This is the way we wash our fleece

A tutorial today. I was getting ready to wash more fleece for Joe’s gansey (today is Tuesday, so I’m trying to do at least one spinning related activity) and since I always get lots of questions about how I do it, I thought I would grab the camera. I know you are all very worried about the squirrel. I am prepared.

Some notes:

1. I learned everything I know about washing fleece from other people. This method is cobbled together from the likes of spinners more clever than I, like Judith MacKenzie McCuin, That Laurie and a multitude of blog posts and conversations.

2. This is a version of lock washing, not whole fleece washing. There are spinners who toss the thing in the washing machine, but I am really hung up on preserving lock structure in a way that most people aren’t. This is not the fastest or even the most sensible way to wash fleece, but it’s the way I do it.

3. This way doesn’t work as great for huge fleeces (unless you are unconcerned about how long it takes) or for fleeces with a lot of VM (Vegetable Matter. That’s stuff like grass or feed.)

4. Fleece is disgustingly dirty. Truly. During fleece washing, you and your equipment are going to come in contact with a lot of stuff that is, besides being disgusting, is not at all good for you. Stuff like sheep urine and feces as well as many chemicals that are used to keep sheep. (Read this. Not all sheep are dipped, but there are still a lot of chemicals involved a lot of the time. Even well kept “pet” sheep raised for fleece can have a surprising amount of medicines and chemicals. Since I am not in the habit of asking everyone I buy fleece from what they use, I am just careful.) A smart person would wear gloves while handling the stuff, or at an absolute minimum, develop a reflex for very good handwashing (with hot water and soap) while doing this.

5. As related to the point above, the stuff you use to process fleece (pots, bowls, pails etc.) should probably be used only for that purpose.

6. I am, like almost everybody, still learning. This works for me. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best, only or even correct way to do it. Discussion and commentary are welcome.

Materials: An old pillowcase, cut open. A roasting pan, fleece and dish soap. (I use Presidents choice lavender scented. I have had equal luck with other brands. The choice of cleanser for fleece is hotly debated, and debated often.)

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First I lay the pillowcase over the roasting pan.

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Then I start to pull locks off, and lay them into the pan, tips to centre. (A lock of fleece has a “butt”, the cut end that was near the sheep, and a “tip” end. That’s the end away from the sheep.) I put a whole lot in. Enough to fill the pan, just layering them on top of each other.

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When I think I have put as much as is reasonable, I fold the fabric over the fleece to make a tidy little package which pleases me to no end. The packaging for the fleece keeps the locks intact and keeps things from floating around and getting tangled up. It is likely overkill, but again…it works for me.

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Then I fill the pan with room temperature water, remembering not to pour water right onto the fleece. It hates that and can retaliate by felting. I put it aside and walk away for at least an hour.

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When I come back the water is gross. I carefully roll up my little fleece burrito (maybe giving it a very gentle squeeze to get more of the water out) and pour the water off.

Next, I fill the pan with room temperature water again, and add a very generous squirt of dish soap and the fleece package. Then, I put it on the stove and turn the heat on. (A whole bunch of spinners just gasped and fell off their chairs. )

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I put the heat on very low, and I start to babysit the pan, checking it very often to make sure that it gets very hot and steaming, but DOES NOT BOIL. Boiling angers the fleece, and again, it can retaliate by felting. (Agitation – moving the fleece around, can also anger the fleece. I try not to move my little fleece pack much at all.)

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When it’s been steaming away for an hour or so, I turn off the heat and pour off that water, which will be almost as revolting as the first go..but likely cloudy dirty. The heat takes the lanolin (grease) off the fleece, as well as the dirt that’s bonded to it. There’s other stuff too, like the sheeps sweat and other body oils, and let’s just be glad it’s going.

Next, I let the whole thing cool for a bit (again, rapid temperature changes can anger fleece) then add the hottest possible, and repeat the “cooking”.

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Drain, and repeat the filling, only this time with plain water. Cook, then drain and repeat with clear water again. (This is the rinsing. Sometimes this needs be done more than twice. Use your judgement. You want clear, non-soapy water when you are done.)

When you have finished all of the rinsing, and given it a bit of a squeeze, open your little fleece burrito, and admire the elegant way that everything is still perfectly in locks, and perfectly clean.

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Set it outside to dry, being sure to hook up the squirrel deterrent system provided by Rams and Presbytera on their visit to Toronto.

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It’s a metal picnic food dome, held down with bungee cords hooked firmly to the metal table.

After it is set up. Lie in wait with your camera. This may take some time, but patience is rewarded.

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Who’s winning now, you filthy little fleece stealing excuse for a mammal!

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HA! YOU CAN’T GET IT CAN YOU!!

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That’s right ya little bum wipe. You’re screwed. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE TEHNOLOGY! HA HA!!

I HAVE FRIENDS WITH BRAINS BIGGER THAN A DAMNED LENTIL AND YOU DON’T !!!!

Sorry. I got carried away. It it just feels really good to win one….you know?

426 thoughts on “This is the way we wash our fleece

  1. NO comments, no comments?!?!?
    I’m first first first πŸ™‚
    This is HILLARIOUS and I’m falling out of my chair not due to fleece boiling, rather pea (oops, lentl) brained furball.
    HAHA

  2. If you look really really closely at the last pic of the squirrel, I think he’s flipping you off! Hilarious!

  3. Great gizmo – you might want to rethink challenging the little dirtwad though, he may come back with larger friends, like raccoons.
    People dealing with raw fleece should be current with their tetanus shots as it is truly nasty, dirty and yucky.

  4. aaahahaha — he looks so disappointed and confused. He must really love his fiber. Thanks for the tutorial — maybe one day I’ll actually do this stuff from scratch.

  5. Well, there’s a saying that nothing is foolproof because fools are so damned ingenious. You might have just given squirrel evolution the nudge it needed to have them develop opposable thumbs.

  6. Yes, but we haven’t seen the fleece all dry and back in the house yet. That vermin may still have something up his metaphorical sleeve. (Just being devil’s advocate.)

  7. That last picture is just priceless.
    I can see an ad here….
    A beautiful sheep’s fleece: $60
    A mesh food picnic cover: $5
    Foiling the evil plans of another squirrel: Priceless

  8. LMAO!! Way to show that squirrel who’s boss!! I like your system of washing fleece. They look all nice and clean now. I bet they smell nice too!! Spinning Tuesdays Rock! I think I may give my spindal a whirl tonight!

  9. That is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time! What a determined squirrel. At least you won this round.

  10. That’s so lovely. You have no idea. Or maybe you do, and that’s why you posted it. That squirrel is off in a hole crying right now. Comeuppance … it’s a great thing.

  11. Lord, that was funny! I love that you were sitting there with the camera waiting for the varmint.
    I am waiting for the squirrel to retaliate by chewing the cord… ‘it’s all fun and games till someone pokes their eye out’

  12. Thank you for the excellent tutorial on washing fleece and the hilarious installment of “The Adventures of Harlot and Mr. Squirrel.” I have tears in my eyes from laughing.
    Do be careful about the evolutionary nudge mentioned in a previous post. I keep thinking of the Gary Larsen cartoon from many years ago with a dog driving a scaled-down backhoe through a garden. The caption was on the order of Rusty takes out Mrs. Smith’s garden for once and for all. If Mr. Squirrel gets power tools, watch out!

  13. 1) Joe MUST know how much you love him- to go through this for his sweater of love.
    2)I literally nearly pee’d myself.
    3) Is that A REAL squirrel, or PR set up squirrel? (I know- I know it’s real… but PLEASE! totally looks set up!)
    4) Sheep dip. Giggle. Sheep dip. Yeah, yeah I know chemicals n stuff- but around here- “sheep dip” has another meaning. Like what you spent the day washing out of the fleece. ’nuff said.
    Been blocking out my MS3 all day- needed a giggle- thnx;) ts

  14. OK, you know how non-knitters can’t understand why we bother to knit our own socks when you can buy a pair so cheaply? Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the feeling I’m getting about spinning, having seen the lengths you have to go to just to get the frakking fleece clean.
    But the squirrel pics are so funny! I do hope he doesn’t figure out he could chew through the bungy rope and thus lift the dome….
    All the best from damp old England (actually dried out quite nicely in the past week, but on the whole….)

  15. As someone who has watched generations of my family try to outwit backyard squirrels, and having once seen (with my own eyes) two squirrels work as a team to defeat an otherwise squirrel-proof bird feeder, I shudder just a little bit at what I truly hope does not turn out to be hubris…

  16. frickin’ hilarious!!! thanks for the laugh!
    Question: how many beers did you drink befor the theiving squirrel showed up? im guessing three? that was some manical squirrel taunting… πŸ™‚

  17. What a great way to wash locks – I must admit to loathing dirty fleece and avoiding washing it as much as possible (as in I buy already clean stuff) but your method is so simple I just might be tempted to give it a try. Thank you!
    Even though I hadn’t commented before, I was definitely very worried about the squirrel. Just remember that squirrel goddesses might be just as devious and quirky as knitting goddesses before you gloat too much!

  18. Priceless! Simply priceless! Squirrel caught in the act! Foiled! Hee, hee!
    Just curious about one point of the fleece washing: do you comb out the locks before you wash them? If I don’t have a coated fleece, I will always find some VM that needs to be combed out. Grass and hay, unfortunately, aren’t water soluble and won’t come out in a soak.
    Those locks, by the way, are gorgeous. That is truly one spectacular fleece.

  19. Hah! That’s awesome! But now you have to follow the little bugger as he checks to see if you’ve stolen any of HIS stash to put in your contraption, and then you could get the rest of it back!

  20. That squirrel looks pretty canny. I’d add some more bungee cords and a couple of cowbells, if I were you.

  21. OMG, I am in hysterics. That is too damned funny!!! My coworkers think I’ve lost my mind (well, they think that anyway). I have to go now and wipe the tears from my eyes.

  22. Wow, that post brightened my whole miserable (so far) week. I’m laughing so much at the thwarted squirrel. I also love the idea of an angry, felted fleece burrito (although that is not the desired outcome of fleece washing).

