I'm still officially tired of all this silly cold weather. Yesterday's high of -6 felt warm and balmy! We've used so much wood already, I'm hoping we have enough to last until the spring. However, to distract myself from woodstove cleaning and loading, I decided to break out of the winter rut, and just get back to playing with fibre and colour. I have some Shetland fleece that I haven't been able to get clean. There is so much lanolin in it that by the time I start getting it out, the fleece is starting to felt up. I asked my friend Linda what she used because she sells fibre from her sheep. She put me on to a commercial degreaser from the hardware store. I figured it would be worth the $4 and change to try a handful.
The degreaser (orange Zep) comes with all sorts of horrid warnings, like keep away from sparks and to let sit for 1 minute on surfaces before removing, among them, but I put a small amount in a sink full of hot water and put in my handful of greasy fibre. I left it about 1 minute and I could visibly see the water get cloudy and icky. When I pulled the fibre out, there was a noticeable change. I washed it 2 times normally afterwards, with 2 rinses. The fibre is perfectly clean! It's soft, not overwashed and brittle. There isn't any felting at all. While I still despair at having to pick out the tons of VM, I'm thrilled with the fact that this fibre is clean and not sticky at all.