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Fleece Washing Time!

It may seem a little strange, but I love to wash fleece. Well, depending on who is reading this, maybe it does not seem so strange, but in my little circle of fibery friends, I do not know anyone else who does this for fun. It all started in 2010, when I went to my first Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I was set up in a corner of Gail and Jim White’s Ozark Carding Mill booth (I wonder if Gail and Jim have retired–their site is not up,) helping sell Unicorn Fibre Products, while they sold their gorgeous fiber and yarn, and took fleeces back to process at their mill.


I had used Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse to wash, block, and freshen knitted and crocheted FOs, and even to set my beginner handspun skeins. But when it came to Power Scour, I was relying on Gail’s expertise and the testimonials of other fiber processors, which I incorporated into my sales spiel. While they all raved about the performance of Power Scour, I felt a little left out, and thought it would make more sense if I personally knew what I was talking about. So I decided to buy a fleece from the booth next door to Gail’s, so I could test the product on my own. Must have been the wool fumes! I figured I would wash a pound or so and then send the rest off for processing. Little did I know that this would turn into an addiction source of such enjoyment. My first fleece was a large and quite greasy Romney, and I washed all 8 pounds of it in my back yard! My obsession began. I repeated the buy a fleece and wash it cycle for several more wool festivals. I’m still not sure why I love it so much, and my neighbors are not sure what to make of it either. It must be just a function of being outside on an nice day and doing something by hand. All you makers and growers know what I mean, right?


These days, I have a No Fleece Buying rule for when I go to festivals, since I have several clean fleeces and have not done much with them. My plan for this year’s Spinzilla is to make a good dent in my clean fleece stash and card and spin up as much as possible, so I figured I should make sure all of my fleece is at least washed. I knew I had one that I had not scoured yet. It wasn’t the one I thought, and I honestly can’t eremember what kind of fleece it is. I know I have bought romney, romney-bond, shetland, coopworth lamb, cvm ram and I think that is it. All I can say about this one is that it is a nice chocolatey brown and it has been in the garage and I may have scored it at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool a few years ago. It could be part of the romney-bond, which was, as I recall, a biggie.

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A little VM, but otherwise, a nice looking fluffy fleece, and none the worse for aging in my garage for a while


I’ve been meaning to wash this since the weather warmed up this spring, but somehow did not get around to it till now. It rained where I live all of June and some of July, and then I’ve been busy with my local community garden. But then there came a nice sunny Friday morning, and I couldn’t wait any longer.

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Like many of my product demo posts, this one involves my doing some cleaning first, in this case my many plastic buckets, and food. Here is my squash haul from the home garden so far this year.


Whereas in the past I have “meticulously” laid locks with tips and cut ends oriented carefully and nestled in tulle envelopes for washing, this time I could not be bothered to find and use all of that stuff.


A couple years ago my husband strongly suggested I put things in the attic that I am not currently using. I know, right? So it is more of a chore to go up there and get things that I “need.” So for this episode of fleece washing, we are going pretty low tech.

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I start with the hottest water out of my kitchen sink tap, about 130-140 degrees. I am pretty conservative with my use of the Unicorn power scour and Fibre Rinse.


For the first wash, I start with about a teaspoon in 4 gallons of water, and probably a half pound of dirty fleece. It sits, with just a little gentle swishing, for about 20 minutes.


Here is the water after the first wash.

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Each batch then gets removed and placed in a colander I just use for fleece, and the dirty water gets poured right into the garden, once it has cooled.


I only pour it on the flowers and the fruiting plants, not on the greens or root crops. For the second wash, I use the same amount of water, but less Power Scour, about 1/2 teaspoon. Because I am doing this by hand and not in the machine, I can judge how much product and soak time I think each pile of fleece needs.


Here’s the water after the second wash. You can see that most of the “stuff” (lanolin and farm dirt) came out in the first go-round. So there is really no reason to go heavy-handed with the product. You can experiment on your own, since every fleece will be different and water is not the same everywhere either.


