View Full Version : Cleaning old wool?

04-13-2007, 03:42 PM
I just found mom's stash. Amazing thing what was in it! The wool she used to make my first baby blanket!

My mother and I cannot be on good terms right now, and she will not even meet her first grandson so I felt that as a gift from her I will make something for him out of this wool which she chose to make my first baby blanket from.

Unfortunately the wool itself is as damaged as my ties with my mother. It's been in an old hard suitcase for decades and has suffered a few months of water damage from a flood in my basement.

I don't have any clue what it is made of, only that it's wet, it smells ok for being 20+ years old and wet (no mold or slime eww)

It is soft, delicate and fuzzy. And would have been purchased between 1978 and 1982. The color is a deep lavender with a hint of red. An amazing color.

So what is the best way to hand wash this and dry it so that I can use it?

04-13-2007, 04:52 PM
would it not be easier to knit it first and then wash it to avoid tangling?? Not sure myself :shrug:

04-13-2007, 08:22 PM
With its history, I would skein it into hanks to make sure there were no problem points: it may be weak or unuseable in some areas. Then I could wash it as a hank, then I'd wind it. Make sure to tie it in multiple places on the hank.
I think I would use some wool wash or adult shampoo in cool water, submerge it gently, squeeze the water through a bit (still very gently), and let it soak for 20 minutes, then squeeze out the water, rinse in clean water, roll it in a towel and jump on the towel, then hang to dry well, possibly with a light weight on the hank if the wool were crinkled. The have a look and a sniff to see whether it is now clean enough.


04-13-2007, 08:22 PM
I was thinking of that really. But it's kinda yucky and I'm a bacteria phobic kinda person.
As in ewww I'm not touching that :roflhard:

04-14-2007, 02:12 PM
Red, forgive me, what's a hank?

Susan P.
04-14-2007, 09:16 PM

Wear latex or latex free gloves that are close to the skin so you can 'feel' with your fingers but protect your hands and wear a simple mask like you would wear for say painting or working with chemicals etc. Hardware stores sell them. This will give you a good sense of being protected while still addressing the problem.

I also think it a great idea as Redwitch says to unwind the wool because of the potential of weak points etc. A hank is best described as a coil or rope of yarn. I'm sure you've seen sales of yarn in balls and then coils that are sort of twisted like a rope. People generally then unwind this and wind into usable balls. The idea would be to unwind the balls you have say around someone's spread hands (often you see the opposite with someone holding the hank and people winding balls from it). Once it's in a hank like that you can twist if gently and use yarn to tie it in different points to hold it together while you soak it. If it's pure woll this might also help join/felt weak points. I would do it in wool wash because the eucalyptus etc in that will help kill any bacteria. Not sure I'd jump on the towel but I've rarely used hanks so redwitch is undoubtedly more skilled with this and I'm not lightweight either! :-)

I think it lovely you have found this wool and I would not leave it a day longer before dealing with it.

For what it's worth, many women I know (myself included) have very difficult relations with our mothers. It's such a shame. My father remarried when I was a teen and never saw my son (who is now in early 20's) and never wanted to. Such things happen. I'm not sure I would make the item "from" your mum as such. I would treat it like a family heirloom potential project. I'm sure YOU wish your mum would buy something or make something because it would feel like a gift to you as well. If she knits well, I would consider buying some new wool and sending it to her with a note explaining that although things are not as good as they could be between you both, your son is a new life and you would treasure her craft being given to her grandson. And then step back and see if she might just do something.

Susan P.
04-14-2007, 09:21 PM
Another option is, if you have a few women relatives, to ask each of them would they contribute a square to a potential blanket for your baby. Obviously you consider the pattern you'd like and then square size. But then once you have a relative or two agree (which many would happily), you can then ask everyone to contribute. The four centre squares would be dedicated to the two grandmothers, yourself and then the fourth to someone else who may be additionally special in your lives (or if your husband knits he would do the fourth). Just a thought. I've always found in these emotional situations not to hope for too much, but aim for what you'd like and allow others to fill your life with love. If this projects appeals but your mother still refuses, at least the blanket will have the love of a lot of others in it.

