Monday, November 14, 2011

Neglect and cormo

My poor blog has been quite neglected the past few years as I have gone through some big events in life; marriage, pregnancy, and this little lady!
Isabel Victoria (aka Izzie) is 5 months old now, and she's just the best baby ever. We are so thankful to have her in our lives.

She is starting to get better about amusing herself when I am home with her on my days off, so I'm finally back to getting some crafty things done! First up today, I worked on some box bags that I sell on my etsy store. I bought tons of Amy Butler fabric before I was pregnant and I'm slowly working my way through it all. I've been working on fine tuning my method for making these bags so they are a dimension I like. I'm hoping to put up a tutorial soon.

Then, wool!

I've had this big 'ol bag of gorgeous cormo wool for over a year now, so I decided it's at least time to make sure all the lanolin gets washed out of it. This is harder than it sounds, as cormo is chock full of the stuff and it does not want to leave! With the help of Ravelry, I think I've got it down now. The secret ingredient? Ammonia.

This is what I do to wash my cormo fleece:

I wash my wool in the sink in small batches and use one of the little plastic bins with holes in the side for washing. This allows water into the container, and enables you to drain the water out by just lifting the bin out of the water. You can also put a larger amount of wool in mesh laundry bags or tulle and use a top-loading washing machine. I use the washing machine method on less greasy wools, but it just wasn't cutting it for the cormo.

I pile 4-5 layers of locks inside my basket for washing. Then I fill my kitchen sink up with hot water and some dish soap. I use generic soap which is pretty basic. You just need to make sure that if you are using dawn or other brands that there are no 'enzymes' as these can affect the integrity of the wool.

When the sink is full, I slowly lower my basket into the water. I use a rubber glove or spatula to VERY GENTLY push the wool down into the water to ensure all the locks are soaked. I let the wool sit in the sink for a few minutes, then drain the water from the sink and lift the bin out to drain the water. Then I refill the sink again with soapy water for another wash cycle.

During this second wash cycle, I add just a splash of ammonia. It stinks to high heaven, be prepared :)

After draining the second wash cycle, I do two rinse cycles without the soap. During the first rinse cycle, I add another tiny splash of ammonia. During the second, a glug of vinegar. This balances the pH of the ammonia. I've never had any lingering odors left over from either the ammonia or vinegar, either.

Then I drain and dry the wool. Laying it on a towel on the floor near a fan works well, but I will often take my laundry drying rack and secure a mesh laundry bag to it as a drying surface. This allows air to reach under the wool too.

The ammonia really is the trick. Without it, I was left with wool that was clean, but still felt greasy from the lanolin and was kind of yucky to spin. Now my cormo is gorgeous, clean, soft, and grease-free! My favorite way to spin it is straight from the lock.

My batch for today is dry - I think I'll go spin some now while the baby is asleep!