I like to keep the suds low, because even though I am reusing the water, the second half of my summer got so hot and dry that I am more conscious of my water use, and less suds means less rinsing.

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The next step is a Fibre Rinse soak.

Here is the water afterwards.

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For this I use slightly cooler, warm, not hot water, and one squirt in each bucket is fine. If I have a really dirty fleece, sometimes I will repeat this, but this guy is not too bad, and so the last step is a clear warm water soak.


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Then I go find my drying racks. In past years I have used our lawn furniture. but my husband is not a big fan of that, so now I have collected more appropriate materials, including my homemade fleece/sweater/garlic drying rack.

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Hot and dry weather is just the ticket for drying wet wool, and my blobs of clean fleece were good to go by the end of the afternoon. You may notice my garden is a little jungly. That’s August for you!

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If you have never hand washed a fleece, why not try it before this summer is over? I am curious how much of this I will be able to process and spin, and how much yarn will come out of it. A sweater’s worth? I have never spun for a sweater before, but maybe this is my year. Spinzilla is a great week-long spinning challenge, and Unicorn Fibre has been a sponsor for the last two years. Spinner registration starts tomorrow, so jump on board! The collective goal is to spin enough to stretch around the globe, and your personal goal is whatever you want it to be!

Now, up to the attic to find my hand cards!

Spinzilla Readiness Kit from Unicorn Fibre!

Spinzilla_editedHey Spinners–Have you all heard about Spinzilla, a handspinning competition/fundraiser that is in its 3rd year? The goal is to spin as much as you can during the competition week, but there is no reason not to start preparing now.

That is why we are offering the first of several Spinzilla Specials we will offer during our second year of Merino Sponsorship…The Spinzilla Readiness Kit!

Perhaps your goal for Spinzilla 2015 is to spin a fleece (or two!) First, scour your locks with Unicorn Power Scour, then make them spin more smoothly by adding a dab of Unicorn Fibre Rinse as you spin.

Spinzilla readiness kit

The kit gives you 16 oz of each product, which is enough for several fleeces, and a mesh bag for a better process. More careful processing = faster spinning!

Stock up for yourself, or go in with a Spinzilla teammate to save on shipping and also get $5 off any order over $50 with discount code UF5.

Stay tuned for more specials and crank up those wheels and spindles!

Fantastic Side-by-Side Product Test for Washing Fleece!

Here is a really excellent Blog post by Marie Spaulding, where she washes fleece in various scouring products including her first experience with Beyond Clean, our scentless version that is great for soiled baby clothing as well as dirty wool locks.

Thanks, Marie, for the terrific work, and for sharing it with us!

This has me really itching to wash a fleece I have stashed away–stay tuned!

More Experiments!

People are always doing good side by side comparisons using Unicorn Fibre Products. Here are a few recent ones!

A very thorough video from FluffyReviews with Unicorn Power Scour vs another wool wash on a gorgeous Cormo Fleece.

There are many washed lock photos on our Facebook page!

Thanks everyone, for putting our Unicorn Fibre products to the test and sharing the results!

Meet Our Unicorn Dealers–Camaj Fiber Arts!

Meet Our Unicorn Dealers–Camaj Fiber Arts!

It was my great pleasure to interview Mary Egbert from Camaj Fiber Arts. Even more so since she and I have met in person on a few occasions at the TNNA trade shows. And, she sent us a wonderful entry for our video and blog post contest a while back. Also, her products are BEAUTIFUL!

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Unicorn Fibre: Hi Mary, how goes it? Even thought we’ve met, I don’t know the backstory of your company, so this is a nice treat. Please tell me and our readers a little bit about how you got started.

Mary Egbert: We raised alpacas back in 2005 when we lived in Utah. I knew nothing about the fiber end of things and read every book and watched every video that was out there re: hand processing fleece, dyeing and spinning. I started washing fiber long before I spun. I bought my first wheel , a Louet S10, and it sat In the corner intimidating me for a year. Then I took the plunge and loved it! I took my first spinning class with Jacey Boggs in 2013.