04-16-2007, 02:19 AM
Susan you are such a doll.

My mom kept my blankey, I wish I could pass that on but she has it. My knitted one anyway. My paternal grandmother is a seamstress and quilted me a lovely white blanket with rabbits sewn into each square. That was passed on to my daughter, who is now a bunny fanatic!

So saying it would be an heirloom (replacement) might feel best for everyone.

I currently have no family at all aside from my daughter, the whole family black sheep'ed me.

I moved away because they were trying to get my daughter taken from me. There is nothing that makes me an unfit parent. I just don't meet their standards of what a human being should be.

They tolerated me as long as it was only my life I was destroying. Now that I'm submitting my children to my corruption and wicked lifestyle they treat them like they are dead rather than deal with the pain of their slow loss into my wicked lifestyle.

We're talking northern Ontario, Protestant, east coast decent English/Irish, all white, all upper class, all "perfect". I come from "a very good home". The kind of people who would send you to a sanatorium or military school if you dated someone who wasn't white or had your grades drop below a B average.
My mom really tried to protect me from a young age but because I wouldn't conform they convinced her to give up on me. She couldn't fight them off forever, or protect me anymore since she needed them to accept and love her, she wasn't strong enough I guess. I accept and love myself, that's good enough for me.

On the other side, my dad's side my dad kind of messed that up for me. He's a coke dealer *joy* and his whole family disowned him from the get go so I really have no ties to them.

I guess having something from an heirloom would show my children that they do have a past they do have a family, and we can just cherish the nice things about them. The sentimental goodness of a hobby passed down by a grandmother they'll only know as a nice lady who taught daddy how to knit.
No need to pass on the pain.

Susan P.
04-16-2007, 09:51 AM
It's nice you felt comfortable enough to add your pixs :-)

I would treat the heirloom issue in two ways. Firstly, yes, don't pass on the pain so commence a project on your own that you decide and declare! will forge a new heirloom reality for you and yours. Now, even though your friends may not be knitters if you say decide to make something in squares and the knitting is very fine, you could embroider the first initial of each person you admire and love or who is now contributing positively to your child's life. If it's not fine wool you could allow people to choose a colour of yarn (and purchase a ball) that will contribute to the blanket. Thus the 'spririt' becomes part of the making. There are different variations of this as you can imagine and you'll find one that's right for you.

I would, in terms of moving through the old blankie issue try, if you think it has even a hope of succeeding, write a little note pretending it's your son writing it to grandma and send it. Along the lines of. Hi grandma, I wanted to send you a note and show you a picture of me. Mommy tells me when she was little she had a lovely blankie that you were clever enough to make for her. Mommy told me she remembers that blankie often and the love that went into making it. May I have that blankie now grandma or would you send me a picture of it so that when I grow up big and strong I can give my son or daughter something to remember their grandma by?

And then sign off. I'm suggesting the picture because your mother may feel the blanket will get ruined it is comes to you. Please don't think me hurtful as MY mother has had just that attitude with me over things. Seems to believe I can't care for anything. Even rings me on voting day to remind me to vote and I'm 51!

Don't put your soul into the request and let it land as it may and the results likewise. Making your own heirloom moves you forward..not looking back.

04-16-2007, 02:11 PM
Thats my whole family right there :heart:

Elmo knows how to knit. She "taught" me...or lets say I let her show me how she knits and I gave her the credit.
It was really cute "did you know you can go this way (knit) and this way (purl)..." let her teach her boyfriend how to knit!
She's just happy she could show me something, since I didn't catch onto speaking in Japanese or counting in signs. Which she really tried hard to teach me!

Remember, boys knit too :pout:

The letter from the baby sounds like a great idea. Although I won't talk to my mom, seriously! Baby has no bad blood with her and I'm sure she'll enjoy passing something on to him.

Thinking of it I'm hoping theres even enough yarn to make anything out of. I recall there being thirty skeins of this in our garage as mom loved it so much she had an afghan planed from it to cover her king sized bed at the time. Now all I have are two small balls. Maybe making squares and patchwork is the best idea afterall!

