Mum and I bought some fleeces at Woolfest, we both spin, and I've experimented with carders before but this is the first time we've ventured in to doing things with a whole fleece. Now a small 1 bedroom flat in Sheffield is not the place to be doing things with a whole fleece so out of necessity all of the prep work is going to happen at my parents cottage in WAles.
However they are not on mains water so in the summer water can be a bit of a problem, when we had a very dry spell a few weeks back they did actually run their storage tank empty with the help of a hidden leaking pipe so washing 3 fleeces takes up rather more of the water supply than is ideal.
The hot water is also only heated by an immersion heater, so again producing large amounts of hot water to wash fleeces in is not economical.
This is where the Fermented Suint Method comes in. Basically you lob your fleece in to a barrel of rain water, the dissolved salts in the water make an alkali solution which reacts with the lanolin (fat) in the fleece and you make your own soap in the barrel the fleece is soaking in. The idea being it cleans out any dirt and also breaks down all the greece so at the end of a week you have a nice clean fleece. You can then use the same fluid to keep cleaning any other fleeces you have in a smaller amount of time. Good for the environment, and low work load!
Anyway, here's day 1.
Lots of dirt already has come out, but it is still greasy. No photo today (day 2) because it's pouring down, and I'm heading home after that but Mum has promised to take photos.