry went into sharp decline in the 1980s and the last of the Hattersley weavers in Uig retired in the early 1990s.

But Seonaidh’s son Calum George has been able to return to live in Valtos with his wife Mairi and infant son Fionnlagh because of the opportunity created by weaving. He already has his dad helping him at the painstaking business of tyIng in. “At first he wanted to find out if he could still do it. Now I can’t keep him away from it,” he said.

D.I. also had weaving in his family. His father and latterly his uncle in Gisla were weavers. D.I. continues to work two days a week for the council but says weaving gives him far more flexibility to be at home and help Ann with looking after their three year old son, Seumas, who already sits beside him as he weaves, watching every movement of the loom.

Neil MacLeod, chairman of the Harris Tweed Weavers Association, mentored Calum George, an effective way for new weavers to learn the skills. Neil said there are more than 60 people looking for looms, many of them working offshore and seeing this as a means of making their livings at home.

The chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, former Labour energy minister Brian Wilson, who lives in the Uig village of Mangersta, said: “It is great to see weaving back in Uig. This sums up why the Harris Tweed revival is so important.

“It allows weavers like D.I. and Calum George to remain in their own communities, earn good livelihoods and raise their families here. We just need to keep it going and ensure a strong, stable future for the industry”.

David Ross / Tuesday 11 August 2015 / Home News

Washing Wool – The Virginia Way! – from ‘Ten Good Sheep’

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shearing the sheep

shearing the sheep

This is a really amusingly written TUTORIAL which I will be adding to the i/sheet page and can also be found on my pinterest wool board.

Even if you don’t have your own sheep, or have raw fleece to wash, you should find yourself laughing as you read this!  It was written in 2013 and I found it on the Ten Good Sheep website.  They are in Virginia (USA).

One note about the washing machine she is using – its the old fashioned top loader – that can be stopped and started at any point along the cycle – please don’t use your modern front loader like this, altho some of them do have short cool wash cycles with optional low spin speeds, and you might get away with it.  On the other hand, if you WANT to felt the wool ……….smile!  PS:  See the comments section – some more info there!

 

The Prelude (in conversation form):Part One…“Huh, I wish the shearer would hurry up and get here.  It rained yesterday and the sheep are cleaner than they’ve been in weeks.”Part Two…(nine months later)“Huh, I’m glad we took those shearing classes.  Let’s wait until after the next rain and then shear them as soon as they’re dry so the wool will be cleaner.”Part Three…(nine months even later)“Huh, wait a minute…rain is nothing more than a lot of cold water…hmmmmm.”
Ok…so we were slow learners.
You’ll want some infrastructure for your wool washing career to run smoothly.
We’re serious about washing wool!
You will need:
A wool washing table.
Our original table used rabbit wire for the top (about 1/4″ wire mesh).  The new table uses rat wire (1/2 inch wire mesh).  We recommend rabbit wire and we’ll be replacing the top of this table.  Note the handy hook for your hose…you need a hose too.  (Or if you’re really green and have a way to do it, collect rainwater.)
Also – note the concrete blocks used with the original table for wash stands.
If you’re going to wash a lot of wool, use these.  You’ll thank us later.Set your table up where a lot of water hitting the ground won’t matter.  Or…re-use the water for your garden, etc.  It’s yucky, but the plants won’t mind.  Depending on when you schedule your shearing you can use less water.
Let the rain do the first washing.
And you’ll need:
A wash tub (relatively heavy duty plastic – it’ll be holding a lot of water).And a dirty fleece.
This one is natural charcoal colored Romney.  Wait til you see it when we’re done.  Gorgeous!
And you’ll need:
Uh…gloves.  You need rubber gloves.  And maybe just a bit of white wine.
Ok…let’s get down to business.
Fill your wash tub about 2/3 full of cold water from your hose.The wooden board is under our tub because we don’t have the concrete block wash stands set up in the middle of the back yard.
As your wash tub is filling, unroll your fleece and take a good look.  If your fleece has not been skirted, do it now.  Tear away any belly, neck, britch and generally yucky stuff.  Don’t throw this away though.  Use it for long lasting weed barrier under mulch.Use the washing table as a trampoline for your remaining fleece.
All kinds of stuff will bounce out of there and through the wire while the fleece is still dry.  Give it a good hard couple of throws on the top of the table.
Depending on the size of your fleece, divide it into manageable sections.
We separated this one into 2 pieces.
Some of our own sheep have enormous fleeces and we divide them into thirds.  You can wash a substantial amount at one time, but don’t crowd it too much.  You’ll develop a feel for how much is a good amount.
Here is 1/2 of the sticky fleece (it’s been in storage for 2 years!).  It was well skirted before storage so everything is ok.  Don’t store unskirted fleeces.  You’ll be sorry.Into the cold water we go…
Push your wool down into the water gently until it’s saturated.
You can walk away from it for a while if you want to.  10 minutes or 10 hours…we’ve done both.
See?  Look at all of that dirt floating its way out of the fleece.
Now we’re going to work the wool.
Don’t be afraid to move it around…but you don’t need to be too aggressive about it either.
We want to let the wool swish through the water…so grasp it and bring it up…
and down.  You only need to do it a few times and very gently.
When the water is fully saturated with sheep dirt…
SWOOSH!
You’ll be amazed at the difference in your fleece already.
As a side note:
If you see bubbles on the ground at this point it’s because the fleece is holding sheep sweat
(aka – suint) and lanolin.  Since a lot of this is water soluble, combined with water this makes
(sort of, kind of) its own natural soap.  Hence the bubbles.  Sheep bubbles!
Gather it up…
and squeeze…then squeeze again.

