Wool nepps tutorial – How to make them yourself

My wool nepps are the first 3, on the tape measure. The 4th is generally what is available online for purchase.
My wool nepps are the first 3, on the tape measure.
The 4th wool nepp, is generally what is available online for purchase.
Wool nepps a tutorial, well, a curly wool nepp. It’s a start, and just my style, easy and cute

I have searched the web far and wide about how to make wool nepps on my own. I’ve seen, where to but them how to use them, but…

I can’t seem to find a tutorial, on how to make my own wool nepps. So after my hydrogen peroxide trial went so well, it gave me an idea for another experiment.

Wool nepps are considered a by product, waste, second cuts. Naturally, the fiber folks are smart people and took those little bits of waste and made them a fun add in. I think where fiber is concerned, we find ways to ascertain nothing is wasted. Again, everything has it’s place, and these nepps become these cute, tiny wool sprinkles, by dying them bright colors, and adding to artisan batts or yarns. Maybe needle felt eyes on a toy, etc,… No waste!!

Cleaned lock with dirty tips...
Cleaned Corriedale lock with dirty tips…
I had washed a fleece, it was clean but a few locks had the tips stuck together by dirt. This time, I was undeniably, too lazy to wait for locks to take a swim in the hydrogen peroxide, and then dry. Instead, I decided to clip the dirty tip off as I spun, instantly opening up the lock for spinning. Fibers are all aligned in these locks, since they are grown side by side. That dirty tip being clipped off and gone, the lock opens up instantly, without any flicking, and ready for instant, top-like spinning.

Clip dirty tips off clean locks, and add into a tub until you have filled the tub enough to make it worth the next step... Or maybe until you are out of dirty tips
Clip dirty tips off clean locks, and add into a tub until you have filled the tub enough to make it worth the next step… Or maybe until you are out of dirty tips
I started saving my clipped tip pieces in a tub and once I had a good amount, I thought these, yes, these could be nepps.

The picture shows my little clipped lock tips next to the bright white lock it was clipped from, for reference. They were dirty, and unwelcome in my white yarn. We know how to clean these clippings effortlessly, no problem, with that hydrogen peroxide soak.

My pile of dirty tips ready for a soak, next to the white locks I'm left with
My pile of dirty tips ready for a soak, next to the white locks I’m left with
First things first, I plopped them into my hydrogen peroxide to melt off the dirt as I learned(see earlier blog here)

https://everythingfiberarts.com/2014/06/15/stain-removal-from-my-lovely-locks/

and let the magic happen, after the 24 hours were up…

Tips in hydrogen peroxide soak for 24 hours
Tips in hydrogen peroxide soak for 24 hours
I emptied the container and rinsed my little pieces of wool, in some room temp/cool water, and set them on the rack to dry.

After drying I was left with mini curl nepps - dime for size reference
After drying I was left with mini curl nepps – dime for size reference
They turned out to be mini curls, little white tips and I must say, I think they are cute as ever, not the nepp ball I’m used to seeing but an awesome add in, so next up, a quick dye job, when dying other fleece . No extra steps to dye when I’m already doing a batch of dying something and BAM!

Curly nepps
Curly nepps
I have a new add in that otherwise would have been waste, it doesn’t look exactly like a nepp ball, but I must say, just as cute, if not cuter, then the usual round balls on the market.
I adore the little curl.

Left - nepps purchased online But from the royal blue, Kelly green, and chartreuse are all mine :)
Left – nepps purchased online
But from the royal blue, Kelly green, and chartreuse are all mine 🙂
Next time you are spinning by the lock, if you don’t want to wait for the hydrogen peroxide method, maybe try clipping that tip off, and saving them until you have a good amount, do the easy soak, rinse, dry, and dye (unless white is good for the project, leave as is)

Homemade nepps, the curls are darling! if I do say so myself
Homemade nepps, the curls are darling!
if I do say so myself (again nepps to the left were online purchase)
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This is as close to a nepp as I got with minimal, very minimal work. It actually, saved time snipping the lock tip as I spun and saving up my dirty tips for future nepps, I gotta say I’m pretty pleased with myself. The hydrogen peroxide bath really isn’t work. Not quite the nepp balls that can be bought, but tiny sprinkled curls, still cute.
I bet I could run them through the dryer wet and have balls, but that’s more work then I want to put into my nepps, however, I have to say I really do like the curls I got. Although, I suspect, results will vary depending on fleece type, and how fine/coarse curly/crimpy the fiber is you try this with. All in all, should I end up with dirty tips from any fleece, they will now be trimmed for future nepp styles, colors, really the possibilities are endless…

I think they turned out awesome for a first try, again super easy... And no wasted wool
I think they turned out awesome for a first try, again super easy… And no wasted wool
I suppose I will have to show them in an art batt or maybe even some finished handspun! 🙂

what do you think? Will you ever give this a try? Make your own wool nepps and save a little wool, that’d otherwise be trashed.

