Sunday, April 23, 2006

Washing Day

OK. I give in. I can't do it one day, that is. ;)

Right now I love my job. It's a great outlet for some of my creativity, keeps me meeting new people and best of turning into and awesome resource for free fiber. (Yes I said free!) Also I get great discounts on my animal supplies and yard and garden stuff too. The only hang up with the job is the split days off. Having split days off can be a challenge just in in scheduling family time with hubby and fun time with Mom, as well as juggling doctors appointments. You can almost forget scheduling craft projects that take a long time to complete. On rainy days I don't notice it as much....but boy, let the sun come out and just watch me whirl around!

Let's take today for example. The sun came out yesterday, a rare thing around here. It was accompanied by warmth, which was a pleasant surprise as well considering it hailed last weekend. Today it reappeared as if to say, "See. I do exist. Now get out in the yard!" Oh how happy I was thinking I'd get the lawn mowed, weed in the flower beds and maybe even wash the car! Then I was pulled into the "living room". There sat in glory three bags of raw fiber. Roughly 17 lbs of raw mohair and a full raw Oxford fleece. All free. All begging to be washed and dried.

Last night on the way home from work I stopped at the Dollar store and bought out their supply of small mesh bags, a 70' clothes line and some clothes pins. The plan was to sort out the mohair, wash in the bags and then hang on the clothes line on my deck to air dry. I read an article online about washing mohair and got to work sorting, very carefully lock by lock. About an 1/8 of the way into the bag, I thought something had to be very very wrong with my process. It was taking forever! I read a few more articles and found I was picking the locks apart way to meticulously. I gave it up for the night and went to bed.

This morning I started sorting again, but decided to test wash a few bags that I had sorted, just to make sure that I had the water hot enough and the process right. (I read that if you don't do it right, the "yolk" will adhere back onto the mohair and make a bigger mess. I didn't want that happening in my bathtub to be sure!) I pulled out my two largest pots and started boiling water. I filled the sink, adding the boiling water, stirred in my favorite "fleece" washing soap and dropped in the bags. I even covered the sink with metal cookie sheets to help the heat stay in. Hey, I remembered to start more water boiling for the next wash....I was doing great.

Where this all began to go wrong was my next decision.

See, that white Oxford fleece was sitting in the other room calling me. "Wash me! Wash me! There's nothing in the bathtub. I'll fit! You're already washing mohair....what about me? I smell better than the mohair.....come know you want to!" Ah.....the mind of a fiber addict. It's a sad thing when your own mind turns on you. Need I tell you the Oxford won? It hadn't been skirted so I shook it out, picked out the nastys--what little there were on it---sorted it out a bit and headed to the bathtub. At this point it's time to re-do the water in the sink for the mohair. (see above paragraph). Ok...filled tub half up, added favorite soap and turned on the electric timer to time the soak. I'll just say here that this is the last mention of the electric timer. I gave up on timing the various process as the beeping going off was driving me crazier than I already am.

Off I go to sort more mohair, at a quicker rate this time. I would take a "wash, rinse, repeat" break for either mohair or wool at various times. I even remembered to make something for us to eat right about noon. (Thank God I set the crock pot up with a roast in it or dinner would be delivered tonight!) unfortunately it took the third set of mohair bags going into the kitchen sink for me to think....."I could be doing this in the washer!". Ok, to be fair, the washer was working all morning doing the clothes and it had just gotten done.

I got the first half of the Oxford washed, rebagged, spun in the washer to remove most of the water and set the bag back into the laundry basket. Then I set the bathtub up for the other half of it. I moved from bathroom to washing machine to kitchen sink, boiling water all the time, just to keep up. Then I had a truly "inspired" idea. The sun is out. It is warm. I'll go weed during soaking cycles. (Ok, bad idea. I was busy enough, but sometimes I have to get hit in the head to catch on.) I came in from the flower bed to drain the Oxford, spin out the mohair for a hoped to be final rinse, and change out the sink for another hoped to be final rinse. Water running in bathroom, laundry room and kitchen sink. It was a dead certainty that I would forget one and it would overflow. Oh well, the kitchen counter needed to be cleaned anyway. At this point I decided to give up on the weeding for the day. The weeds are not going anywhere and I'll catch up with them on Wednesday, after a doctors appointment, before going to Mom's. Err... Yeah. heheh.

So I am willing to admit it. I can't do it all in one day. But......I did get the Oxford washed. And over 9 lbs of the mohair washed. Now.....lets hope the weather holds tomorrow so it can finish drying outside. Otherwise my small house is going to look like a white fluffy cloud. A clean one though! Oh man do I need a drum carder now!

The pictures attached to this post are of a different and more sane washing day. They show a washing of another freebie fleece I was given (three that day!) in my bathtub. I still have one of these to wash up, but that will have to be another day!

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