UF: Fun! I resisted spinning for a while too, but it eventually sucked me in! Looks like you have a lot going on right now. I just realized you included Unicorn Power Scour and Fibre Rinse with your Raw Lock Box and we have been a monthly sponsor of your Spinning Box. I bet a lot of spinners would like to get their hands on your next offerings. How can people find you?

raw lock box

ME: A lot of ways! Here are all of our links.

The Camaj Fiber Arts Facebook Page

The Spinning Box Facebook Page

Our Blog

The Camaj Fiber Arts Website

The Spinning Box Website

UF: Wow! That is a lot of great stuff you have to offer! How do most people find their way to you?

ME: They find me through Facebook , You Tube videos, my website and Etsy. I do a few festivals a year so I can meet my customers face to face. It’s nice to meet people that I have developed a relationship with online.

UF: What are some of your favorite products and your bestsellers?

ME: My favorite products are all of them! I love everything I sell or I would not sell it. Everything I sell I have sampled and/or used so I can experience the product and pass along that information to my customer. If I don’t love it I know my customer won’t either. My best selling item is Soffsilk®, but the Spinning Box is gaining speed.

UF: What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your business?

ME: It surprises me how many people watch my videos and the positive impact that has had on my business. It really is fun getting a message from someone that said I taught them how to spin or I they learned how to dye fiber from watching my videos. It makes me feel like I’m giving back to the community and sharing what I know.


UF: You are a wonderfully supportive Unicorn Fibre dealer. How did you learn about Unicorn Fibre products?

ME: Through my tenacious research during my start up days when I was hand washing alpaca. It was, and still is, one of my favorite fiber soaps.

UF: I have to admit, I love washing a raw fleece and I will be starting up with that soon, maybe our next nice, dry day. What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

ME: Going to the beach and dancing. Not at the same time of course. Oh and being with my family, especially my grandchildren…all six of them. They are my heart.

UF: That is sweet. I bet they have fun when they see you. What is your favorite craft and who taught you to do it?

ME: Well my very first craft was sewing. My mother and grandmother were tailor quality sewers and they taught me a lot. I did that for a very long time and made clothes and toys for my kids. Once I got the taste of fiber arts and spinning yarn, sewing took a back seat.

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UF: I know how that goes. I just got back into crochet and hand sewing clothes, after a long time where knitting and spinning were center stage. So many crafts, so little time! What is your typical workday like?

ME: Up at 7…coffee…computer time to check/answer emails and orders…pack cards, adverts, or things for the Spinning Box….play on FB for a little while talking to friends and customers. Walk the dogs…check emails again. Some days I dye fibers or spin or do vids for You Tube. I babysit my twin grandsons a bit during the week too. I have a busy, full, wonderful life.

UF: Sounds like a lot of fun. What advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first got started?

ME: Why didn’t you do this years ago??!! I take that back, I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit, hunger for knowledge, am a great researcher and have flung lots of things at the wall and this has stuck and I love doing it!

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UF: You obviously have passion for what you are doing and a great attitude! What is your favorite quote or saying?

ME: I have a couple.

If you have not failed you never tried
Every great journey begins with a small step
Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself
Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

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UF: Mary, thanks for a wonderful interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?

ME: I can’t thank Unicorn enough for your support to my little biz. I will always be a great supporter of Unicorn as well.

UF: Aww, thanks! Hope to see you soon in the real world!

A Quick Testimonial–Getting Wool Diaper Covers REALLY Clean

We will be back soon with more Unicorn Fibre and Unicorn Baby Dealer Interviews, but here is a terrific testimonial from Heather P:

“My friend gave me some samples of the unicorn wash for my child’s wool diaper covers/pants. I’ve been using another brand of wool wash for about 2 years. That said, I WILL NEVER USE ANOTHER WOOL WASH EVER AGAIN!!! The filth that had built up in my woolies was disgusting and Unicorn washed all that dingy, nastiness right away. The colors were brighter, the fiber was softer, they smelled so much better. I even took a picture of my wash water to show my friend because I was in such disbelief. Thank you for such an awesome product!!!”


