Most crafters I know love working with raw materials, and I’d have to agree! It allows you to connect with your pieces in a different way—because you truly have to understand the texture, density, and fragility of the materials before you can start creating your art.
That said, working with raw wool can be a beast for beginners, especially if you’re not aware of the labor ahead of you. Some crafters don’t wash their wool at all. It’s something we call “getting in the grease” in our community. However, you should know that when we say “grease,” we mean, manure, bugs, dirt, dust, and anything else you might find on the animal. But hey, that’s the beauty of working with natural materials!
If you’re ready to take the next step and want to wash your wool yourself, I say go for it! But first, follow these simple tips to ensure this is a positive experience.
Wool Washing Tips
- Create a clean space.
Remember all that “grease” I talked about above? Well, the last thing you want is this mess to be spread all over your home. I would steer clear of the kitchen when preparing your fleece. You certainly don’t want this gunk flying all over the surface areas where your family eats. Instead, I would opt for a clean outdoor space, your shed, or even your garage!
- Start by skirting.
Skirting fleece involves cutting out any unfavorable pieces that you wouldn’t want part of your final creation. Whether the pieces are damaged or discolored, trim the material until you’re satisfied. Even if you buy high-quality fleece, there’s a chance that there will still be pieces that you’ll want to remove, so it’s always best practice to take a look for yourself.
- Be careful of felting.
All it takes is a little heat and some friction to turn your beautiful raw wool into felt! Don’t let this happen. When you’re rinsing your materials in hot water, make sure you’re not using the “washing” motion you would typically use when hand-washing garments. You also want to make sure that you’re not exposing the wool to drastic changes in temperature.
- The Soap matters
It is important to use the best wool Scouring Detergent to ensure the best results. We use and recommend Eccoscour.
Now that you have the first steps of preparing your wool, make sure to check out the video below! This step-by-step tutorial will tell you everything you need to know about washing your fleece.
My Business partner, Chris Armbrust of Shepherd Industries explains how to get your raw wool clean. And what’s even better is that this easy guide will also help you with a wide range of fibers—from sheep wool to alpaca and even llama. Check it out & let me know if this helps in the comments below!
Don’t you just love working with your hands? If you’re ready to master your craft, we’d love to have you in the Bear Creek Felting Academy! We’re a tight-knit community of crafters, and with video tutorials and feedback from me, you’ll harness the skills to make your craft dreams become a reality. Click here to learn more!