Handspun Adventures 6/26/2014 Neon Sunset special

Neon sunset polworth silk with teeswater curl add ins 214 yards of happy
Neon sunset polworth silk with teeswater curl add ins
214 yards of happy
This handspun is made with Blue Barn Fibers polworth/silk rolags in the neon sunset colorway. With teeswater curl add ins, also from Blue Barn Fiber, in the neon sunset colorway.

I did end up with some barberpoling while plying, however, when woven or knit up I think the barberpoling will help the transition when moving from one color to the next. It is actually pretty finely spun pre soak, which came out to a 13-14WPI off the wheel.

Pre soak 13-14 WPI
Pre soak 13-14 WPI
Polworth has an amazing way of poofing up after a soak and set.

Drying in the sun - that luster in that lock in the middle is indicative of why I love an amazing teeswater... Teeswater top vs teeswater locks, is a completely different experience. I prefer the lock, for sure.
Drying in the sun – that luster in that lock in the middle is indicative of why I love an amazing teeswater… Teeswater top vs teeswater locks, is a completely different experience. I prefer the lock, for sure.
Which ended me up with a 10-12WPI yarn, stuffed consistently with the teeswater locks throughout.

post soak 10-12 WPI that polworth really fluffs
post soak 10-12 WPI that polworth really fluffs
I left a long beginning and end to the yarn without any locks. Ultimately, the idea of a thinly woven scarf is what I have in mind for this very special yarn.

I love how the colors are so incredibly bright. The purple melts into pinks, into neon peaches once mixed with the tangerine orange, and finally into a bright happy yellow. The way I chose to spin one rolag to the next, matching up the rolags colors, end to end, giving it longer color repeats. I see it being the perfect weft. I ended up with approx 214yards with 2oz of the rolags, and 1oz of teeswater, which didn’t play a part in the yardage the way it was used.

On the niddy noddy
On the niddy noddy
214 yards is quite a bit to work with…

It’s serendipitous the day I finished this handspun, is the day I get notified that my loom is shipping. What are the odds, that as I’m winding this yarn on my niddy noddy, after months of spinning it, is exactly when I find out my Schacht Flip loom is on it’s way? (The loom was ordered from schacht before my birthday may 10th, and an month and a half later it’s on it’s way)
I’ll need to practice a little on the loom prior to using such a special yarn, which is fine, as this will give me time to think about a warp.

For now, neon sunset special is going to decorate my handspun wall.

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Every time I see it’s bright happy colors, with the matching perfect curls, it just makes me happy, just being yarn, so I’m not in any rush…. Well, not until I have that perfect warp figured out.

All the rage over Namaste Farms new products, my favorite being Dirty Bastard

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Last night on Namaste Farms Blog Talk Radio show, Natalie and Kimberly, the shows hilarious duo, discuss Namaste Farms latest products, one of them, aptly named, DIRTY BASTARD. True to form and comedic style..

You can listen to the show which aired 6/19/2014 here….
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/namaste-farms/2014/06/20/natalie-redding-and-kimberly-mcalindin-talk-you-dirty-dog

Natalie talks about her new product, Dirty Bastard! (A pretreatment to an also new wool shampoo)
I think it’s pretty clear we are all excited about the results she is getting on her dirtiest, greasiest, felted, stinky, think of the worst (yes, she even mentions male cat urine that had sprayed and ruined her fleece, was saved from the trash) sheep ram eau du toilette, more, more, etc etc fleeces all brilliantly washed squeaky clean without losing the handle, that so often, over scouring can become problematic, in these cases. Now, looks like we have a solution. We have needed an amazing wool wash, and I think we can all agree, this product can’t come out soon enough. Here is the difference, the wash is a shampoo.

Let me tell you, from the description, the wool shampoo, is amazing. It doesn’t require the large amounts of water we are all so used to. What’s crazy is, we heard mostly about Dirty Bastard, which is a rescue, if the wool shampoo is just as awesome, we are going to have even more beautiful fleeces, and less mistakes being made. Making your raw, dirty wool – even more clean and gorgeous, without losing that handle.

Even if you have a real mess of a fleece on your hands, even if you have felted your wool in previous washings, from other soap options we have had, being a little over zealous, trying to get your fleeces clean, Dirty Bastard is a rescue, and can save us the frustration and our fleece, in a single use.

A pre treatment, that actually can and will, unfelt ones accident, and get those locks back into your control. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this.
After you listen to the show, you will too. Strange as it sounds, if you deal with fleece, locks, dyeing, fiber period, you will be saying,

“Omg I want Dirty Bastard”.

This is game changing, my fiber, fleece and lock loving, friends. It’s a water saving, make your magnificent fleece glow clean bright and fresh, game changer.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more info, and of course, its release.
These products can’t come soon enough. Listen to the show for more info, I won’t say it all here, go listen to the link above.
Namaste Farms, my mind is blown. I can’t wait.