Thanks Heather! We are glad the Unicorn Fibre Wash was so effective for you!

The Unicorn Fibre Team

Meet our Unicorn Fibre Dealers–Baresheep!


received_10205493828278902I interviewed Shara Jean from Baresheep, and her responses were so good, I didn’t want to interrupt the flow with my questions. Shara runs her small business in an equally thoughtful way. Here is her story…

Shara: My business is a hobby, sometimes it makes some extra money. I sew custom upcycled wool accessories, clothing and covers for cloth diapered babies and really any babies, cloth diapered or not that can wear wool clothing. I’ve made items from wools such as cashmere and merino, sometimes wool blends. I sew almost anything requested if it is within my capability, things like longies, shorties, skirties, cardigans, vests, booties, blankets etc., and really all kinds of items can be requested and made to order.


I love to upcycle wools but I also purchase new wool and wool interlock for my products. I have a great assortment of other fabrics as well. The best part of my upcycling hobby is when you see something completed and feel a grand sense of pride that you rescued that from ending up in a landfill and you were able to repurpose it for something that will also prevent toxic waste (disposable diapers).

Most of my sewing gets done late night and weekends as I juggle a toddler and house during the work week.


My sewing buddy is “molly” my rescue cat. She typically sits by my feet and occasionally on a pile of wool if it is on the floor. She enjoys her time sitting and mostly sleeping in my finished basement / sewing room, that is – with no toddlers around to pick on her.

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I decided to start sewing all these items for my own baby when he was just born, of course it was one thing at a time really, and as I needed them.


I was very disturbed at all the chemicals that are used to manufacture, produce and dispose of disposable diapers and I naturally wanted a healthy way to manage these things. I knew about cloth diapers from a decade ago when my first child was born but I wanted to cloth diaper full time and with wool as it was much better then the plastic pants of the old days or toxic waste caused from the production of the PUL cover alternatives that are available these days.


I wanted to purchase these upcycled things from other WAHM’s and some name brands as well and I did from a few but I quickly realized it was within my ability to make them myself, and it would be better for me to save some $ doing so. Along my journey of almost borderline obsessive researching all these things, I realized how expensive it is getting in general to cloth diaper or even naturally dress your babies with the known brand names available.


Not to mention that some of the clothing comes from slave labor, and is processed in such a way that it is polluting the environment, and it really bothers me ethically, morally to support business that are not up to par with the standards of environmental and ethical treatments that are expected these days.


So my simple goal is that I aim to help others afford to naturally cloth diaper and dress their children and while I do upcycle wool it has its own way of saving the environment, one diaper, one hour of slave labor, and 1 cup of crude chemicals at a time. So, kind of like saving the world one diaper at a time, but I hope its more like 1 woolie at a time. But in general I do realize that some people just cannot afford the expensive stash building and gooberly expensive baby items that come with being more environmentally friendly while having to watch your pocket book… and I hope to try to give them an alternative to cheap outsourced and unethically made clothing with my hand made products and all within a great price range that is affordable and very practical. I want to help them build a stash of wool. I even make payment arrangements with some that need it for their budgeting and have had successful luck with those that do need it. I see it kind of like every mother helping every mother and together we create a village, but on a more board scale and sometimes its way out of our village. Lol


I really was able to get started because I was fortunate enough to already have known how to sew but I haven’t sewn in years. My Aunt passed away and I was given her sewing machine. After shopping around for woolies that were way out of my budget, I kind of just looked at the boxed up machine and said to myself “what am I doing…? I can totally make some myself now.” And so it began, one sweater confiscated from my hubby’s closet and then another, and then he let me go buy some… after that I was sewing every chance I could and building a stash of sweaters up for other moms too. I have a wonderful husband who totally supports this as a hobby and a small business.