  23. I can’t believe you actually caught the squirrel! Good job!
    And thanks for the tutorial.. it was fascinating πŸ™‚

  24. Hahahaha! Little guy looks so disappointed! Hooray for smart friends! And thanks for the tutorial. Even though I’ve only ever gotten so far as spinning from ready-to-go roving, I’d love to start from the very beginning someday. I will certainly consult this post at that time. I hope the deadline writing is going well also! πŸ™‚

  25. I found the tutorial very interesting, but, alas, this is something I will never do as I am – GASP – allergic to wool. Yes, I am truly allergic and can not work with most animal based yarns. Even blends are out. I made myself really ill last year at a yarn expo after spending six hours fondling beautiful hand dyes…sob…Thanks for the vicarious living!!

  26. Wonderful and too funny!!! I’ve been wondering what happened to the thief. It is fun to watch your progress on the gansey – I think the design is beautiful

  27. That last picture was freakin’ hilarious. I hope you were behind a window or screen or something, because he looked like he was plotting your demise.
    I have a very long story involving a “free” fleece shipped to me from Ireland and about twenty layers of garbage bags which were not successful in sealing up the smell. Suffice to say, I have no desire to test out your cleaning practices. :}

  28. Oh My Gosh!!! That is too funny! (laughing too hard to answer my phone at work!)

  29. OMG that is too freakin’ hilarious. You actually got the little rat b—– trying to steal the fleece on camera! Rams is so very clever.
    He looks like he’s plotting in the last pic though. May I suggest adding some red-hot pepper sauce to the bungy cords? Cause the squirrels here in Philly eat them for fiber . . .

  30. If I get any more snorted coffee on my keyboard due to blogland today, they are seriously gonna lock me out of the whole internet!!! LOVE the squirrel pics…. I wonder if their plan to take over the world involves your fleece???

  31. The puzzled squirrel is too funny. You go to a lot of trouble with cleaning your fleece, I usually put “some” in a big pot I have and boil it with soap. I send it off to be commercially made into roving, tho, or card it (or comb it), so I’m not as careful about lock preservation… I have some shetland coming shortly… maybe I’ll try your method, as I want to be more gentle with that.
    Also… I get my fleece from a local organic sheep farmer… no chemicals, thank the gods.

  32. So, is this how you wish me a happy birthday? By roping me into another one of your vices? Like knitting in general isn’t enough. Like the fact that I can knit socks isn’t enough. Socks good enough to win 1st place at my county fair, that is. Like me actually wanting to venture out into public and join the masses in Wichita to see you and welcome you to Kansas isn’t enough. Good grief, woman, do you ever stop? You’re an ENABLER, you are. I don’t want to try spinning. I don’t want to have to divide my yarn $ into categories that would include spinning wheel maintenance, fleece, carders, and dyes. I don’t want to spin. I don’t. Yet.
    By the way, the squirrel is totally going back to the lair and plotting. He only looks foiled.

  33. Thank you for the laugh, thank you for the tutorial. I may try your technique the next time (I am a novice fleece-kleaner and a beginner spinner). Though the fleece I have to wash is unfortunately full of VM. I have some teaching to do on the local sheferd…
    Oh that squirel… She is so cute! You should have let him take some locks. Think of her babies! In a nice nest made of pure CLEAN wool…
    πŸ˜‰

  34. WOO HOO!! Hilarious! Get the patent people together!
    Also, I have washed whole fleeces to save time and it does really take away from the lock structure (or staple). You will end up with less wool to spin after carding and removing the noils and nubs from washing the whole fleece together.
    When I wash locks, I usually place them in one of those onion bags (or orange bags) and place them in the sink in the hottest water I can manage to stick my hand in.
    Actually, you’d be surprised how much agitation most wool will take and not felt – okay, though, now that I’ve said that I’m sure to get a felted mess on the next go round…..
    Thanks for much for the squirrel funnies!!!

  35. BRILLIANT! Bravo for Rams and Presbytera for their idea. Love the pictures, and he certainly didn’t waste any time checking it out, did he? Maintain your vigilance, however — squirrels WILL chew through screen when motivated (twice into my neighbor’s kitchen). Hurray for confusing the sneaky varmint!

  36. The fact that you caught the squirrel trying to mess with the fleece and giving up is just brilliant! Don’t get too cocky though (or at least knock on wood) I wouldn’t put it past his lentil brain to figure out how to get to that fleece!!!

  37. I really enjoyed reading about the process of fleece washing. I know how dirty sheep are (my relatives have a ranch), but I have never seen more disgusting water. Still, it was interesting, and I think your method is a whole lot better than using a washing machine, given what is in the wool. I suppose spinners with a capital S probably have a machine dedicated to the purpose. Cooking it on the stove seems quite novel, but then, I boil dirty wash rags when they just aren’t coming clean.
    And the squirrel–I just knew he was going to come. Those pictures are priceless!
    Once again, you have proved yourself worthy of your blog awards/nominations.
    ps: I clicked on the essential sock yarn link and ordered a bunch. Washable, inexpensive sock yarn–who’d a thunk it. (’bout time :))
    Thanks

  38. Um, be careful. I don’t know how friendly the squirrel is with the raccoons and I know raccoons can work bungee cords.
    Although major props for getting the thief on camera!

  39. 1. Man, that is the most *meticulous* method of washing fleece I have ever seen! I salute you.
    2. And people wonder why, after several years’ worth of washing fleeces, the thought of washing sweaters by hand does not give me joy. Even if they aren’t gross. (I’ll do it; but I don’t *like* it. Nor do I get, as various dewy-eyed folk have insisted to me, “…such a peaceful, fulfilled feeling after washing my sweater by hand!” Bah. Work is work. Will those people volunteer to hand-wash my jeans, too? Size 4X, people, here’s the bathroom sink, there’s the detergent – have a go! [eg])
    3. That is one large, well-fed squirrel! What, he lifts weights?
    4. He sure is staring intently at you in that last pic. I’d be wary. He obviously knows who *he* considers as the culprit. Remember, they can chew metal…and bungee cords aren’t metal.
    5. But for this time, he’s defeated! Yay Rams and Presbytera! Yay for no rapes of the locks! Screech all around!

  40. Genius!
    I may try to wash small amounts of fleece sometime. It looks like it takes away so much knitting time though.

  41. Lovely tutorial. I was all absorbed with your nice clear photos and understandable instructions when … when you suddenly started screaming epithets at the tree rat and I started laughing so hard I’m wiping tears from my eyes.
    Non sequitur–there’s a store near Washington D.C. that sells Utilikilts and related gear. Just saw an article about it in the newspaper. It’s called “Kilted Nation”. Here’s the link:
    http://www.denverpost.com/lifestyles/ci_6732821

  42. Seriously? You are made of awesome. I love how the post rapidly degenerates from a perfectly reasonable fleece-washing tutorial to shouting at small furry creatures. Those last three pictures (and the commentary!) are priceless.

  43. WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! GO STEPH!!!! YOU LOSE, YA SUCKAH SQUIRREL!!! (does a little victory dance)

  44. Bwwahahahaahahahahahaahah!!
    I swear that the day I get into spinning and/or dying is the day that the yarn and knitting finally takes over the entire apartment.

  45. OK, you and the squirrel got me! I was studiously reading along, even though no spinner am I, nodding, recoiling at the disgusting water — then suddenly MF Squirrel (Monsieur Fleece-stealer, of course!) shows up and I practically fall off my chair laughing!
    That last picture — he knows his nemesis — that little pea-sized brain is whirring. Rats! Foiled again!
    PS: I keep running into squirrels on my blog; though not red-handed ones like MF up there. When I was at Family Camp in Northern Minnesota two weeks ago, a squirrel sat in a tree and YELLED at me for 15 minutes straight, apparently because I was knitting. He and I were the only ones around (it was dawn). I can’t figure out his problem. Was he offended by my Continental style knitting?? Or lack of fleece?

  46. I don’t spin, and even the idea of washing faeces out of sheep’s fleece makes me go a little faint, but the squirrel deterrent system is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

  47. um, hate to tell ya this but you do realize don’t you that eventually the squirrel is going to figure out something to get at your roving.

  48. I screamed with laughter and just scared the heck out of my officemate!!!! You got that dirty little fleece stealing rat bastard!!!!! All Hail Rams and Presbytera!!!!!! I am so glad you got pictures!!! Oh, and yes…I did almost fall out of my chair when you put it on the stove…but it is so lovely, will give it a shot..hmmm have an electric stove, might not work as well, but perhaps if I am VERY careful…….Thanks Steph…I am still laughing. You got him, you got him, you got him!!!!!

  49. I have to second Karen in KS…I didn’t want to spin, but the more I read about it….I can hear the black hole sucking me in. The squirrel reminds me of scrappy the squirrel on Animaniacs…be afraid. He might bring friends, but for now, Is today VS day (Victory over the squirrel)?

  50. Wow- that’s quite a processs and not one I would be willing to do.
    The squirrel is thinking about it and will give it another shot- don’t get too cocky!

  51. Okay, I have to admit that is pretty dang funny. We don’t have squirrels here (as odd as that seems) because we have Falcons that nest in the Oak trees next door. They’ve done so for about 4 yrs. now. Perhaps you could adopt one?
    As for your fleece washing- it’s way different from what I do, but I have tons (almost literally) to wash each season, lol.
    Take care.

  52. I can hear it now, the boys just read this over my shoulder & will be telling everyone they know how the harlot beat the squirrel, not not sure how I’ll explain this one, in fact I think I’ll just let them wonder!

  53. I’ve been waiting for what, two years for this post? What a cool way to clean fleece–thank you! I have never succeeded at getting mine clean enough while preserving the structure, and now I can see how I can–thank you. And goodness, that setup, that squirrel–I’ll be guffawing at random moments all day. And probably every time I look outside at my own squirrel collection.

  54. That’s right. Show ‘im who’s evolved!!!
    God bless opposable thumbs. And tools. And fire. And beer.
    I think next time, you should hunt up some squirrel fleece and see what he thinks of that.