Blue Barn Fiber – Neon Sunset handspun, Buttersilk and more…

Blue Barn Fibers Neon sunset colorway Polworth silk rolags and Teeswater locks!!!!
Blue Barn Fibers
Neon sunset colorway
Polworth silk rolags and
Teeswater locks!!!!
Blue Barn Fiber http://www.bluebarnfiber.com

I was window shopping etsy, as I sometimes do…
The new thing had been rolags and punis on the podcasts I’d been listening to as of late. I was scrolling along and literally was stopped dead in my tracks, by these colors.

Blue Barn Fiber neon sunset -polworth silk rolags
Blue Barn Fiber
neon sunset -polworth silk rolags
Gorgeous, amazing, happy, bright, colors. Several colors that each blended perfectly to the next all rolled up in a nice neat rolag form.
The colorway was called, Neon Sunset. I had the choice two different silk blended wool fibers. I chose the polworth, as it’s my favorite. I had also bfl/silk to choose had I wanted, they were both awesome, but again, polworth has a puff factor I love. So I had to have the polworth/silk rolags.  Immediately, if not sooner. Naturally, I ordered.

The box came neatly wrapped in tissue paper, as initially I had plans, to split half and half. Holly, one of the two the proprietors of Blue Barn Fiber (the other being her husband, Dan), had separated them for me and wrapped each ounce already separated, as I initially planned to share half, lol. However, once in my possession, I couldn’t let it go. That’s right, I kept it all totally selfishly for myself. And guess what… I’m not sorry, lol.

Shortly after that purchase, she decided to offer the same colorway, in choices of, mohair or teeswater locks. Once again, immediately, I ordered the teeswater locks.

Neon sunset teeswater locks... I couldn't pass it up, it was a pair, the rolags and locks... They were meant to be together, it was fate. One should never tempt fate. Far be it for me, to tempt fate, I won't do it. Fate... I love you, and blue barn fiber :)
Neon sunset teeswater locks…
I couldn’t pass it up, it was a pair, the rolags and locks… They were meant to be together, it was fate. One should never tempt fate. Far be it for me, to tempt fate, I won’t do it.
Fate… I love you, and blue barn fiber 🙂
Let me tell you, I have a stash. A large stash. This went on the wheel next. Look at these colors, I had no other choice. I had 6 rolags total, so I spun 3 colors going end to end very thin, with the plan to spin the other half the same thinness with the teeswater locks, in the matching color or as close to it locked in the twist.

First bobbin of rolags, spun thin. 3 rolags
First bobbin of rolags, spun thin.
3 rolags
Basically, as I spin, I split the single in two and put the lock inside at the middle of the lock, and continue spinning. It’s in there pretty good, but my hopes are the plying will lock it in that much better. I’m also spinning the other rolags end to end same as the first single, ideally, the colors will meet up and if I have some barber poling happen, that’s okay as it’ll lead into the next color. This is a double first for me as, I’ve never spun rolags before this. Rolags, at least, blue barn fibers rolags are smooth sailing, just dreamy to draft thick or thin spinning can be done easily, but I love yardage. So, thin it is. Second, I’ve never spun handspun like this, one normal ply, and the other ply with teeswater locks. Both very thin singles. I’m interested to see how this turns out.

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We will both be surprised. I’ve taken lots of photos along the way. This teeswater lock adding is very very time consuming. But I’m enjoying every second of it. I’m thrilled to see it turn out. I’m writing this as I spin, so the actual outcome is a total mystery to me at this point.

Rolags with teeswater locks spun in I love the silky locks
Rolags with teeswater locks spun in
I love the silky locks
On another note, while making my second order with Blue Barn Fiber, ordering the teeswater, I decided it was high time I see what sari silk is all about. Playing with it in batts, corespinning, you know, just really getting a feel for it. So I ordered that at this time, as well. I had written her some notes through etsy asking questions. Holly was so patient, thorough, and sweet. Excellent customer service. I mentioned how rolags were new to me, also the sari silk, stainless steel, qiviut, rose pearl fiber… You can imagine my Squeeee when I opened my box of teeswater locks in neon sunset and sari silk, to also find samples of the stainless steel, her BUTTERSILK™, camel down, and you won’t believe this, but, qiviut!!!!

The samples that were sent so exciting
The samples that were sent so exciting
Yes, Holly, sent me qiviut. The most coveted, and one of the most expensive fibers around.
I still can’t believe it. But before I go further on the qiviut, because qiviut has a reputation all it’s own. Let me tell you, the Buttersilk™ is freaking amazing. Honestly, I doubt I will ever buy sari silk again, because the Buttersilk™ just melts in your hands.

Blue Barn Fiber  Buttersilk These are just four of the many colors she offers... And if you have a color in mind, that's not there, not already made, seriously just message her and she does her best to make it happen
Blue Barn Fiber
Buttersilk
These are just four of the many colors she offers… And if you have a color in mind, that’s not there, not already made, seriously just message her and she does her best to make it happen
It’s hand pulled sari silk, mixed with mulberry silk, and more, more, more. It sparkles and it’s soft literally like butter in your hands. Like, chocolate that has sat in a hot car melts in your hands. Soooooo silky soft with the sari silk factor. It’s amazing.

