This episode with the sinuses/eyes (both now much better) has prompted me to revisit the question of washing fleece. What is the aim of washing a fleece?
Several spinners announce that they always spin in the greece. There always seems a whif of purism (or is it defensiveness?) when this announcement is made. The question hangs in the air "so why do you waste time with all that washing and preparing when I get results just as good (or better ) without it?".
Well when I was landed with 19 fleece some years ago and had not a clue what to do with them, I read a lot - a whole lot. It was apparent that opinions differed. In the heel of the hunt, it seemed to me that experienced spinners who wanted to do a wide range of yarn types (i.e different weights and plys, wollen vs worsted etc) which was consitently even, went for washing fleece. They suggested that someone producing mostly the same yarn weight especially in large quantity over time might opt to go for the un-prepped fleece. Personally, from the spinning point of view, I find my own sheeps un-prepped fleece produced very thin spun yarn fairly consistently but not the thicker weights. I find the plucking and pulling with the unprepperd fleece a pain while spinning. I'd rather get the thing straightend out before hand.
However, the other aspect didn't seem to be addressed much i.e. the question of what the dirt does to the spinner - rather then the yarn.
After my recent experince with a moldy fleece , which didn't look "mouldy" to the very-naked eye, I see another reason for washing off the dirt - never mind the lanolin, as the dirt is a good place for bugs to grow (especially if in a warm, moist environment). This is especially important if I'm going to store the fleece over time - which I surely am.
Hence, Frekkie has been relieved of her clothing which was washed and spread on a rack and is now hanging in laundry bags. Divine ditto - but I regret shearing her so soon as she got stressed in the cold wet weather which arrived soon after and I had to give her some shots of calcium-magnesium and antibiotic. I'm glad to say she appears well enough as does her lamb since then. The short-wooled weather, Dopey aka Dopster, was next. He gives 3 bags full (though white) and his jacket is in the que for washing ASAP. The self-shearing, svelt ram looked on in amazement when he saw his constant and dominating companion, emerging a much small animal from his clothing and immediately tried to dominate Dopey , once poor fellow was let out of his bondage. He didn't get very far - Dopey is not that dopey really, wooly or naked.