Thanks again for all your kind words :)

Susan P.
04-16-2007, 06:09 PM
Perhaps use that special yarn as trim..or..if you do a rug with squares, perhaps the four centre squares and a crochet line around the outside edge or similar. Anyway, you better get cleaning it! :-)

04-16-2007, 06:42 PM
So wool cleaner, best pick some of that up. I have handwashing soap but that's baby amaze, will that work just as well?

What I've got in mind is using a chair back and then tying it in spots to wash it. This sounds good?

Crochet.. :pout: I've never been able to accomplish that!

Susan P.
04-16-2007, 09:21 PM
Me either. I will look for someone local to do my edging. I'll ask at a knitting shop or look in phone book.

I would use proper wool wash as it will help remove bacteria. The suggestion of unrolling it and winding into a hank was talked about previously in this topic. I would tend to do that. You're thinking of winding it around a chair to create the hank? That should do fine but just don't tug too hard etc on the wool because it may have weak spots and so on. I'll probably wrap a towel round the chair first and wrap the wool around that so that the towel 'buffers' the yarn from the chair. Simply because of its age etc.

Go to it gal!

04-17-2007, 09:14 AM
sounds like you have a plan: winding, check for weak points, securing, soaking, sudsing, squeezing in a towel, air drying.

you know, depending on how much you have, you could perhaps felt a small bear or something. that way, if the yarn has a lot of weak spots, it wouldn't matter. i'm new to this though. so does anyone know if felting old wool would be a problem?

as far as crochet, i think it is really much simpler than knitting. you've got your chain, single crochet, double crochet and treble crochet, which sounds complicated, but they really just build off of each other. i'm sure you could find a tutorial online.

the best way to learn a new craft, whether it is sewing or knitting or crochet, is to start with dishcloths or potholders, in my opinion. a small, useful project, where its beauty, or lack thereof, doesn't matter. ;)

keep in mind, family doesn't have to be blood. surround yourself with people who love you for who you are.

04-17-2007, 07:03 PM
You guys are so awesome you know that right?

Good idea with the towel. I was out today and forgot the wool wash again! Grr but tomorrow is grocery day and the supermarket is bound to have some for me!

I tried crochet a long time ago. I was good at finger crochet when we were kids, and thats about 12-14 years old when we were making pride, aids and breast cancer awareness bracelets as were the popular fashion when I was in school.
(I still have all that yarn too!)

I could never pick it up and mom got very frustrated teaching me. When I learn something new I really have to have one on one in person teaching. I learn by watching and following along.

I really like this bear idea. I don't have much of it left. Maybe enough in the three small balls combined to make the equivalent of a single ball of yarn.

If I had a sewing pattern for a bear I could make one berry easily!

What's this felting and how is it done?

The yarn itself is very lightweight and fuzzy, it's dark in here now so I'll have to take a picture tomorrow afternoon. Might even make his paws and nose from the black I have that is the same texture if I do a bear. Oh he'll be so funky looking. The old wool is a plum lavender. I love black and purple together . Kinda gothy, kind of cute.
My daughter has a decapitated doll that my friend who owns the goth shop gave to her so having different looking toys is certainly not new in our house. The doll is really really cute, it's hand made and really adorable, little plushy girl doll.
I have a lot of unique friends.
My daughter is having a hand made custom corsette dress done this summer just because she deserves to look like a real princess and we've figured out a way to make it not so restricting and still have it look authentic.
My friends are all very skilled at many different things. Some make clothes, dolls, some work with leather, some work with fake hair and make just the wildest things.
We have a unique group.
I can make anything out of pink polystyrene and own a giant lumberjack axe that I made for the woodcutter in a stage production of into the woods.

Our "Family of Choice" the people around us, well lets just use the word diverse. And then you can sell us to showcase or HBO because we would be watched more than the Osbourne's and Gene Simmons combined.

OT axe is not in the spell checker and it wants me to change it to Saxe, axle, axes, or axer ! No wonder some of the words I use don't come up!