Wet Felting With Wensleydale Locks, With Grease

IMG_0708This is a small amount of tub washed, first cut, Wensleydale locks I recently ordered.  I ordered 500g, so I have a lot of washing to do and it is best to do it in small amounts.  When I opened the bag, I could smell the whole farm!  When I took some out, I could feel that they were still greasy, and a bit dirty, with poop and everything.  I know that sounds icky to some people, but if you have ever changed a dirty diaper you are bound to get some poop on yourself at some point.  Besides, sheep eat grass.  I have never ordered tub washed locks before.  It was a bit cheaper than buying washed locks.  I had a look on YouTube to find a video on how to wash locks.  Luckily there was one by a lady who rears Teeswater and Wensleydale sheep who made a video.  It was not complicated and I managed to wash some in the kitchen sink.  The interesting thing was pulling them apart to lay them out to dry.  You really want to do this when they are still a bit wet.

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I was quite concerned about how fluffy the tops were, but the next morning most of them had crimped back up.  They still have a little bit of grease in them, but that will go away once they are dyed.  Also, the tips are still a little bit dirty.  I took a very small handful to wash and paid a bit more attention to the tips, which was better.  In any case, my people in the FB spinning group gave me some tips and told me that would all come out when dyeing.  They also smell less like the farm and more like sheep now.  I love how fluffy and curly they are.

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I had a go at felting them in the grease with 23micron natural merino.  I am not used to working with locks and you need to be really careful that you don’t felt them together.  I laid them out in rows and put some roving on top to anchor them down.  They felted in quite quickly.  Most of my felting and fulling was done on the back side.  The grey mat is drawer liner from B&Q and works really well for rubbing the felt.  I got the hubs to get me another one, but they changed the design, so not sure how well the new one will work.  This one is similar to the Ikea drawer liner, which I actually have in my drawers and shelves.  The difference between the two is that the bumps on the Ikea one are more rounded, while the B&Q one is flat.  I haven’t had any issues so far with it.  In any case, I am quite pleased with how they felted and how clean they got.  There is still a little bit of VM in them, but not its not very noticeable.  I am saving this sample for the dye pot.

You can see here how clean the washed locks are in comparison to them being just tub washed.  I still have about 400g to wash so I need to get cracking as I have some ideas on how to use them now. 🙂