Use Sausages for washing fine wools.

Shown is a grease Polwarth fleece, a wool very nearly as fine as Merino. One "sausage" is complete, one needs to be tied, and one is just started. Step by step instructions are below.

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  1. Cut some pieces of nylon netting (illusion or tulle) about 15 inches/40 centimeters by 36 inches/1 meter.
  2. Lay one piece on a flat surface.
  3. Along one of the short edges, place 2 or 3 locks of wool taken from your fleece, tip to tip, about 1 inch/3 centimeters from the edge.
  4. Fold that edge of nylon over the wool, then roll the wool up a bit so it's all encased in netting.
  5. Lay another row of wool locks, roll up so it's all encased. Keep doing this until you're a couple inches from the other end.
  6. Roll the rest of the netting up.
  7. Secure the ends tightly with string--making sure you don't tie on top of the wool.
  8. Tie another string loosely around the 'sausage' where the tips of the locks meet--one time in the center if you're laying two locks end to end, two times, dividing the sausage in thirds, if you have three locks end to end.

You may now wash this wool in very hot water, or even dye it using immersion or microwave techniques, without having to worry about felting or waste due to the locks becoming disarranged. The nylon netting will not be melted or otherwise harmed by boiling water temperatueres. When you're done, just drain or spin out the excess water, hang or lay out to dry, cut the strings, and unroll the wool. The washed or dyed wool is ready to comb as soon as it dries.

This method may be used to prepare other fine fibers for washing or dyeing--for example, I've dyed angora rabbit fiber this way, with excellent results.

My thanks to the members of Fibernet, Ron Parker's email list devoted to the fiber arts, for suggesting this arrangement for washing fine wools.

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