  55. OK, you have me hooked — two days in a row. I have been faithfully reading your blog for about 9 month ever since reading one of your books – which I have now read them all, very excited about a new one coming out! And never commented until yesterday!
    Today just have to say, “you go girl!” on the rodent. We also have them, only ours go after our tomatoes in the garden. Usually the biggest ones just as they are starting to turn red, but still too green to pick! This has in past years greatly delayed the garden gratification factor. I saw a squirrl last year with a tomato the size of a softball climbing a tree with it in his mouth. The tomato outweighed him, and about half way up the tree, overturned him. He did a flip in the air, lost the tomato, and landed back on the tree trunk. We have been training our dachshund to “squirril” – she loves treeing them, but has never caught one – made them nervous tho! This year we finally achieved the proper mix of fencing (or netting) enclosing the garden and dachshund. Two have made it into the garden, and been totally nerveracked by dachshund when they couldn’t get out of the garden area fast enough (dachshund was outside the garden area waiting!) The cooler summer temps have given the tomato ripening some pause, but we had our first red tomatoes last night! UMMMM! ummmmm! good!
    Glad to see you have aborted your rodent too!

  56. Steph 1- Squirrel 0. A brilliant system! In case you want any, my fleeces have NO chemicals,etc-the sheep are out in grass and not topically treated with ANYTHING(ie wormers, repellents, etc). The only thing you may have to contend with is vegetative matter. I have California Red Sheep and the fleece is gorgeous naturally with reds, russets and oatmeal colors(see the sheep at caredsheep.com). Good luck with the gansey!

  57. OK, I did fall off my chair. boiling?? Yikes. I use the utility sink in the basement – I do several “baths” until the water runs clean, the final soak is with some vinegar to neutralize the soap – I use Gerber baby wash in lavendar.. I don’t worry about the direction the woolies are – I just pick out the “organic” stuff and fill my bucket, do the washing, then set it out in the sun to dry. No nasty critters have tried to take my woolies from me (yet). Nice tutorial, thanks. Can your next book include some spinning stuff? I’ve got about 100 lbs of woolies to clean and can’t get myself to pay to have it sent to a mill. It wouldn’t be free wool then, would it??

  58. Excellent squirrel-foiling technique. However, I’d be careful taunting the mealy-brained little varmint. You’d be surprised how clever they can be. I had one learn to open a bin with the little flip-up locking handles to get cat food. I know the hideous monster was laughing at me from my own tree after he figured out that one!

  59. Ha! Rams and Presbytera beat the Rat Bastards! Brilliant solution. Don’t look away for a minute, though, looks like he has teeth.

  60. Very clever squirrel excluder.
    Washing fleece looks like much work. You must love that guy, or something.

  61. I love your method of fleece-washing! What a small and tidy footprint, no bathtub, no out-pacing the hot-water heater, no water dripping everywhere … I can do that! I must say, the washing has daunted my enthusiasm for using raw fleeces, but I feel like I just might be able to now! May I ask how many ounces of locks (approximately) you washed in the above tutorial?

  62. I’m trying not to fall out of my chair from the look on the squirrels face – that is the funniest thing I have seen all day!

  63. You know he’s going to figure out how to lift the edge of that up, right? He’s got those evil claws and dextrous fingers and sharp teeth. More than enough of a match for bungee cord…

  64. On the downside, by saying that you have friends with brains bigger than a lentil… doesn’t that imply that you, in fact, do *not* have a brain bigger than a lentil? You might not want to gloat too much. πŸ˜‰

  65. Love it! Although, you might want to add another couple of bungies to go across the other way. You know just in case he knows how to pry up the sides.
    It’s amazing after all that, that your locks look just as they did when you put them in the pan. Clean though.
    πŸ™‚

  66. The phrase “fleece burrito” entertained me more than it should have, given that I am a mature-ish adult. Also I enjoyed the pictures of the squirrel, who is very cute (even though he is an evil fleece stealer).

  67. Stephanie, that last photo is just priceless, the indignation. Where did the little bugger get such a sense of entitlement? And, how often does he just sit out there and watch you, waiting for that gray fleece to come outside again?

  68. Skwerlz Rule!
    BAWAHAHAHA
    The disgusting nature of sheep is one major obstacle to my ever wanting a fleece. I swore that after my child was potty-trained I would never deal with anyone else’s poop ever again.

  69. Being a non-spinner and all, I have one (perhaps obvious) comment/question about all this: the smell?
    Is this how you get everyone out of the house so that you can write?

  70. HA! Even my husband (who thinks my yarn issues are evidence of being just a bit touched in the head) was amused by the squirrel’s defeat. Go opposable thumbs!

  71. So I’m reading along, thinking, “Wow. This is really informative. I’m going to have to try this.” Then the squirrel thing caught me off guard. Awesome. Good on you!

  72. I totally expected the fleece washing instructions to be informative and written in your engaging and entertaining style. I was not disappointed. I did not expect to see the, even more entertaining, squirrel besting, taunting, Stephanie redemption. I love it, because a squirrel is just a rat with good press.

  73. Been mostly loosing ’em today, myself, so you just chirked me up no end. Technology. Heh. “Ole! Get away from that wheelbarrow! You know you don’t know nothing about machinery!”

  74. Oh how I love a good triumphing-over-squirrels story. We had a couple of squirrels in our yard who a) dug up and ate all of our expensive, lovingly planted giant sunflower seeds within an hour of our having planted them, b) set up residence inside the porch roof of our house, despite repeated attempts to evict them, c) climbed up onto said porch roof and from there onto my office windowsill, which they did their damnedest to eat. We were very, very tempted to take the .22 carbine to them. Very. Both of us. Very.

  75. YEAH! Just make sure you don’t leave the little bugger alone with the contraption for too long. I imagine it may figure out how there are possibilities for chewing through a bungee cord!

  76. Thanks for the pictures and directions. I have to admit, though, that my favorite part is the pictures of the squirrl. Too funny! πŸ™‚

  77. just be glad that’s not a racoon that wants your fleece! i bet one of those little devils could un-do your fleece security system!

  78. two bungee cords: $5
    metal picnic dome: $8
    digital camera: $600
    catching that squirrel’s pissed off look as he realizes he can’t get your wooly fleece: priceless
    thanks so much for the laughs!

  79. Man. I rarely comment because, well, thousands of others already do, but I just had to. Those squirrel pictures–and the captions–made me laugh out loud (leik, fur realz!). That is just plain downright EXCELLENT blogging, and you should be very very proud.
    OTOH, too bad it’s not a black squirrel. I’ve just moved to Toronto, and they’re my new favorite thing.

  80. Great going with round one but I don’t think the f***er is done with you yet. You better watch your step Harlot.

  81. I am one of those spinners who just fell off thier chairs. However, I think I am going to try your method. c

  82. Ok, the amount of joy I just felt for your victory over the squirrel is ridiculous…to other people, to me it makes total sense.

  83. How did you get him to pose for you like that? It’s the ultimate mug shot! Isn’t it good to have a big-sized brain and opposable thumbs?

  84. So who paid the squirrel to show up for the perfect photo? Very funny! and the look on the squirrels face…priceless.

  85. I’m still not planning to wash fleece any time soon, but I appreciate the tutorial.
    Congratulations on finding a squirrel-proof drying device.

  86. My cats just stopped playing to look at me like I’d lost my mind I started laughing so hard at the last 3 pictures. Be careful, squirrels are known to figure stuff out, especially when they get to look at the gizmo a lot. They’re really freaking smart. You may have to do something with the ends of the bungee cords. I just see him figuring out how to undo that. Good luck!
    And thanks for the info. I’m not spinning yet (I do have a drop spindle set sitting in my closet) but I want to really soon. πŸ™‚

  87. I am clearly far more paranoid than is healthy as I’ve just spend 3 minutes with my nose pressed against my monitor trying to ascertain whether that table has slats!
    If it does then you have put your fleece on a tray as well as a cloth, haven’t you? Because the evil little b*gger could get at the locks from underneath the table.
    I’m going to spend the rest of the day worrying about that!

  88. Brilliant! You win! I’m imagining the squirrel shaking his little fist at you after that last picture. Excellent!
    And it looks like the new stove is earning its keep. Hurrah!

  89. I too am with Karen in KS: “Good grief, woman, do you ever stop? You’re an ENABLER, you are. I don’t want to try spinning. I don’t want to have to divide my yarn $ into categories that would include spinning wheel maintenance, fleece, carders, and dyes. I don’t want to spin. I don’t. Yet.”
    Somehow it is very attractive to me that it starts out so very dirty and becomes so clean and useful with your efforts. Also, there are so many things that I use every day that I could never hope to reproduce all on my own (if sent 500 years back in time for example), but a sweater – that’s attainable!

  90. Hillarious! No wonder it was such a traumatic event when that squirrel stole your last fleece! Holy moly that looks like a lot of work and TLC. Great tutorial! I’m of the “soak and pray” persuasion – put fleece in sink full of hot soapy water, and pray it resembles locks after I’m done cleaning it. Usually it doesn’t, but then I’m not all that refined in my spinning technique either. I do add hot water from the kettle to the sink full of soapy fleece water for it to soak in. So far, no felt. (My favorite squirrel picture is the last one where he has the “What the ????” look.)

  91. Why do I sense he’s just thinking of how many nibbles it will take to gnaw through the bungee and break in? Love the tutorial, especially the thief deterrent part.

  92. Thank you SO MUCH for the tutorial (the pictures are great) and the LAUGH (the pictures… again… are great).
    I was wondering though, when you are doing the “cooking” would it be possible… if you had two roasting pans of similar size… could you have a pan of hot water all-ready and just quickly move the fleece over there to do another rinse-phase rather than let it cool a bit first? Just wondering if a very-brief chane of temp is acceptable. ‘Course you would have to have something to protect your hands from the hot…
    Thanks again for the great tutorial!!