We just bought a range of industrial machines to keep sewing on that will require much less maintenance then the others we have.

baresheep studio

I am always on the look out for mills to purchase wool from as well as upcycled wool. I try to get a good deals when I find them but I have high standards and I only buy quality wools. We are still building and saving for the next inventory items to keep sewing but it takes time and well, I have the time because it is something I have started to love doing and it kind of keeps me calm and less like the crazy house mom that needs to have a night out.

I started spreading the word of my woolies on facebook, and in wool trading and chatting groups.

I have a facebook page, and I have an etsy shop as well and my email is mostly people message me on facebook or etsy.
I just bought a website and am tinkering around with that, so stay tuned for that.

Some of my favorite things are baby blankets, cashmere longies and interlock wool, but I think my booties have gotten a lot of love this past winter too.
I think that the most surprising thing that has happened would be that I really enjoy it, enough that if I can keep doing it I will keep building it and it has brought me much joy, but just as much frustration at times with the legal and business aspect of it.

baresheep unicorn baby
I learned of unicorn products from a brand of wool that always was a lot over my price range, I did order from them but they never had stock of the washes and rinse. I also didn’t like their customer service and finally after 2 months of waiting for my order to ship I just contacted unicorn myself and then also found about being a retailer and I thought it would be great to always have stock so other didn’t have to wait to wash their wool for a very long time either. It just kind of makes sense.

Outside of work I enjoy my toddler playing at the park. I really enjoy coffee, like artesian coffee, and I love to brew it different ways and try new roasts or favorite coffees – I guess this is my favorite craft at heart but I would like to start roasting my own coffee someday and have a small coffee shop possibly with a lending library. I also enjoy running and generally all things outdoors. I am a nerd at heart and I swear when my toddler has a longer attention span I would love to dig into my biology and chemistry roots and start some vegetable garden and soap making.

baresheep workspace

Typically my work day starts the min I wake up with a toddler poking my face and rubbing my cheek or hair. After I stumble into the kitchen to make a bottle, start coffee, change diaper, make breakfast, make coffee, probably feed the cat put some cartoon on for the lil man and finally get to drink coffee. I start checking messages, any orders and thinking about what and when things need to get done. what do need to order, where is my laundry at and when are my shipments coming in.

baresheep thread and computer

I dont typically get to actually do a lot of the “work” until after dinner time or on the weekends, and it usually lasts until the wee hours of the night and occasional morning. It is a lengthy process, but it can be easy and quick too. some people like to be really involved and others just need that easy button but mostly the time consumption is from finding out what they want, how they want it, sizes and then the choices to present them. I help them choose from the best wools from the stash of mine once I have determined their needs and chosen the best, then I need to measure it, make a pattern and wash/ dry it before it is cut and sewn and finally rinsed before being shipped.

baresheep dyeing

It takes a few days and it’s a process, but I aim for the items to be the highest quality and with the best customer service. I am happy to offer a full range of wool care, including not only unicorn products but I have made my own pure lanolin and spray lanolin for the cloth diapering wools and soon I hope to have artesian made baby skin care products for eczema and other sensitive and extremely sensitive skin as well.

baresheep brand
Quality over quantity is the one thing would tell myself all over again. Sometimes it takes me a while as every piece of wool is different than the last and I take the time to work with it the way it needs. I feel there is a real skill in working with fibre and especially with wool and felting it as well as sewing.
My favorite quote is “ if you are going to do something, do it perfectly or don’t do it at all” and my favorite saying it “nothing comes easy that doesn’t go easy” or “this wasn’t meant to be easy or everyone would do it” particularly I tell myself this running or during marathon training but it also comes in handy with some sewing too lol
I am hoping to enter the crafting shows this year and have some ready made products available on my website for those that need an easy button with quick shipping.


The picture of the truck blanket was a PAY IT FORWARD item. Sometimes I make things randomly selecting people who are in some groups and are in need of items im comfortable making. I feel its important to give to those who need it, you never know the days ahead when you may need some help too. We havent taken a family pic in a while. Ill get one later today and send it. Use any of these you like and if you need a caption for it just let me know. Im off to sleep a few hours before monster wakes up. P.s. Molly is snoring on her wool blanket.



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