See the difference between sari silk on left and buttersilk on right It's a huuuuge difference
See the difference between sari silk on left and buttersilk on right
It’s a huuuuge difference
A little goes a long way, it comes in multiple colors and the price can’t be beaten. It had been on sale, so I bought a few more colors, and as if that wasn’t enough, if you had a special color in mind I have no doubt, she would make it just for you, each customer is special. Her etsy shop is chock full of a fiber artists dream.
She sells in bulk too for cheaper pricing, for those wanting to make larger projects or I imagine for other fiber artists to use and sell in smaller quantities to make money…. This shop is for everyone. It’s obviously a favorite of mine, and others as well , as she sells out of items at times. No worries on that either, she restocks quickly, and a quick message to her about what your needs are and she makes it happen.
The customer service, is perfect, I feel like a special VIP customer every single time I shop, from the first time, to several purchases later.

Blue Barn Fiber products, always impeccable. Nothing but the best quality fibers. Example, the dyed teeswater I bought was sourced from Namaste Farms. Namaste Farms has the best teeswater out there and let me tell you as her customer also, good fiber is not cheap. That is my point. She sources the best quality fibers available.

The stainless steel, I can’t wait to make a little yarn skein for glove fingertips to be able to enjoy touch screens without the need to remove a glove. I understand a little of this fiber goes a loooong way.

Stainless steel fiber - a great add in, that will work with touch screens
Stainless steel fiber – a great add in, that will work with touch screens

It’s definately a fiber that needs to be blended with something else. Another blog post when I use this fiber for sure!!! Touchscreen gloves for gifts are going to be total winners! I have an awesome idea for this, I will share before the holidays.

The qiviut will also get it’s own blog post when I experience that, however, I’ve never heard of bad qiviut, and this sample she surprised me with matches all the great things I’ve heard about this fiber. It’s so soft I almost can’t feel it. Although I saved this for last to touch it’s insane. This is one of those precious fibers people tend to wait on using… Are you one of those?
Clearly, I need more. See, that’s my thing, I can’t use what I have until I have more. Soooo, a qiviut purchase from Blue Barn Fiber might need to happen prior to testing this. I can’t be left with none after using up the sample, sheesh. Just enough to spin a very fine 2 ply that I can make a cowl or I believe it’s called a smoke ring? You know, the cowl, that can go over the head?
Also, do I blend? Or do I go full on quiviut? I’m thinkin full on quiviut… We only live once and it’s an heirloom piece. Right?! Mmmmmm qiviut. I feel like Homer Simpson talking about donuts or beer.

Now, they have glow in the dark fiber, it’s a nylon type fiber so while I haven’t tried it yet, that is just awesome!!

Glow in the dark fluff - no it's not too early to start that Halloween project
Glow in the dark fluff – no it’s not too early to start that Halloween project
Add it on the trim of a child’s hat and charge it up under some light before a walk at night, and safety increases. This fiber in a project, glowing away is going to be a conversation piece in any dark room. Anyone, who doesn’t think a handmade glow in the dark accessory isn’t awesome, really isn’t worth your time. Lol this is better bait than that schmatzch.com dating site, or whatever it’s called anyday. Also imagine for a baby blanket, little stitches, here and there, like stars, when the lights go out for bed. It glows in the dark of course it’s magic, everyone knows that. Especially kids, and grown ups, like myself.

Last, but, certainly not least, a little more about the brains behind such a cool website/store, … Holly got her degree in Environmental Science and is very sensitive to keeping the earth healthy and green. Additionally, she works as a graphic designer but has the etsy shop with her husband ultimately planning to farm and fiber full time. We need our farmers, we’ve lost too many already. Blue Barn Fiber’s love of the earth, renewable resources, fiber, and animals is shown again and again.
In saying that, they only purchase cruelty free fiber.
Dan and Holly are awesome. Their website can lead you to everything and has pictures and links needed. You have to check out there website! They literally sell a zillion different items, lots of fiber in all kinds of breeds and animal plant and recyclable materials, tools, etc etc, if you are looking for something particular you don’t see, just message, and they will do whatever they can to obtain your wish…. Just like a fiber fairy who lives in a blue barn.

GO NOW, you won’t be sorry and try the Buttersilk™ It’s love and heaven in fiber form.

http://www.bluebarnfiber.com

Or go directly to their etsy shop

https://www.etsy.com/shop/bluebarnfiber

They are the epitome of everything fiber arts, you want to try. I love this shop period, love!!!! LOVE!!!

I’m currently plying my neon sunset and hope to have it pictured before the day is over. Go check that shop out, any questions, seriously amazing amazing place to find the newest fiber on the market, including inventing her own fiber blends that’s are to die for…. Literally, clouds of heaven are being sold in her shop. image

Fibers available now are amazing

I have heard of how in the past, there was not much of a selection…
Well fiber friends, that has changed by leaps and bounds. We have fibers to spin, made from everything from stainless steel, to glow in the dark fiber, to rose fiber (yes, fiber made of crushed rose stems, that has a pearl sheen, and a faint rose scent) oh, did I mention pearl? Because, yes, they also have fiber with ground pearl dust that is infused into the fiber. Are you kidding me?!