ROUND 2
You can already see quite an improvement in your fleece, can’t you?Refill your wash tub and get ready for more of the same exercise.Let your fleece drape back into the water…no need to bunch it.Let it float for a bit and then a little more up, down, up, down.
Let the water swish through the fleece.There is a difference between allowing the wool to swish and agitating.  Don’t agitate…swish.
Notice the water…murky but not disgusting.  We’re making progress.
When you think that this round of water has done the best it can do…
SWOOSH!
And squeeze it like you really mean it.Now we have a fork in the road.  What did your second wash look like?  It could be enough.
But for this particular fleece we’re going for…
ROUND 3
If you’re doing another round, you know what to do by now.Refill your wash tub and lay in your squeezed out fleece.Let it sit…or not.  And then a little more up, down, up, down.  Light swishing gets the job done – and you don’t have to do it a lot.
Now, check out the clarity of the water still in the wash tub.  That works for us.Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.Our work outside is done and this fleece is well on the road to being clean.  Let’s go inside…
Now that the majority of gross dirt is out of your fleece, it won’t hurt your washer to give it a hot soak.  Yes, the wool is still damp from squeezing out the cold water.
No, it won’t instantly felt in the hot water.
And you’re going to be turning OFF the washer so NO AGITATION will be happening.
Right?  RIGHT???  More on this soon.
We’re using Orvus Paste, which is a livestock soap used by 4H kids on their show animals.  You can get it/order it from farm and garden supply stores, or check online.  It’s concentrated.  It comes in the white container on the right, but the label is long since gone.  We use about 1/3 of a cup for a full washer of water.In the past we have used Dawn (dishwashing liquid).  Think about it…it’s a concentrated degreaser.  You can use Dawn if you’d like.  We’d use about 1/3 of a cup of that too if that’s the soap we were using.
With your fleece OUTSIDE of the washer in a bucket or other container…
fill ‘er up and make it HOT.
When the washer is full put your Orvus or Dawn in.  Let the water agitate for a few seconds to incorporate the soap throughout the water.  Putting the soap in before the washer is full will make for too many bubbles.  They’ll be harder to rinse out.THEN:PAY ATTENTION!
TURN THE WASHER OFF!
Seriously.In all of our years of fleece washing we have ruined only 1/3 of a fleece.  It was one of Shackle’s.  And the washer was only accidentally agitating for about 5 seconds.  Don’t do that!
Now that your washer’s water looks like this and
YOU HAVE MADE SURE THAT IT IS OFF…
Lay your damp fleece into the water…no need to bunch it up.
Doesn’t that look nice?
Now, since you’ve made sure that the washer is off, go ahead and shut the lid.
Relax for about a half hour or so.  That hot water will help to melt the remaining lanolin.
Now…with the washer still off, set it to the spin cycle.(Here’s where we have a small disclaimer.  Some spin cycles will throw cold water on the clothes from time to time for the first part of the cycle.  You DON’T want the washer to spray your wool with cold water!  Some washers don’t do this.  Our current wool washer – yes, we have one just for washing wool – doesn’t throw any cold water.  Our old washer did.  So here’s how we worked around that.  When you’re doing a load of laundry, camp out for the spin cycle.  Listen to your washer.  You’ll hear when – or if – it’s throwing water.  When we found where the spin cycle stopped the water throwing, we marked it with a small dot using a Sharpie pen.  Then we would always set the washer to the Sharpie pen dot instead of the beginning of the cycle.  Got it?)Go ahead and start your washer and let the water spin out.  It won’t hurt your wool because it isn’t agitating it.  When the cycle is done this is what you’ll see:
Ok, now depending on the breed of sheep that you’re working with, 1 wash may or may not be enough.  You’ll know.  It may need another soap session, or it may not.Either way…Take your fleece OUT of the washer and put it back in the bucket or whatever you were using to hold it.
DON’T LEAVE IT IN THE WASHER.Refill your washer with hot water.
Now you’ve got another fork in the road…
If you need another soap session, redo your previous steps…PAYING ATTENTION TO WHEN THE WASHER NEEDS TO BE ON OR OFF.If you don’t need another soap session your fleece is ready for the rinse water.  To our rinses we add about a cup or so of white vinegar.  This cuts the soap residue and restores the pH.  Also, we usually add in a bit of patchouli essential oil…or clove essential oil.  Yummy.  We can’t prove it but it’s our theory that the essential oil is somewhat of a natural moth repellent.  We have never had any moth problems to date.The rinse is identical in procedure to the wash – but without the soap.  Let it sit in the rinse water for a while with the lid down.  Then spin it out, just like before.When you’re all done, your wool washing table becomes your drying rack.  Take your wonderfully clean and soft fleece back outside, open it up onto the top of your washing table and let the air dry it perfectly.  Watch out for too brisk of a breeze…your wool will travel with it.