  93. LMAO!!! Thanks for making my evening! Even my non-knitting co-workers are LTAO!

  94. Hooray! Another victory by those of bigger brains! Quite ingenious work, and quite hilarious writing! I’m finally able to breathe, after, once again being forced to use my inhaler from laughing so hard!
    Thanks for sharing the details of the fleece-washing and the squirrel-foiling!

  95. While, I have not doubt in your far superior intellect that thwarts a fleece stealing squirrel, I think that you may have tempted the Yarn Gods with some serious retribution with those last photos.
    p.s. I’m tired from just looking at the effort involved in the washing of your fleece.

  96. Do not anger the fleece!!
    *huge grin*
    I am so glad you got a Squirrel Buster for your fleece…And I *love* the pics of the little barsted all kerflummoxed at the Free Nesting Material Store being closed…

  97. Constant vigilance! This is just a reminder to keep watching the protected fleece. My dad used bungee cords to close his bird feeders to keep out the squirrels, and they chewed right through them and opened the feeder anyway! Your squirrel might just have relatives in North Carolina…

  98. Fantastic fleece washing tutorial! Looks like you beat the squirrel this time! Cheers

  99. What a perfect fleece-stealing-squirrel baffle! You have every right to be proud as punch right now. Also, I am laughing my ass off.

  100. I love the anti-squirrel technology! And the pictures are priceless. Congratulations on your well deserved victory.

  101. That is the best laugh!! The last picture is hilarious.
    I think if I were in your situation, I’d be so upset with the squirrel that I’d be extremely tempted to(PETA forgive me)”off” the squirrel if you know what I mean. After all, wool is very precious, and I’m not sure the Yarn Gods have any special squirrel rules or commandments.
    If the squirrel starts messing with your household electrical I think he is considered fair game. FYI πŸ™‚

  102. Cool tutorial – pretty dirty stuff to start with! I bet squirrel comes back with friends. I’m w/the above commentors – hot sauce bungees, cow bells to warn the household (squirrels won’t care., I’d probably wrap the table in barbed-wire’ or maybe get one of those beyond-human-range blasters aimed at the fleece? Hilarious pictures!

  103. Oh, but Stephanie, your Canadian winters are so cold! Don’t you feel a little bit guilty that the poor fella’ is going to be freezing his hairy little tushie off? roflmao

  104. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages! That alone was worth the “crap” you had to go through to clean the fleece.

  105. Hot damn! That’ll show that squirrel. You have to love Rams and Presbytera. Incidentally, I have a Montadale fleece in my possession and it’s burning a whole in my closet. πŸ˜‰

  106. It’s the little things in life, like besting your nemisis, that make it all worth while. I interviewed at a sock company and the guy was amazed how much I knew about fiber. I had to explain that I hand knit socks and spin fiber even going out to the ranches and seeing the parents of the alpaca. I think this was the only job where they were impressed with that.

  107. i dunno, my friend. i believe he is calling you an upstart and going off to gather his legions!
    hehehe

  108. HA! Thank you for the squirrel pictures!!!
    My late grandfather waged WAR with squirrels over the bird feeder. He was an engineer and determined to outsmart them. He really would have appreciated this…

  109. That F-ing squirrel is staring right at you. He’d be giving you the finger if he had one. I so love screwing with the thieving rodents little lentil brain…. thanks for the laugh.
    Watch out though, I bet he’s plotting his revenge.

  110. That may be your best post yet, flippin’ hilarious! I think the only thing that would reward someone for that much effort to clean fleece would be seeing that squirrel puzzled about the whole affair. I can’t believe the photo opportunity there… really brilliant. You’ve outdone yourself!
    And, I can imagine myself going through the hours of cleaning, only to sit there with a glass of wine really pissed off that no squirrels were trying to steal my fleece. Last time the best I got was a moth. Only you could create a fan base of spinners who were mad that NOTHING was trying to steal their fleece. Only you…

  111. There I was following along like a good little tutorial reader…
    and now my stomach hurts and my face is wet b/c I’m laughing so hard the tears are streaming, and my stomach muscles are right pissed at having a second workout today. There was no WARNING!
    F’ing squirrels…take THAT!

  112. I use a method of scouring wool that’s very similar to yours. I line the locks up inside a zippered net bag rather than wrapping it in a pillowcloth and I don’t ‘cook’ it but just use water that’s as hot as it will come out of the faucet. I don’t let it cool down between washings or rinsings either, just use water that feels about the same temperature that it came out of. But surely no one was shocked that you heat it on the stove. When you dye wool it’s commonly heated on the stove. Afterall, just heat won’t felt wool, you need heat, moisture and agitation to felt.
    Clever solution to the robber squirrel problem. Be sure and let us know if it works.

  113. I mean works in the long run, of course. The little buggers are good at adapting.

  114. Steph, you have me laughing. Out loud. In my computer class. If I get kicked out will you explain to my teacher for me? I’m also surfing the net for sock yarn. *blush*

  115. I was so afraid the squirrel was going to find a way in! It would just figure. Thank you for the lesson in how you prepare your wool; I have never tried this before, and now understand a little better what you are talking about and why it is such a production…too funny tho, I can’t believe the squirrel showed up when you had a camera and everything! Murphy’s Law wasn’t working today…

  116. I think this is a really smart little sh*thead squirrel, and he needs some reinforcing duct tape to truly boggle his little lentil brained scheming!

  117. Way to go, Rams and Presbytera!
    You know however, that butt wipe is now, as I type, holding a meeting of the SFF (Squirrels For Fleece).
    Lock down your house tonight…

  118. I was reading away with great interest (having recently befriended a nurse at work that raises alpaca) when I saw the squirrel…and spit coffee across the room! The mental picture was something like the squirrel with a metal picnic shield “sled” filled with fleece, and being pulled with green bungee cords, worn crossed across his chest like bandoliers….”We don’t need no stinkin’ bungees!” (Still laughing…..)

  119. Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant! That squirell’s fleece stealing days are over.

  120. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I love how the squirrel actually looked at you in that last picture. It’s an ingenious device. Congrats on finally beating the creepy little thing.

  121. Seriously – too funny. I was just going to ‘skim’ as I currently don’t spin (notice the choice of words–currently), but was roped in quickly. And then rewarded with that!!! TOO funny.

  122. I can’t believe that RB showed up and posed like that. Too perfect. Unless you found a trained squirrel.
    In any case…HILARIOUS!

  123. My neighbors are no doubt wondering what the hell is so funny that I’m rolling with laughter at almost 10 p.m. This is by FAR one of the funniest things I’ve seen/read in a LONG time, and my husband totally agrees. He also thinks your friends are fabulously smart. πŸ™‚
    Thank you, this is just what I needed after the day I’ve had.

  124. I’ve never commented before, but I just had to thank you for making me laugh so hard I gave myself a side cramp.
    Bloody rodent.

  125. fab tutorial. i’d wash some fleece now but i’m still laughing so hard–squirrels of the world look out! and fleece burrito? i love it!

  126. Awesome photos! and kudos on the great fleece saver/squirrel away. I can’t believe you caught the nasty devil in the act…patience or obsessive/compulsive stalking on your part?

  127. Harlot, you have sincerely outdone yourself this time. However foiled I feel by your cleverly constructed fleece-protection device, I am comforted by the many fleeces I have stolen from you in the past. I wonder, did I spy you tracking me back to my fleece-lined lair as I scampered away? I doubt it; you cannot have thought that far ahead. You may have won this round, Harlot, but I will be back with a sense of vengeance unforeseen in any squirrel in history! I leave you with a sense of fear for the next fleece, as now I know this trick and am prepared to do battle with a worthy adversary.
    Well played, Harlot. Well played.
    The Squirrel

  128. You know, I always thought squirrels were too stupid to actually TARGET your fleece. But I can tell that squirrel knew exactly what he was doing when he came to have a little looksy. Way to go, Stephanie, and congratulations for not throwing a hammer at the little thief. (I mean, I know you’re a pacifist but that squirrel is really pushing his luck.)
    Barb

  129. Thank you for sharing your fleece washing techniques — I am intrigued by the “steam” method, and may try it myself! I can’t believe that the squirrel actually came along to try to steal your fleece again, though. Good thing you took precautions!

  130. oh my goodness! It was like the Squirl Mafia sent one of their best hitmen over to your house (Part of the Underground Nuttery), only to discover you had outwitted him! I think you can almost see him saying, “Well played, Madame, well played….” in that last shot….

  131. Wah-HOOOO!!!! Take THAT you little varmint!
    HA HA HA HA HA!! Rams and Presbytera for teh win!
    Squirrel = pwned!!
    Thorny = nerd!

  132. That’s a brilliant squirrel deterrent contraption. Kudos to the brains that came up with that, what smart Gals they are!

  133. OMG I just fell off my couch laughing. No joke, my neighbor just knocked on my door to see if I was all right. And I live in New York City, where people could bang on my door carrying a blood stained axe and no one would notice.
    You go, girl. One day I’ll write about the famed vampire squirrels of Drew University.

  134. I am a confirmed “lurker”. I never comment, just sneak in here every day to find out how life is up North. Today though, I almost peed my pants laughing at the rodent issue….thank you so much for this and all that has amused and informed for the past 2 years!!

  135. Again, the sole reason for humankind’s ascent to the top of the foodchain is confirmed to be: opposable thumbs. It all stems from those.
    (poor squirrel. You couldn’t have left a little bit out for it?)

  136. My husband is a Muggle through and through, and I made him read this post for the squirrel pics at the end; he was HIGHLY amused.
    I myself am not a spinner, but I do have a question, purely out of curiosity, about your note on the various nasty things (chemicals and so forth) that are in the unwashed fleece. Is this more the case in sheep fleece than other animal fibers? Or are they all about the same? I’m wondering if one were to get a raw alpaca fleece, for example, if this would still be the case. I mean, obviously you’d still want to wear gloves to avoid getting animal crap on you (everybody poops, you know)…but are sheep less resistant to disease and mites and all the rest than other animals whose fibers are spun into yarn, thus necessitating more chemical interference?

  137. Awesome squirrel footage (your fleece washing photo essay is great, too)!
    But, hmmm…. I would be careful with your challenge…. Severing bungee cords is not beyond a squirrels technological capabilities….