Glow in the dark
Stainless steel fiber to make your yarns work with touch screen!
We have beautiful natural colors growing on animals that are new, and colors that are neon bright, due to brilliant hand dyed fiber artists who have amazing color sense.

Now, fiber is grown by farmers with spinners in mind, no longer just a by product, as with several breeds, in the past.

Sheep are coated to keep their fleece free of vegetable matter and sun damage. A very labor intensive process of changing the coat as the sheep and fleece grow. Shown in this photo is a coated Namaste Farms teeswater.

 Although we still have many fiber growing animals where the fleece is a by product, the word is spreading. As spinners, we know all fiber has it’s place, it can all be used for something, somewhere. I am just in love with the new products that are coming out as time passes. We are so lucky, to be fiber lovers at this moment, and it’s only going to get better for our future people inclined to be of the fiber addicted persuasion. WE ARE SO LUCKY!! And I plan to show such fiber in future posts! Websites, blogs, shops, Independent dyers, fiber artists, fiber products, both new and old.  (I say old as, it could have been around for several years, but if I’m just discovering it, then just maybe, an oldie but goodie, will be new for you as well) This is an amazing time for us… We are gaining power in numbers, and how can new people coming across soft fluff, not want more.
Knitting, crocheting, fiber arts etc is already shown to be healthy for people. Clinical studies being done show this. I saw this video and had to share.

check out this video… How fortunate we are!!

Stain removal from my lovely locks

 

Stained white locks before and after hydrogen peroxide use. Examples of stains on the far left 3 results of each stain placed to the left of our starting point . The results are fascinating!
Stained white locks before and after hydrogen peroxide use.
Examples of stains on the far left
3 results of each stain placed to the left of our starting point .
The results are fascinating!

The following is an experiment I wanted to test out if it worked.

But I want to strongly advise if anyone tries this for them self, to test a lock or two and see if you are happy with the results on a test lock before doing an entire fleece.

I used Corriedale in my experiment with regular drug store hydrogen peroxide I checked at 10min and 24 hours. I didn’t experience any deterioration in the lock, but the science shows it can break down fibers. I don’t know how it would effect fine wool so make sure 

Before trying this to test a lock first. Even 10min produced results so 24 hours may not be necessary. I didn’t dilute the hydrogen peroxide for my test, however it was a very low percentage. For instance, it wasn’t using a high peroxide strength that is used to professionally bleach your hair, we all know that damages no two ways about it.

My experiments on a medium wool came out with results I was very happy with. I wouldn’t do this on an entire fleece as personally I would rather dye it.

Where I would use this technique? 

if in a finished yarn I had noticeable yellowing in a small portion and it was very apparent in contrast to the white I might try this to fix that.

If I had long locks that were very white and I had some stubborn dirt.

I would always test a lock first and use the minimum amount needed to get the job done. 

Low concentration of hydrogen peroxide, maybe dilute with water if that was a concern and to check often if ten minutes is all it needs. I did take photos at 10 min and 24 hours to share my experience.

Again this was an experiment but only using one type of fleece that was a medium wool and I didn’t have any notable breakdown in strength when compared to my control lock.

I could have very different results with different fleece so if anyone decides to try this, I would say to make sure to test a lock and use the least amount of product and time required to achieve results.

Everyone knows the less we put our fiber through the better.

This experiment did work for me with no problems, but I would always test again were I to have stains I want to remove from fleece.

Remember this was an experiment that I tried and wanted to share my results. 

It’s not necessary to do. I can always overdye stains. But it’s nice to know I have another option to try if I want to whiten fleece

Majority of my knowledge comes from the internet. That said, there is one person in particular I have learned a lot from . There are many fiber artists that teach and are wonderful. They show tried and true techniques and are famous for being leaders in our world of  fiber arts. I have books from several of these people. This experiment I am trying I learned from Natalie Redding, of Namaste Farms.
She can be found at http://www.namastefarms.com, where it will lead you to a myriad of information. In addition to her own professional website, she has a YouTube channel, livestream account, a blog talk radio show that airs every Thursday night at 6pm PST, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, google plus, oh and a season of her own reality show on Nat Geo Wild called Shear Madness, with Springcast shows that followed each Shear Madness episode. I’m sure I’m forgetting more somewhere. She is truly inspiring when it comes to fiber arts.

It was, Namaste Farms YouTube videos, that inspired me to start spinning. She made high end handspun yarn, for http://www.yarnmarket.com, using rare breed wool and long locks from her prize winning flock of sheep and goats. Her yarn is gorgeous and fun, and she shared special techniques, like ways to make locks longer without having, the hard to find, expensive to purchase, extreme long locks that grow on the sheep only once in the their lifetime.