Ready for your reward?  You’ve worked hard for it…so enjoy!
Soft, fragrant (in a good way), lofty, ready to pick, card and spin.
And MUCH better than if a commercial woolen mill had done it for you.
We know…we’ve done it both ways.
So what’s next?
If you’re like us, you start all over again.
** One final disclaimer**
Our sheep are Romney/Columbia cross.  We know that this method works perfectly for our sheep and for similar breeds.  The finest fleece we have washed this way is Hog Island.  This is a rare breed sheep that was most notably from (wait for it) Hog Island.  This is one of the barrier islands off the coast of Virginia.  We have not washed merino, targhee, etc with this method.  Mostly because we have not had the opportunity to try it out.  This method *may not* be ideal for fine/super fine wool.  But being the wool renegades we are, we would at least give it a try on a small scale and make modifications if necessary.
It’s our guess that beginners who would benefit from this tutorial would not necessarily be using low micron count raw fleeces.  If you are a beginner using low micron count wool and you feel adventurous, try our method out on a small scale and let us know your findings.It’s our bet that the wool from any sheep benefits from being shorn after a good solid rain…so why not try?  The cleaner they are on the hoof, the less water you use after shearing.
Best of luck on your wool washing adventures!
Please do leave us a comment at mail@TenGoodSheep.com
…we’d appreciate your thoughts.
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