  138. That is some really nasty water. Makes me think if ever I learn how to spin, my lazy arse is going to stick to prepped fleece.
    Very clever squirrel deterrent design. Those are some pretty smart friends you have there.

  139. Poor Timmy squirrel…His great grandpa, grandpa, dad, and uncles had shared great victory stories of how they stole this coveted treasure. Timmy’s turn had finally come. His rite of passage was here. He approached the treasure…but wait…none of the stories he had heard mentioned anything like what he was dealing with. Try as he may, he returned home, tail dragging, emptyhanded…
    Should you give Timmy just a “little” bit so he can regain his dignity and not suffer the shame of defeat and go to the anals of history as the squirrel who failed…

  140. You’d better hope that little varmint doesn’t come back with some friends!
    Thanks for the info(not about to start spinning anytime soon-still, I like learning about where yarn comes from) and the big laugh at the end!

  141. OHMYGOSH!!!!!! That was very mean of you. Here I was, reading along and just enjoying the nice blissful explanation of how you clean nasty fleece and at the end was a photo of the furry rat bastard and I laughed so hard I very nearly wet myself. Really. Next time I will know to be prepared and empty my bladder before reading your blog. Wow. Who knew? πŸ™‚ SO very glad you beat the squirrel. As far as giving him some dignity I say NEVER. May he hang his head and have all his little friends call him names. Harumph.

  142. Holy Freaking Green Jam! That’s a HUGE squirrel!
    Glad you won. I dont fight with squirrel’s as… I dry my stuff inside (like a dumbass) but my cat, Zoey… usually has plans to roll around in it… wet or dry. Thank God we bought a house with two rooms… if only we had purchased one with two bathrooms….

  143. Well, I was unclear on the concept of spinning. I tried it once at a llama crawl. (Don’t ask what that is.) I overtwisted it big time, but I could see that would change with practice. I noticed how slow it was. That was a real bummer. I know kntting is slow, but not like spinning is slow. I have a gorgeous bag of rainbow roving that I’ll never spin. I’m thinking of using it for thrummed mittens. It is mohair. I understand pee and poop. We have dogs. But, the post today about preparing the fleece blew me away. I would never do what you are doing, never ever, though I have seen the beautiful result. Joe will truly have an heirloom gansey, nothing like other ganseys we may make with yarn we buy. I am in awe and I have knitted for more than forty years and do Aran and Fair Isle without tears.I can’t imagine making the yarn for that gansey. All I can say again is that I am in awe.

  144. ROTFL!! I love it! Truly someone brilliant came up with the Squirrel Thwarting Fleece Dryer. Simple, cheap, effective: a marketer’s dream. The squirrel looks so perplexed!

  145. What did you use for your kitchen counter? I’m in the middle of a bathroom remodel and we can’t decide what to use for counters. (The up close shots got me curious!)
    Back to fiberness, thanks for the tutorial! My one fleece washing experience was highly ineffective and frustrating. Your method gives me hope for the future. And come to think of it, this seems like a good method to use before flick carding, yes?
    Next up on squirrel thwarting: a moat filled with the first rinse water from the fleece washing πŸ™‚

  146. And to think, I was feeling accomplished to have dyed some fiber with Kool Aid. I still have so much to learn and experience.

  147. If this method ever fails to foil Mr. Squirrel, I will gladly (seriously!) bring my Jack Russell Terrorist over for a wee bit of a visit. Think squirrels are tenacious? You’ve never seen a JR with a cornered rodent! Unfortunately, said doggie is not of the non-shedding variety which makes for a rather frustrating attempt at fur-free knitting. Good luck.

  148. Congrats on beating the squirrel. I’m with the gal earlier who was looking for metal under the fleece as well. I can see that rodent chewing through the pillowcase to get at the lovely wool. And where did you find a metal mesh food cover? I’d love to get some for my mom, to keep the wasps away.
    Loved the fleece burrito tutorial, too. I have a room full of yarn to knit before I start spinning, too.

  149. Thats just too funny!!!
    I’d lay dollars to donuts that our Squirrel friend is drawing up his plans against you, even as you blog…

  150. I have a question about the cleaning. Does the “cooking” smell as nasty as I suspect? I live in a condo and I can sometimes smell neighbors’ cooking. I’m thinking of trying this–I’ll be attending the WI Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend and hope to buy fleece–but should I be afraid they’ll kick me out of the building for the overly offensive odors?

  151. Awesome…just awesome. There’s just something stupid silly about squirrel behavior. Makes me laugh myself silly everytime.

  152. Hey, squirrel! Thousands of are watching you and laughing at your defeat! Try it next time, buddy, and the whole shebang will be hooked up to electricity! (maniacal laughter)

  153. After a couple of horrible weeks with my husbands medical issues ( and more yukky things for him to come) it was SOOOOgood to have a laugh! Tho’ I do admit to feeling a little sorry for the poor squirrel. Well they do look cute…..we don’t have to put up with them here….I know we should be thankful….but they still LOOK cute?!

  154. omgosh, i pissed myself at the squirrel pics & commentary. you go stephanie! he does NOT have the tehnology! stupid lentil brain!
    if we could rate posts, this would probably be my favorite. =]

  155. Note that the lentil brain is proportionally large enough to allow the critter to figure out who and where his clever antagonist is. Be prepared to buy a lot of fine-gauge chain and s-hooks.

  156. However long you waited with the camera – it was worth it. The last shot of the puzzled squirrel on the chair is priceless. Thank you Stephanie for starting my day with helpless laughter.

  157. I am sure he sat in the tree watching you sit it out on the table and thought to himself “that stupid human is at it again! Hasnt she learned by now?” Then got down there and in the last picture is proof you really upset his poor heart… He cant play with you no more and watch you run around the neighborhood looking for his treasures. TO FUNNY!!! (and informative on the actual fleece washing process!!)

  158. ROFLMAO……I love it….
    Anyway, thanks for the tutorial. I am planning on getting a fleece from one of the neighbours here, they can’t even sell them. It’s Merino, so we’ll see. But I know it will require lots of washing. LOL!

  159. I grew up in Duluth, Minn., watching squirrels get up to no good. To see someone actually defeat a squirrel, and capture the moment on camera, is a joy. Way to go, Steph!

  160. Is it OK to admit that I was rooting for the squirrel just a little bit? I mean, I certainly don’t want you to lose your fleece (again), especially after all that work, but…well…I think squirrels are cute!
    Thanks for the laugh!

  161. im giggling so hard tears are coming out of my eyes! every time i see a squirrel, i think of the whole saga. and while no squirrel has ever dared to steal my fiber, one did try to abscond with a sock needle.
    and i used to think squirrels were so cute…

  162. Stephanie – would it be possible for you to just throw the nasty little rodent a scrap (like a bit of an unwashed lock)? Not to encourage him but perhaps like a consolation prize. I know he’s a nasty little thing but i feel a little bad for him.

  163. ha ha ha that squirrel had it coming, little wool sponge. I am totally new to spinning and have just been given some lovely organic fleece from sheep owned by friend. They told me that the wool should not be washed before spinning as the lanolin helped the spinning process by making the wool a bit sticky? They told me not to wash it until it was spun and wound up in skeins. Now I am confused.

  164. I started by ‘spinning in the grease’ but being bit of a finger nail nibbler decided pretty quickly that was probably unwise.
    I don’t have the right sort of cooker to do your method. My fleece goes in the bath with washing up liquid and then I do some backbreaking peasant woman type draining and rinsing and draining (and panicking about felting) and then it goes to dry out on the spare bed. I am interested to know, do you have to card when you wash it like you do?
    BTW I worry that the beast can gnaw through that picnic cover once it works it out. They can gnaw through squirel proof wire bird feeders here in Oxfordshire….

  165. I was eating a nice, healthy bowl of Crispix while reading this post. Needless-to-say, the photos of the dirty water in the pan made my cereal taste “funny.”

  166. I have to admit, I had not idea how the whole process worked. I can just see my darling hubby’s face right now . . . when he sees my sister’s spinning wheel and dyeing rack in her backyard, he counts his blessings that I have never “gotten into” spinning. “Cooking fleece” would just send him right over the edge.

  167. just wanted to let you know that we found your tutorial so engaging we decided to post about it over at our blog. Hope you don’t mind, but i borrowed a pic for illustration purposes.
    you rock!
    (take that, rodent!)
    (and you forgot the c in technology(giggle))

  168. Very ingenius. I read that commment about the squirrel chewing through the bungee cord. Maybe if you give him a couple of locks he would be happy. I know that you are still angry with the squirrel, but my momma taught me sharing was nice You could share just give him a little bit. LOL Apparently he loves it as much as we do. The squirrels deserve to have a stash as well. I can’t imagine living without mine. πŸ™‚

  169. Keep an eye on the fleece—those squirrels can be persistent when they want something. We got sick of having them in our trash bins, so we bought some heavy duty indestructable ones. Don’t you know that the next day, the little bugger chewed a hole the size of a dinner plate into the lid. Within a few weeks, all three had lage points of entry. Don’t drop your guard, yet. Be vigilant. Caveat Scurius!

  170. Wow. This is an entirely different method of fleece washing than I used to do, which involved buckets outside on my deck. You are so very careful and respectful of the fleece. I hope it rewards you mightily!!
    I LOVED the squirrel bit. That is too freaking funny and sweet victory is yours!!

  171. You have giant, fat squirrels in Canada! That beast is twice the size of the scrawny, managy squirrels we get in South Carolina.

  172. Wow – I never knew there was so much prep work to spinning.
    And, if the SDS (squirrel deterrent system) keeps working, you really should patent that solution and sell it – you’d make a fortune!

  173. HILARIOUS! I was holding my breath the whole post long waiting for the part where you went into the trees and the street finding pieces of fleece as you went. . . . .
    BRILLIANT squirrel deterrant, now, if I could just get that to work with my bird feeders. Damn squirrels!

  174. I haven’t worked with fleece yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to come back to this post! Who knew squirrels steal fleece. Glad you got him on that one!!

