Three Bags Full

If there were such a thing as scratch and sniff blog posts, I can assure you, you would only scratch today’s once!

Fleece 1

For some reason, the photo just doesn’t do this justice – in fragrance OR in appearance. When I opened the bag this fleece was packed in, I was overwhelmed – and not in the best sense of the word – and it took less than 60 seconds for all six cats and the dog to find me and my new treasure, too! I’ve bought several fleeces over the past year, but so far, I’d had terribly cold feet in regard to actually washing them – in large part, I think, because not only had I never even seen the project done, but also because the fleeces I’d picked out were all really neat fleeces, and I was terrified I’d mess them up in some manner. In June, I cured that problem by purchasing a nice enough, but plain white, fleece. Opening the box sealed my fate; I HAD to wash it. There would be no living with my pets otherwise!

So, I made an emergency run to Walmart, where I purchased three mesh laundry bags, some Dawn dishwashing liquid, and a pleasant smelling bottle of hair conditioner. Once home, I started the washing machine filling with hot water, and holding my breath as long as I could, I started stuffing fleece into the mesh bags, determined not to wonder what I was actually touching. Being a fleece washing virgin, I chose to minimize my possible losses by not putting too much wool in the washer at one time.

Fleece 2

Coming back 15 short minutes later, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It looked like the Mississippi River had detoured through my washer, and I started wondering if I would ever really want to put my clothes in there again. I emptied the water and briefly spun the bags, and while the machine refilled, I examined my fleece. Amazingly enough, I really hadn’t damaged it, and in fact, I had to admit it already looked (and smelled) better. Now I was feeling braver!

Fleece 3

Three soaks and spins, followed by a last balmy float in a hot lavender scented bath left me with wool I was no longer afraid to touch – and I have to confess, I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I hung the bags out on the clothesline, too! Of course, once it was dry, reality set in as I realized that it was still very full of VM (vegetable matter). At least it was clean VM, I reminded myself, as I started picking through a small bit of my now soft and pleasantly scented wool…

Fleece 4

It took me 4 different days to complete, but I now have the entire fleece washed. I’ve not picked nearly as much as I’ve cleaned, due in large part to time being a rather finite commodity.  There is an entire pillow protector stuffed full of wool (and VM) teasing me into teasing it clean, a job which I’m oddly enough enjoying. What IS picked is such fun to squish on my way past it, though. 🙂 As much as I’m looking forward to spinning this stuff, it really feels like a project unto itself just to have made something so pretty and lovable from something that smelled so hopeless not too long before. What a lovely adventure – and pleasure to think that it’s only the first chapter of the story!

And I don’t often do this, but… I chose the title for this posting with more than my fleece in mind. I just finished reading Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, and I have to say that it was such a delight! The premise of the book is that a shepherd is found murdered, and his sheep take it upon themselves to solve the murder. Though this might sound somewhat far fetched, the sheep really don’t act out of character for being sheep – assuming you can, for the time being, accept that sheep converse on a much more logical plane than you have believed in the past. What makes this book such a fun read is the author’s incredible sense of humor as she leads us through the thought patterns of the various members of the flock. Sheep without a shepherd can truly develop some interesting theological viewpoints! I frequently found myself laughing aloud at the conclusions they drew from the evidence at hand. Subtle comments about such things as the human flock that visited the meadow or the human mothers bleating at their children are sprinkled delicately through the story and keep the reader thinking from the sheep’s point of view. It’s been a good while since I had such outright fun with a read, and I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves sheep, wool, yarn, or just a good and entertaining book.

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