Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A homemade basket for washing fleece in the tub

I've been contemplating an easier way to wash raw fleece in the tub. I decided that some sort of basket would be the best thing. The fleece could be put into the basket, the basket and fleece submerged in the tub's soapy, hot water and left to soak. The basket could be lifted out of the tub to drain the dirty water and refill the tub with either more hot, soapy water, or hot, fresh rinse water, and then the basket re-submerged.

I went to the hardware store to scope out materials, and came home with a 3x15 foot roll of plastic hardware netting, the sturdy, yet still flexible kind that can wrap around tree trunks to protect them from deer, not the really flimsy netting that goes over berry bushes:

Here's the resulting basket along with the materials used to make it, netting, twine, and scissors:

 It was really easy to cut the netting to the right size and then fold the ends up to make a basket:

 The extra material at the corners was folded to the outside of the basket so that fiber wouldn't catch in the fold on the inside, and then tied in place with the twine:

I braided a length of twine and used it as handles, but I think I'll remove the handles and add loops along this edge for dowels to slide into. This will make it easier to lift the basket out of the tub to hang, resting on the dowels which will in turn rest on the edges of the tub, when changing the water in the tub:

Here is some Icelandic fleece in the basket, waiting for the tub to fill with hot, soapy water:

Here's the fleece soaking in the tub. It's so easy to place it into the water and let it soak this way. There's no agitation to felt the fibers:

I lifted the basket out and placed it on an old screen resting on the edges of the tub while I drained the filthy water and refilled for one more soapy soak. Again, very little agitation was induced:

After two soapy soakings and one rinse soak, it was easy to lift the fiber out of the tub. I let it drain overnight sitting on the old screen over the tub, and this morning it's drying outside in the sunshine:

This basket is super easy to make. The roll of plastic netting cost something like $16, and the hemp twine cost about $2. There's plenty of netting left to make more baskets, or use in the yard. If you wash raw fleeces, I'd recommend using a basket, it really makes things easy.

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