  175. Oh! Too funny! What great photos of the squirrel. Was he chewing you out in that last photo. Pretty please, will you publish the story (complete with fleece washing instructions) in Spin-Off?

  176. Harlot 1 Tree Rat 1 (he does get credit for pilfering the last fleece). Yes sports fand, the score is tied, note the bewildered look on the small rodent’s face. New tactics are necessary if he’s to overcome the opposition.

  177. Congrats on outsmarting a rodent (why does this sound insulting?)…and you’ve made me very, very grateful that OTHER people spin yarn for me to knit.

  178. Oh, I laughed and laughed! Is it because it looks like a squirrel? I don’t get why they are so into it!

  179. Hilarious that the squirrel showed up! I like the idea of how you wash the fleece, I always lament the loss of locks when I soak it in the washer. Not sure I have the time and patience to do just a pan at a time, though…

  180. I love that shot of the squirrel looking right at you. It’s as if he knows that he’s been foiled and it’s you who has done it. Great job!

  181. Too funny! Hard to judge from a picture, but that sure looks like one darn big squirrel. Do you grow them bigger up north? And I would still keep an eye on your fleece, the fuzzy-tailed rat still looks mighty determined. Good luck!

  182. FANTASTIC!! This is such a great post — both the instructions for washing the fleece and the war with the squirrel. Made me LOL!

  183. Take that, evil squirrel! Woot!
    Those are the funniest pictures I have seen in a long time. Maybe you should add a macro and submit it to icanhascheezburger… πŸ™‚

  184. You know he’ll be back, though. He’s probably got the squirrel wire all a-buzz with this new contraption and reinforcements will be coming next week from Queen’s Park…

  185. Am I the only one who now has even more reason NOT to learn to spin. I would never have the patience for washing fleece.

  186. I have chipmunks eating my tomato plants. Let me say it again CHIPMUNKS ARE EATING MY TOMATOES. I have lovingly made a raised bed.. I have carefully (and organically) protected my garden from deer. But little rodents? Climbing to the TOP OF MY FENCE AND EATING ONLY THE PERFECTLY RIPE TOMATOES!?!?!
    I stayed out on the deck very quietly for over an hour (as the source has been hotly debated in our household. Birds? Squirels? Crickets?). And it’s chipmunks! DAMN IT. When I drive in my driveway, and I see a chipmunk sitting there looking cute, I speed up. I haven’t hit one yet.

  187. Love it- I hope you will be incorporating some of the fleece snatching episodes in your next book, the pictures are a riot! On a side note:I have a dish cloth for your visit to Atlanta. Didn’t know if my email when through previously.

  188. I found you fleece washing method interesting, since I’m contemplating my first spinning class, and read it all. Then, wow, what a payoff. Love the squirrel pics. I’ve been there, done that in the squirrel wars, and completely empathize with your glee. I can’t stop grinning.
    Of course, I think they’re cute, and I feed them. A little. I’ve posted taken pictures of squirrels being cute. But your pictures? Representing the resolution of such a long, well-documented battle? They are both hilarious and satisfying.

  189. Uh – I meant Rams and Presbytera are so clever, when I was commenting yesterday *smacks head for forgetting Presbytera*
    And my officemates all agree — Mr. Squirrel will be back. They may have tiny brains, but those tiny brains don’t have room for the word ‘defeated’ – so we can’t wait to see the next installment in the saga.

  190. OMG – that is too funny ! Congrats on beating the “bum wipe ” ! I love how don’t have to leave home to find great entertainment !
    Happy Knitting ,
    Kim O

  191. Man, you are one OCD woman, probably why you are so very successful. I have to admit I am a fill washer with hot water, add fleece, spin out water, repeat fleece washer. With 7 sheep, 3 goats, and 2 alpaca, it would take me from now until the end of the Iraq War to wash all that fleece.
    Love the squirrel photos; he really looks flummoxed about the whole thing, doesn’t he?

  192. when you start touring again in the states usa
    will your war with your rat bastards spill over
    the border as our rat bastards march in sympathy
    and we have to call in the guard and homeland
    security as they chew the power lines and hurl
    missles and pine cones at me how much peanut
    butter balls and sunflower seeds will they
    want in a peace settlement we will meet you
    at the border there will no more fleecing
    of the united states of america love ya

  193. That is a much easier way to wash fleece than mine! Mine clogs up my kids’ bathtub drain…ew. I think I’ll give yours a shot next time, thanks!
    Stupid squirrels–we used to have the same problem with some sort of bluejay. Could not leave anything outside without it being torn apart by those mangy birds! They even ate deviled eggs! It seemed so carnivorous to me at the time.

  194. Wow! I like this method–a lot. When I’ve washed by the lock I’ve used lingerie bags, and it takes bleeping forever. I’m gonna get me a big roasting pan…oh, yeah, I HAVE big roasting pan…and get busy fleece washing. And maybe my vow never again to buy a raw fleece (after 15 or more years of washing by other less lovely methods)will go bye-bye.
    Thanks, Stephanie! This really is a nifty tutorial.
    Oh, yeah…great squirrel control system. Thank goodness for brains larger than lentils…maybe navy beans?

  195. I’ve been secretly following your fleece bandit story. This is truly hilarious…I’m laughing with tears in my eyes because the squirrel was caught on film. You are truly a gentle person…till someone steals your fleece. Then it’s war. thanks for sharing.

  196. Um, I wouldn’t gloat too much. The eastern grey squirrel is one tenacious little critter with buzz-saws for teeth. If that little bugger really wants your roving, it will find a way. All it has to do is chew a hole in the mesh.

  197. The whole tutorial was very educational, but it was the squirrel pics at the end that really made the post. Especially the one where he’s on his hind legs giving you the squirrel look of death for outsmarting him.

  198. Hilarious post. I haven’t had a chance to read all of the other comments, so maybe someone else suggested this boring but squirrel-proof solution: How about drying the fleece indoors on sweater-drying rack(s)? You know, those stackable mesh surfaces? You would only need a space 3 ft. or less on a side, either on the floor or a table. It might take longer, but you would be assured of preserving all of your fleece.
    I agree with other commenters who say, never underestimate a lentil-brained rodent in a fur coat. I was attacked by a squirrel when I was 6 or 7–still have the scar on my knee from falling on the concrete steps as I ran for the house. (There was an acorn famine that year, and the rat bastards had gotten into the attic, presumably trying to find the kitchen. My dad blocked up the holes he could find, and my mother and I foolishly tried to keep them from trying again by feeding them outdoors. No such luck, and the squirrel attacked one day when I ran out of food.)
    Good luck with the fleece, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished gansey in all its splendor.

  199. Heh heh heh. Can’t you just hear him muttering squirrely expletives?
    LOL!
    Way to go, Steph. :o) I look forward to seeing the finished Gansey!

  200. I can’t help but wonder (and shudder), what does fleece bouillon smell like?
    The squirrel pictures, the squirrel moment is priceless!

  201. This is way too funny. I love the step by step instructions and all the pictures that go with it. The look on the squirrel’s face is priceless.
    No more fleece for this guy or his relatives!!!!

  202. It almost feels like you are taunting the squirrel. Almost.
    Given how long it probably took to wash that fleece (and it doesn’t look like a terribly large amount – about how much yarn do you think you would get out of the amount you washed?), I can’t blame you for trying to beat the squirrel.

  203. MMMM…tidy little fleece packets roasting away…
    And don’t be too sure about that squirrel. He’s giving you THE EYE. He and his henchmen will return in force.
    Thank you SO much for the laugh!!!

  204. the expression on the squirrels face is PRICELESS. lovely fleece washing technique…as i’ve never washed fleece your method seems just as reasonable as the next fleece washer’s.

  205. What I got from this whole tutorial is that fleece is sensitive and easily angered. I will continue to buy my fiber already washed and spun, thus limiting my exposure to potentially furious fleece.
    Plus: Stephanie 1, Squirrel Zip

  206. ROFLMAO….wonderful tutorial and just love the neat little locks of fiber and THE technology…wonderful! But you know, don’t you, that given a bit of time, the squirrel WILL find a way to get the bungee cords free. Of course that would make for a great photo…little rat bastard getting smacked upside the head with the business end of bungee cord (wicked laughter here).

  207. I think the last Rat Bastard Portrait should grace the cover of your next book.
    Call it “Curses! Foiled again!”

  208. Too funny. But I must comment that I believe the score is now Harlot = 1, Rodentia = 1. The war rages on!!! Let’s see who wins this war. p.s. I must admit after that wonderful tutorial, I shall keep buying my wool pre-cleaned and spun. Ick!

  209. I’m guessing with all the washing and squirrel stalking the writing was minimal on Tuesday.
    Of course I have a feeling these activities may have been a touch more fulfilling –

  210. Huzzah! A detailed explanation of how to wash fleece without kneeling down by the bathtub (stupid knees)! And of course, a tidy way as well. Call me prissy, but the dripping and rinsing and moving and cooling techniques I’ve heard of before sounded like a lot of workspace cleanup and splashing around horrid nasty dirty water on my nice (relatively) clean floors/counters/bathtub. This sounds MUCH more manageable.
    Hee hee! Excellent squirrel pics – he’s trained, all right! I bet he can smell that wet fleece half a mile away!

  211. Best post ever.
    I especially like the filename for the first picture of the woolniverous rodent.
    You totally won.

  212. Rams and Presbytera ROCK! That is an awesome gadget. Thanks for the excellent tutorial on fleece washing. I have friends who are venturing into this for the first time and I am going to mention your post and suggest they ready it. It really took out a lot of mystery to the process.

  213. Now if only I’d thought of that before his cousin (the Missisauga squirrel) had carried off my newly spun BFL….

  214. Hysterical – the squirrel story was one of my favorite in the second book!
    By the way, did you ever end up doing anything with the goat fleece or did the smell finally drive you to give it up entirely?

  215. Not being a spinner, I almost didn’t read this post, but I am so glad I did. That’s the best laugh I’ve had in a while. And, you’ve reinforced my refusal to start messing with pre-processed sheep goods! Too much work.