She shared lessons she learned, from the hard knocks only experience and mistakes can bring. Proprietary information, that made her gorgeous yarn, she willingly shares with the public. I soaked it all up, I watched over and over. She made everything look so easy, and for Natalie, after producing these yarns 100’s of times, I’m sure it was easy, but when I would try, I didn’t catch on to everything the first try.

She has a special touch. You should see her beat the side of her house with a skein of yarn, it’s insane looking, but the results are magical. That technique I got down pat, my husband usually tells me to “keep it down, what will the neighbors think”… And I respond, “they think you are my submissive and getting what you asked for, now kiss my feet, lol” he covers his face, shaking his head, saying “what am I going to do with this woman” anyways, on to stain removal.

She put out a little piece of info that I had to try. Hydrogen peroxide removes stains from your precious wool locks.

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Ever have a fleece that is so gorgeous, so amazing, that you wash it lock by lock? I got some of that. A pound here, a pound there, different breeds of gorgeous raw locks, that I want kept in lock formation. After washing the locks, carefully, clean as usual, I was left with a very few that had these stubborn stains.
I decided to give this, hydrogen peroxide soak, a try with a few locks to see if it worked, and here are my results…

Dirty tips, next to a clean sample I wanted them to look like, these are from different parts of the fleece, but the clean lock is my control sample
Dirty tips, next to a clean sample I wanted them to look like, these are from different parts of the fleece, but the clean lock is my control sample, I also kept a dirty lock back, for before and after ,along with my all white, control sample I’m aiming for
ok, as you see in the picture I have brown stained dirty tips, with my control sample, showing, what the aim is. I filled a small tub with hydrogen peroxide, and gently laid my precious, brown tip stained lock. Now to wait. I’d give it over night, but I couldn’t help but peaking in.

Only half the lock in hydrogen peroxide and it's doing something already not quite fizzing but the tips unlocked in seconds
Only half the lock in hydrogen peroxide and it’s doing something already not quite fizzing but the tips unlocked in seconds
Something was already happening in the first few seconds..  I had a good feeling about this. But, my curiosity, had me look…. Again.

It's all in,  24 hours to go
10 minutes later, I had to see what’s happening. Hmmm, I see that It’s all in, ok then,  24 hours to go
ok so this photo above, is only 10 minutes later and it’s all in. Now, I had to put it away, and wait. I put a lid on it, to prevent, rather, try to deter myself from being ridiculous about checking.  The next day came, finally, and it was time to check my dirty tipped lock, and here is what it looked like.

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Dirty tipped lock out of the hydrogen peroxide pre rinse-check out what’s left behind in the tub

Already an improvement from my control dirty tipped lock, but will it measure up to the white
Already an improvement from my control dirty tipped lock, but will it measure up to the white lock far left, look at that tub liquid, eww,
Next, time to wash and dry, hydrogen peroxide treated lock. Again reminding readers, patience, is not my best quality, but good things come to those who wait. Hmm, maybe , I should work on that crochet blanket that got me into this yarn enslavement, and finish it. But if I keep it in UFO status (unfinished object)forever, it will still always be new, I love that blanket, look what it started. If I finished it, it might get used and ratty, or dirty…. Although, this is workin prettttty dang good, lol, so far.

Pictured from left to right, clean white control lock (what I'm aiming for, dirty lock pre hydrogen peroxide, and post HP soak
Pictured from left to right, clean white control lock (what I’m aiming for, dirty lock pre hydrogen peroxide, and post HP soak
This tested lock(the lock right next to the tub), after rinse and dry, is completely 100% white. And you can see the muck it took off in the bowl.

after a good rinse, and dry, the results are even more dramatic.

see picture below of results of that show completely dry, picture describes which lock is which. I’m not only pleased, I’m actually surprised.

i didn’t expect this much of a before and after

 

 

Look at the the result, isn't that insane! I was so pleased. HP swim lock on the left, clean control lock on the right. Wow, much more than I expected
Look at the the result, isn’t that insane! I was so pleased. HP tubbed lock on the left, clean control lock on the right. Wow, much more than I expected, it’s so much more white than my already clean white lock. Way more than I had predicted or foreseen.
Seriously, these results speak volumes. I mean woah! I’m in awe here.

So I decide… Let’s see if it will clean that other lock, in the already used dirty tub.

Yep, I put that in too. Didn’t change the dirty liquid inside the tub,  just left it in there, I’m testing this, how far can I go? Notice I’m using small samples. For those curious, Im reusing tubs that food come in. The experiment tub used to hold Trader Joes, fresh bruschetta sauce. It holds (14.5 oz or 411 grams of product). As you can see the tub is filled less than half way with hydrogen peroxide. I only wanted enough to cover a lock.

