I spent most of yesterday (on and off) attempting to scour part of the Wensleydale fleece that Ro and I bought at Woolfest last year. It's been languishing in a plastic sheep feed sack (no not feed for plastic sheep; don't be smart) in Ro's garage. But I asked her to bring it to the match last weekend so I could have a go at scouring a longwool fleece.
You can see how it looked when I pulled it out of it's sack. I've seen cleaner fleeces but I would imagine it's pretty tricky keeping these babies clean with hair in lovely long ringlets. It's pretty greasy too; more so I'd think than the other fleeces I've processed at home. I decided to try the technique that the Yarn Harlot detailed on her blog here.
I won't go into a great deal of detail here as she does it so much better but it involves a roasting tin and the hob of the cooker and BIG LOTS OF WATER!
It wasn't an unqualifed success. As you can see there's still a quantity of crud left on the tips in places, but the bits that did come clean are absolutely gorgeous.
This is a close up of the butt ends; which did come clean. It's like angels hair and positively gleams in the light.
Here's a few locks that I combed out. I've subsequently read about another technique for scouring fleeces to maintain the structure of the locks on Spinning Spider Jenny's blog. So I may give that a try next time. Whichever method I use I reckon I need to spend more time teasing out the tips than I did this time.