  216. I’d have posted sooner, but I had a little coffee incident, just as I scrolled to read the last few lines. Apparently spewing coffee over papers can do that.
    You have GENIUS friends.
    I had seriously great success felting a swatch last night in my big mixer. Your post long ago about slippers or clogs sent me searching in the right direction. I may have to try some myself before the Holidays. As if socks wasn’t enough.

  217. I can’t believe you got pictures of the squirrel! Some nature photographers wait years to get their “in the wild” pictures. Fabulous!

  218. Outstanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    the little varmint has been outwitted….
    The squirrel repellent device should be patented.
    Very clever!
    I am heading out to the store to purchase the necessary materials..

  219. Score 1 for the harlot team! Ha ha ha ha… Have at you, squirrel! How long did you have to wait?
    On fleecewashing – if you are working with a highly lustrous wool, you might find (as I did) that prolonged exposure to heat dulls the shiny fiber. πŸ™

  220. I just love the pictures. I’m so glad the rat with a bushy tail lost the battle. Now here’s to hoping you ‘ve won the war. I guess the varmint wasn’t dead after all.

  221. LOL!!! All the talk about angering the fleece and it retaliating by felting cracked me up! Just when I was recovering you had the pictures of the defeated squirrel. Awesome post, thanks!

  222. Thanks for the tutorial. I, too, never thought of doing it that way. Might just be the perfect approach for that pretty little Alice Fields cormo fleece I bought at MASW.
    Nifty anti-squirrel tool too! Poor critter.

  223. Thanks for the photos of the literal “wool squirrel”. They were so funny! I will have to try that washing technique with my next “keep it in the lock” fleece.

  224. AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Yarn Harlot 1; squirrel 0. GAME OVER!
    Great squirrel deterant device. I loved the last photo as the squirrel is looking straight at you so innocently, as if to say, “I didn’t want your stinky fleece anyway.”

  225. That is foul!!! Coworker and I had a long conversation about this post while running errands during lunch. We concluded that if we start spinning, we’ll buy fleece that has already been washed. We’re not as brave as you.

  226. OMG! Please put up a warning in your blog. Do not read the fleece stealing lentil brained rodent deterrent part while drinking a hot mocha. Coffee being laughed out a nose HURTS!

  227. This just made me laugh and laugh and LAUGH. Ha-HA! Take that, squirrel! I believe they would still try to get at it, though, I’ve seen what they do to try to get to birdfeeders. For such dumb animals they can be so crafty and persistent. I’m glad you foiled the evil rat bastard.

  228. Thank you so much for that tutorial. Could you please list the steps in number format, i.e.,
    1. place in pillowcase
    2. fill with hot water, let soak for ___ and empty
    3. etc.
    I got a little confused during reading your description about how many rounds include soap, on which rinses you ‘cook’ the fleece, and how many times you rinse the fleece and or cook the fleeced while rinsing.
    Thanks again and congratulations on beating the evil fleece-stealing squirrel.

  229. ROFL!!! Omigod, that’s awesome… you have proof that the little rodent really is out to get you and gloating that he can’t…it’s as perfect as the wrapping on the fleece burrito, yes it is!

  230. Literally minutes after reading your post, I got a text message from my bf saying, “I just nearly got hit by a falling squirrel!”
    Add that he considers himself to be “very important in the knitting community**” and well, coincidence? I think there is a furry conspiracy happening.
    **(I will concede he is very nice to Denny)

  231. I love that poor confused squirell’s expression! The things we do for the love of knitting.
    Sending you good gansey wishes from Oklahoma!

  232. All right, so there’s not much glory in being commenter #338 (let there be a moment of silence here for the hard drive I killed yesterday), but still: ROFLMAO!
    (Are you just a trifle OCD about those locks?

  233. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this.
    I do, however, feel the need to mention that the little fuzzy bugger may someday learn how to chew the bungee cords… Until such time, please laugh freely and often at his failure.

  234. too too funny! especially the emoting squirrel. I didn’t read all the comments but at least one person mentioned that they can chew through bungee cords. I lost a lot of birdseed that had the cover bungee corded on. But it sure worked this time.

  235. He showed up again, like you are some sort of fleece samaritan! That’s hilarious. I can imagine him going home, working out his little squirrel plans far into the night, trying to devise a way to overcome the fleece protection device.Hooray for bungee cords!

  236. When I saw “Sheep Dipping” I immediately thought of a huge, fluffy dilly bar. How delicious!
    I like your way of washing fleece. Does it totally reek?
    K
    ps. way to go for outsmarting the little bugger! YAY!

  237. You know… My uncle once cleaned out a squirrel’s cache of acorns stacked up under the deck of his house. For months afterwards, every time he walked out his door, a squirrel chittered loudly at him and chucked an acorn at his head. Do you suppose, now that you’ve thoroughly ticked off your squirrel, he’ll throw locks of the fleece he pilfered earlier at yours?

  238. He is totally swearing at you in squirrel-speak! I LOVE that you beat him. I’ve stopped parking near the dumpster at the store, so my enemy has had less opportunity to mock me. Although I did spy him the other day, scooting out from UNDER my car at about the time I normally leave. Bastard!

  239. Way to go Stephanie! Hahahahaha you little bastard!!! Yarn Harlot one, squirrel zip!
    Kendra

  240. I thought of this while looking at your squirrel pictures. You use your bike so much that you could use folding baskets. My friend and I got them at an Amish farm bike shop in Shipshewana, Indiana. You could have your wonder publicist book you in Shipshewana or Indianapolis, or you could buy them on line at http://sportsbay.com/folrearbas1.html
    A grocery bag fits in each one, and they fold flat when not in use.
    I’m awaiting your pictures of the squirrel figuring how to manipulate bungie cords. Did you know squirrels live 25 years? Plenty of time for them to figure it out!

  241. I want I learn how to spin, but I’ll be skipping the washing fleece phase after reading your post! Can you recommend a place to start — where the instructions are simple and straightforward? I would like to try my hand at it before making any big investments in equipment.

  242. Yay! Love those squirrel shots!
    And the fleec washing was interesting too. Whether or not one is planning to wash fleece, and I am not, it is interesting to see your simple, practical method.

  243. Still laughing at the way a simple human has managed to defeat a master-of-fleece-stealing squirrel!
    The fleece washing was fascinating, but may I just say to all those people who expressed disgust at the fact that I am spinning and knitting my very clean dogs’ carefully brushed hair…”Thbbbt!” That is revolting!

  244. I’ve been knocked out from anti-pain-from-dental-torture medication today, and this has been my first and only laugh of the day.
    Gosh, that felt good!

  245. I’m glad I’m home alone right now. I laughed to hard, I know my husband would have thought I had lost it.
    Yay!!! You beat the fleece stealing fuzzballs with the long tails! Congratulations and thanks for the tutorial. πŸ™‚

  246. Oh my— I am still (this is 24 hours later mind you) laughing over the look on that Rotten Fleece Bandit’s face!
    Thank you so much for the laugh!

  247. The temerity of that squirrel! I can’t believe s/he actually came after the fiber in broad daylight, much less while you were waiting to ambush her/him with your camera. Way to go, Steph!!
    Hmmm, cooking the fleece. Scary, but cool. I may have to try that next time. (Ummm, do you need the vent fan turned way up? Or is the odor not too bad?)

  248. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Enjoy your moment of triumph while it lasts, young lady.
    Remember — squirrels can and do chew through screen. And bungee cords. They are not stupid. At this very moment, he is up in your tree, snug inside his little squirrel-hole, bent over a tiny drafting table, and, under the soft glow of bioluminescent fungus, he is working out a blueprint to access the fleece by chewing through the table from the underside.
    And now I know EXACTLY what to bring you when you come to New Orleans.
    LOVE your method for washing locks. Why didn’t I think of using a roasting pan? So much more ergonomic. I use horse shampoo, a big canning pot and an old frybasket lined with cheesecloth — the same canning pot I use for dyeing, I just bleach everything between uses.
    Kudos on the sublimely gross fleecewater. That’s about how dirty my last three fleeces were — about the color of Katrina floodwater.
    Blark! πŸ˜›
    And I’m glad I’m not the only person who obsesses on brucellosis and e. coli while washing fleece.

  249. that’s one good way to skin a cat er squirrel.
    i always wondered how someone washed fleece before combing and spinning it. that water is just too gross to imagine. thanks for the tutorial!

  250. You and your squirrel rantings and pix made me laugh on a day that I have cried endlessly. As always, you work like a tonic on me, Miss Stephanie. (An allusion to GONE WITH THE WIND, in case you didn’t know…)

  251. Ha! Quite possible the funniest blog post I’ve read in months. I’m so glad to know it only took three humans to outwit the squirrel. (I’d be worried he’s gonna come back with some buddies though.)
    And I’m quite intrigued by your fleece washing method. I think I am going to try that next time. I’ve not had very good luck when trying to keep the lock structure intact. Which I’d like to do at least once. Possibly after that I’ll decide it isn’t worth it but it’s a decision I’d like to make informed rather than by default.

  252. Too funny!!! the squirrel essay was my favorite one in your book, and I am SO GLAD that you foiled him

  253. I’m pretty much cured of any notion of starting at Fleece. Will continue to start at Yarn.
    Excellent photojournalism there, Harlot! Well done, you! I laughed out loud, really I did.
    Two questions:
    Which President?
    and
    Why is everyone assuming that squirrel is a “he”?
    (Now I’m heading back to the pointy sticks, with no manure, dip, or other “extras” πŸ™‚ )

  254. ROFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s amazing. It’s made me want to spin. XD Now I really really want to learn how to spin. But alas! Poor college student can’t really spend that much money on a new hobbie! (Lies, I spend plenty more on yarn, but moot point.) Even the fleece washing looks fun. XD Congratulations on your victory.

  255. Came home from a hideous day yesterday, clicked on the Harlot, laughed so much that I had to share it with my boss this morning, she laughed so much we sent the link to others… spreading hilarity amongst those of us that (a) have tried in vain to outwit lentil brained rodents and (b) just needed a damn good laugh.
    Thanks as always for being you!