 

The other dirty tipped lock in the mucky hydrogen peroxide tub, hoping for as excellent results as the first try
The other dirty tipped lock in the mucky hydrogen peroxide tub, hoping for as excellent results as the first try. Seriously check out how gross that liquid is…
That liquid was already filled with nasty brown… Who knows, dirt, maybe poopy dirt, dirt mixes in the poo it’s possible. Our best soil is manure based. It was gross, but let’s fast forward 24 hours, and see how that lock ends up. Time to give it a good rinse, let it dry and see what results I have.

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Here they are. All three locks, clean as a whistle, two started out with stains. Clearly, the hydrogen peroxide works on dirty brown stained tips. You can even see there is some yellowing that is gone from the initial picture.

Lets see though how it does with urine stains, or yellowing that’s notorious, for being difficult to come out in a regular wash or scouring. If it doesn’t work, no problem, wool can be dyed. Really, there aren’t too many problems that can not be solved, if one puts there mind to it. However I really adore this fleece and most of it is stark white, there are very very few areas with urine stains, or dirty tips, it’s just beautiful. Unbelievable this came from an animal the amount of how really clean it was. However, if possible, I’d love to make the yellow disappear. Lol, can you imagine leaving it in, and someone asks, “oh this is beautiful, what’s that yellowish right there, in that part of the hat? Does it have some significance?”

oh, that? No, That’s just a sheep urine stain… Here is your hat. Look it’s clean, urine stains are just hard to remove. Just put it on, I want to see if it fits. Stop being so weird about it, it’s clean, just put it on your head, I worked really hard on this. Whatever, ya ingrate, Your welcome!

Ok that conversation, would not happen, more than likely. But it could, no? More than likely, we dye the yellowing, and don’t add it to the stark white project, but should it get missed, guess what, if this technique works, and you see yellow blaring in your all white project, you could still give it some time in the hydrogen peroxide. Below, we have a few yellow stained samples next to the white, for contrast.

Classic yellowing stain on white wool, we are dealing with animals here, and urine stains, but again stain just means difficult to remove - not impossible
Classic yellowing stain on white wool, we are dealing with animals here, and urine stains will happen, what’s that saying pee happens? Actually we already did the brown stain, could’ve been just dirt, you never know, but again stain just means difficult to remove – not impossible
I’m emptying my test tub, cleaning it, and starting with a fresh batch of my special potion, and again I’m adding my yellow stained locks, holding back one for comparisons sake.

In goes the yellow stained locks, with a a little guy held back.
In goes the yellow stained locks, with a a little guy held back.
Ok, did I mention I am not a fan of the waiting? Yea, so here is 10 minutes later. It’s still yellow, big surprise there. Mind you, during these tests, I just put the lock in, no moving around, no scrubbing, or rubbing between my fingers… Just get the lock in, submerged, and wait.

10 min later..  Ok, it's all in there, it's still yellow. Silly but, at the 10 minute point, I was always so excited to see, yay! What's it done?! Sure I'd see something, no my fellow impatient friends, we must give it hours, to really do the job right
10 min later..
Ok, it’s all in there, it’s still yellow. Silly but, at the 10 minute point, I was always so excited to see, yay! What’s it done?! I was always sure I’d see something, no my fellow impatient friends, we must give it hours, to really do the job right
I put the lid back on and waited. I must say, now this was turning into a days long event, why I didn’t do several tubs at once is beyond me. Except to say maybe, I’m frugal, and I didn’t want to use a lot of hydrogen peroxide? Nope, not really, just didn’t think to do it.

Ok so 24 hours later, I open my tubs lid to unveil the yellow stains Houdini disappearance….. This is what I saw

Already, I'm impressed, I can hardly see any yellow
Already, I’m impressed, I can hardly see any yellow, I’m thrilled

Let’s get the locks out of the tub, give them a good rinse, let them dry, and see what we really have here.

Overall results Top row shows brown stained locks  Bottom row shows yellow stains Both -with example of stain on far right These results are phenomenal
Overall results
Top row shows brown stained locks
Bottom row shows yellow stains
Both -with example of stain on far right
These results are phenomenal
The above picture shows you my results of this experiment. Again, this couldn’t have been more easy. No scrubbing, no heating to such and such temperature, careful not to let this or that happen…. Nothing hard at all.

I literally dropped my stained locks, into a tub of hydrogen peroxide, and the next day, took them out, rinsed them with cool water from the tap, pat dried them in a towel to help remove excess water (so they would dry faster, you could probably even skip that step if you wanted, but then again, if they take too long to dry, mold can be a factor, and then you have another issue on your locks, so actually, don’t skip that step and just pat dry locks in a towel… Lol how’s that for a run on sentence, sorry about that, I was thinking out loud) so yes, pat dry rinsed locks in a towel and let them dry completely, either in the sun or on a sweater dryer rack (wherever you dry your locks/fleece)

I actually made my own dryer rack, out of PVC pipe, screen material, and zip ties. Before I made the PVC version,  I’d just remove a screen off my window, hose it down, give it a quick towel off to dry and BAM! An aerated screen propped up on whatever is handy, and you have a place to dry locks of wool. Not to mention, it has a place to be put away, right where it belongs, back on the window.

