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Wool Care?

Understanding the wool fiber is the key

to protecting your time and money spent on a project.

     The wool fibre grows on the sheep's back in a Zig Zag pattern. It is stretched out straight, when it is spun and also twisted into a helix. The first Spin we refer to as a Ply strand. This is then spun together with several more strands. Basically 4 ply means, 4 of these strands, which are spun together.
There is always the tension of the original fiber inherent in the finished yarn that wants to revert back to its original shape. Added to that, we must remember that wool is a Protein, and like any cut of meat dropped into boiling water, it will shrink into a ball and toughen up.
To avoid shrinkage wool Must be treated Gently, with Great Respect.

The RULES are:

  • Treat it with Great Respect
  • No Hot Water
  • No Detergent
  • No Tumble drying
  • No sudden temprature change (cold rinse)

   Warm hand wash in mild soap flakes, no rubbing, just gently squeeze the soap through a dirty spot in the textile. Warm rinse, No sudden temperature change, to Shock it.



   Allow your garment to sit in the basin for 10 minutes to drain, then squeeze excess water out by hand, never Wring it, as that will stretch it unevenly.

   Lay it flat on a large towel, roll it up and gently squeeze as much water out as you can. Repeat with a fresh dry towell and leave in rolled up in the towel for another 10 minutes.

Lay flat to dry in the shade, to stop colours from fading. Turn over when the top feels almost dry.

(I do this on a frame of PVC conduit, over which is stretched some shade cloth. This allows air to pass through and dry garments faster.)

   Working in wool is both worth the effort and expense. It's easy to work as it offers no resistance; by that I mean it glides off the tools with ease.
In use, wool breathes well and self regulates humidity, and it is by far warmer than acrylic. Why would you make a winter garment from anything else. I would rather have one good wool jumper than ten plastic ones.

Notes on Machine washing of wool.

  One of the problems with machine washing, even on the Delicate / Wool setting is a Cold Rinse. If you can control rinse temperature (in modern machines you can) then it’s Ok to machine wash. Spin dry can also stretch a garment out of shape so lay the wool on one side of the tub and a wet towel on the other side to balance the machine. 


   You can't simply throw a wool garment in the machine and go shopping. You have to obey the first rule of ; Treat it with Great Respect; and keep an eye on the wash progress.

   These days you can buy wool labelled as Machine Wash. I've made socks for myself from it and it's good stuff. It stands up to the punishment of a normal wash cycle. The downside is that the chioce colours available is dismal. One day wool manufactors will see the light on the subject of colour in machine wash wool.