  256. DH said you could do this gadget one better by hooking it up to the household current…Zap the bugger with electricity!
    His idea, not mine.
    Viki

  257. Excellent fleece washing instructions.
    Amazing squirrel-caught-in-the-act pictures.
    And what, may I ask, is the book about? πŸ™‚

  258. Of course, the blog entry that hooked me on you forever was one of the first I read and involved washing newly spun goat fleece…’nuf said about that. Regarding the rest of the process discussed in today’s post, all I can say is – now that’s love.

  259. HA HA HA HA! That…was…beautiful! I’m still wiping away the tears from laughing. Frikken squirrel…congrats on one-uping the squirrel!

  260. My sister doesn’t knit but I told her to read this entry. SHe once had a squirrel that she was fighting with over a bird feeder.(She felt the birds should get some of the food) The squirrel won when it literally dismantled the bird feeder board by board and carried it down into the woods. I knew my sister would be pleased that someone beat the squirrel.

  261. Hee! You win this one. Thanks for the tutorial. As a high school senior this year, I get to embark on my six week senior project in May, which I have already planned, and will be washing newly-shorn fleece, carding, dying, spinning, and knitting. I’m excited. =D

  262. Steph beat that Rat Bastard!
    This time at least. πŸ™‚
    I hope he’s back so we have many more posts like this one (where I laughed so much my cat came over to make sure I was ok) but that he is always foiled in his quest for fleece!

  263. I was telling my husband about the foiled squirrel and could barely get the story out because I was laughing so hard. His favorite part was where you waited for the fleece theif.

  264. Your squirrel probably thinks you have caught and skinned a relative, so he was just coming to check!

  265. Until today I would have said what is the world with one squirrel more or less? The laugh’s on me because last night my cat lovingly brought in a baby squirrel, like a kitten. Although I’m not awfully keen on squirrels (aggressive little buggers), this baby was in good shape and I couldn’t just let it dehydrate to death… I had to take it 20 miles to a wild life hospital, along with a $20 donation. Not stupid…

  266. That is too funny. From the looks of that last picture though, you may want to keep your guard up. Clever they are.

  267. Thank you. Today was a hard day. I needed a lesson in how to get the crap out of fleece and a good laugh. That squirrel is beyond belief.

  268. So the squirrel is still alive and stealing! Either that or he trained a new one. What a good deterrent. I’ll start using that if the squirrels around here become super smart.

  269. OMG!!! That has to be the funniest f@#$ing thing I’ve ever seen!!!! You know he was like, “what the …?” And then went and told ALL his frends, “You are not going to believe what that broad with all that fleece did …” I’m sure you are the talk of the squirrel network.

  270. Hate to tell you, the squirrels round here have already figured out how to chew through wire mesh. You thought of connecting that sieve to a low-volt battery?

  271. I’ve been following this saga for a while with interest because we don’t have squirrels in Australia. Although I’m sure the native wildlife would love fleece. I love the expression on his face when he worked out he couldn’t get in.
    I so agree about the gloves I grew up on a farm where we produced coarse wool so I know exactly what’s on a fleece.

  272. I fell off my chair more than once reading this post!!!!! You go, girl!!!!! Those squirrel photos are priceless. He looks SO confused!!! I, too, am a washer of fleece and think your method is great! Quite ingenious!!! I am trying to “be like you” and do some spinning on Tuesdays and have been somewhat successful. My problem is that ALL I WANT TO DO IS KNIT SOCKS!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the laughter you cause in all of us!!!

  273. I just wanted to tell you that I use a method similar to yours for lock preservation but instead of a sheet or pillowcase I use bridal tulle. It’s good because the meshiness – yup that’s my word – lets some of that chunkier stuff escape more easily.
    I also safety pin it closed with brass pins since it is lighter than the fabric and doesn;t stay folded on it’s own.
    I so loved this because the washing machine fleece washing makes me so crazy and nervous. I love spinning from the lock!

  274. Steph, absolutely priceless! Love the rodent, but be prepared for squirrel retaliation, I hear it’s fierce! I admire your persistance to the gansey. Me, as a 2 yr knitter from Oklahoma, who is mastering socks and learning lace, this is way over my skill level, but I do have a desire to learn spinning. I am not sure at the fleece level, tho.

  275. This comment is in late response to the one on July 27 when the kids were driving you nuts. I work full-time from home as a computer programmer for a major truck manufacturer. I just spent the summer with 3 kids ages 7, 6 (twins) working full-time with them at home. It was awful at times. At first they were good, then towards the end they declared anarchy on me- they were sick of me working, etc. They went back to school yesterday! I made it and I see you did too! Mothers get it rough- I turn them over to dad to play with when he gets home! :>

  276. Everyone at the office gave me a weird look when I started laughing hysterically at random. I was not expecting that last bit of photographic hilarity, and I just about died.
    Thank you for making my day!

  277. Hubby was admiring that squirrel. “That’s a big one. Ontario squirrels are the best. Good fly tying material… Does she have a gun? I doubt it…” Maybe you could rig up a live squirrel trap. Hubby would be thrilled to take the squirrel off your hands. When we were in Kitchener last year, I actually went so far as to pick up a squirrel “down on it’s luck” that was laying on the side of the road. Made my mom pull over and emptied a shopping bag so I didn’t actually have to touch it, and when we got back to the house, proudly presented it to hubby. His comment? “Now, That’s LOVE.” See, here in NS we have very small squirrels with small, not overly fluffy tails. Not so good for fly tying. Come to think of it, haven’t seen non-live squirrels here. In the trees, teasing the dog, definitely.

  278. ROTFLMAO! That is so funny!
    You must feel so great, having gotten the picture. Me, I’d be hanging out with my slingshot. Not a good idea to anger me, or steal my fiber. Take THAT!

  279. that is hysterical ! The look on that squirrel’s face is priceless. He obviously thought he had you, Stephanie, but thanks to your big-brained friends, he is stymied !! Good luck with your fleece !

  280. That is quite possibly the funniest post in the history of blogging EVER. EVER, I tell you.
    Meanwhile, your new stove is probably wondering, of all the households in Canada I could have been shipped to, I get sent to the crazy lady who likes to make wool burritos…

  281. I’m reading this late as I was helping the fam pack up my grandparents house – what a mess! Reading about beating th squirrels made me laugh ’til I cried!

  282. HA! That’s GREAT! Absolutely, HYSTERICALLY, great!
    Now let’s take tally:
    Squirrel-15
    Stephanie-1
    Hmm…maybe we can wash fleece more often with this method and even the score out a bit?

  283. Awwww…what about their little squirrel babies? Those little dudes just want to knit, don’t you think you could throw them a little wool to feather their nest? I always give my wildlife a little bit of what they want, and then they leave the real stuff alone.

  284. Thanks for the morning laugh!!! I never intend on spinning, so I don’t know why I even read through the post on how to clean fleece (may I say yuck?) But the pay off was at the end. It was so funny! Bungee cords are the same system I used to outsmart the racoons that kept getting in my garbage. The domed sreen is ingenious!!! I love the look on the little ‘bum wipes’ face!!

  285. The best part is the picture names…..I am particularly fond of the first
    squrilfked
    It really just says it all. the washing instructions were nice as well. Thanks
    ljh

  286. I broke the silence of this very quiet morning laughing and celebrating your victory over the fiendish squirrel.

  287. All it needs is one more picture of the squirrel giving you the finger. It sure looks like it wants to! πŸ™‚

  288. I have a question, I have just pulled out an old fleece to try your method on and there are a hundred little moths on the top of the fleece bag. There seems to be alot of what I think is moth poop, or eggs. Can I still use this part of the fleece, or should I toss it and use the better part in the bottom of the bag? Thanks, Ruth

  289. LOL thats a great blog. I’m a spinner but I did not gasp πŸ˜‰ I’ve learned how to agitate the fiber gods just enough to get the fiber clean and dyed πŸ˜€ It was tricky in the beginning but I have to say after spinning of over a year and doing just about the same thing you do i have never felted fiber πŸ™‚

  290. Not to burst anyones bubble but……I showed this post to my husband, avid hunter, outdoorsman and quality engineer. This isn’t a he…..no sadly it’s a pregnant female. Don’t ask me how he knows, he just knows. He does nothing without avid research. That’s why he’s an engineer. So….guess you should start to refer to this little thief as SHE. She’s probably hormonal. It’s hot and she’s pregnant. She’s trying to get material for a layette.

  291. Aw..I feel kinda sorry for the squirrel, s/he seems so disappointed and puzzled.
    I know…I know that’s all your hard work under the picnic dome
    But I always cheer for the undergog πŸ˜‰

  292. Doing alot of knitting and crafting,i always have tons of fabric, thread and yarn scraps and cut offs from weaving in ends. instead of throwing them away, i save all these and leave them outside for birds,squirrels, (they are not so aggressive in los angeles, it think i also overfeed them on stale crackers and they have gotten spoiled) it kills me to waste materials,especially when i reel off too much to seam a sweater or cutting the knots in skeins of yarn (LornasLaces at least 4 balls out of 5 have knots) i hate to waste it and this way im giving back to the environment, and im not throwing it in the trash. give them crappy acrylic, any kind of fiber scraps or cut up old tshirts that wont make it to goodwill and leave them outside where they will take it and leave the good stuff alone.
    Good Luck defending your good fiber:).

  293. This is awesome. I was fascinated with the whole fleece washing routine, and then when it got to the squirrel bit, I actually had to clap my hands over my mouth so I didn’t laugh out loud at work!
    I love the last picture, the squirrel looking right at the camera — It looks like he’s thinking “Damn you!”

  294. Hey, so will you do a tutorial on what you do next? Does the washed wool go straight to the drum carder or is there another step?
    Congrats on tricking the squirrel… that deserves a celebration!

  295. Filthy – but intriguing.
    How long did you have to wait for that squirrel to show up?
    His face tells me this isn’t over yet. Oh, he’s given you this round – but he’s biding his time.

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