A lot of my fiber tools are homemade ourself. By being able to save money on these fiber tools, leaves extra money for the wool we use on them. I promise, another blog on those tools later.

In the meantime, back to my hydrogen peroxide experiment. It works. I am now wondering, how big bottles of this stain removing gem, come in. I will have to do some research on that. The bottle I used, was 16fl oz, or 1pint, and was 3% hydrogen peroxide and purified water. It cost around $1 a maybe $1.99. Next, I will look to see if it comes in higher percentages and bigger bottles, and where I can find it. Surely, it must. With these results, even what I thought looked already white, in my control sample, the stained samples, came out even more white. It’s tempting to use hydrogen peroxide as one of the last rinse waters in my regular routine fleece washing of white fleeces.

i had excellent results on the samples I tried. There may come along a stain one of these days that will not disappear 100%, in that case, you can dye it, or maybe blend it with other fibers to disguise its whereabouts. This is why I love fiber arts. Bad wool for a perfect spin? Felt it. Stubborn stains, over dye or blend. No one will ever be the wiser they have sheep piss stains in the gift, I have lovingly, blood sweat and stitched for them, lol, speaking of, I wonder if hydrogen peroxide removes blood stains? Well, next time I bleed on a white lock, no doubt using those prime evil wolverine combs….new testing will commence, until then… Hydrogen peroxide is a winner. It really works. The results above are miraculous considering how easy it is. My gorgeous white locks, buuuuuuuh, I’m seriously, in love.

This experiment gave me another idea to try. I’m cutting very small, dirty tips from clean fleece, with the plan to soak in hydrogen peroxide, and make my own wool nepps. I’ve never seen a tutorial on making wool nepps…

have you?

we will see if I can make it work. I’m hopeful.

 

 

 

Update on dryer ball usage in my home

My husband is very big on laundry detergent, liquid softener, and dryer sheets. The scent these products leave means clean. And despite directions, if one dryer sheet works well, then four is going to be fan-freakin-tastic. Meanwhile, I am allergic. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, I get red, itchy hives. While the hives can happen anywhere clothing items with this allergen touch my skin, for some reason, it always happens to the worst areas, my undergarments. So, bras, underwear, you get me? It’s the absolute worst!

the first time it happened, I was five years old, was at a friends house and decided to go into the hot tub. It wasn’t heated, so for a child it was like a fun mini pool. I didn’t have a bathing suit, so I borrowed her bikini. The next day, the hives were only on my privates,  in the perfect shape of a bikini. My mom, freaked. I can’t imagine what was going through her mind, having such a horrendous rash on her child’s body, in all the wrong areas. Immediately took me to a doctor who very quickly figured out, it might be, chlorine(but it would’ve been all over, not bikini shaped), and he suggested laundry detergent allergy as I told him I wore my friends bikini. Sure enough, they used a different detergent, then my family used. Mystery solved.

 

Here, my husband is doing the sweetest thing, cleaning the clothes, but I end up with this disaster. Granted, he (used to) regularly use 3-4 dryer sheets per large dryer load, I started getting the hives, and if he did my laundry following this only used one. Sometimes it still happened. The liquid detergent and the liquid softener aren’t a problem, but the dryer sheets were definitely hive inducing.

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We have been using the new wool dryer balls I made, as seen in my earlier post. I put them inside the old dryer sheet box, pretty fancy, I know. I’m working on finding the cute basket they are supposed to be in. No, but seriously….What a huge difference!!!

Clothes are dry, literally in half the time. They come out smelling fresh and the balls are easier to find. We are no longer picking out dryer sheets hidden in pant legs. Have you had that problem with dryer sheets? Playing where’s Waldo, only to find them sticking to clothing like toilet paper to your shoe? Why isn’t everyone using these? They are amazing!

I’ve actually read the spiked plastic version of these dryer balls sold in the big pharmacy/grocery stores are also bad for us in their own way. That they are made with oil based products and that with each use tiny molecular bits fall off into laundry.

I don’t know the particulars about that, I didn’t read it on wiki, but I do know wool is an awesome, renewable resource that’s safe for our planet and drying our clothes. Felted dryer balls last years, and when the time eventually comes should they need to be tossed, they can be safely used as mulch in the garden. They breakdown in the earth quickly and safely. Somehow, I think we all know the plastic/rubber version will not breakdown so quickly.

Let’s face it a felted dryer ball is the safest, greenest, most renewable resource, money saving item, to use in the dryer.
If you are allergic to wool, find another felting fiber, like alpaca. Remember, most wool allergies are caused by the prickle factor when worn close to the skin, so this use of wool, may not cause any reaction. However, rather than risk it, use a different felting fiber. Far be it for me to be the cause of someone else’s hives, use felting material you aren’t allergic to, please. 🙂

Hubby, my biggest critic, absolutely loves them. We no longer use dryer sheets at all, and have had nothing but fantastic results with our laundry. My dryer sheet allergen hives are hopefully gone for good!