Friday, May 1, 2009

Wool Washing Day

This weekend the weather was sunny and warm. I had been contemplating the conundrum of washing wool, since we don't have a predictable supply of hot water. We have an on demand electric water heater, but once I happened to look at the meter box when it was operating, and I was astonished at how fast the meter wheel was spinning. Since then, I have been thinking of alternative ways to heat the large amounts of water that are required for washing the quantity of wool that I currently am shepherding.

My solution: the hot tub! Our wood fired hot tub holds mucho aqua and I can get it all hot with a pile of wood scraps and shavings from the shop. However, I wouldn't be very popular around here if I filled the actual hot tub with wool.. Instead I perched our portable utility sink next to the tub, and put a screen on the other side, then bucketed the hot water into the sink, washed a fleece while stoking the fire and keeping the tub water hot. I let the wool drip for awhile on the screen, then packed a bucket full of wool up to the washing machine and ran it through the spin cycle to extract the remaining water. It dried fast in the warm sun.