The new culprit: work!

After a long stretch of not very much actual lab work in the last year or so, I seem to find my butt firmly planted on a lab stool more often then not these days. Usually accompanied by one of these. Or one of these. It did not become clear to me until today that these dastardly devices are clearly the source of my wrist pain that has developed over the last couple of weeks. Not to mention hundred of little vials that need to have lids screwed on to them. It certainly couldn't be the hemp! Consider this my apology, oh lovely orangey-red Gemini pullover. Sadly, I still can't work on you.

Instead of knitting on my sweater, I've been doing some other stuff. Like washing fleece for the first time. I did my first trial batch on Wednesday, using a technique from Deborah Robson (she of Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook fame). For £10, I picked up five washtubs and five little storage baskets with big holes along the side, and away I went.

The set up: 2 hot (~50 degrees Celsius, which is what I get straight from the tap) rinse baths, 2 hot soapy baths, and 2 final rinse baths (also hot). All done in the bathtub. Here's what it looked like, more or less:
Washing Gotland
The first rinse bath was absolutely disgusting.
Clouds of brown dirt came off the fiber, even without any agitation. Yuck! The second rinse bath came out fairly clear, thankfully.
Washing Gotland
The soapy steps seem to have taken care of most of the grease, but I may end up needing to wash again - either with hotter water or more water. Sadly, this round of three trays of fiber used up most of the hot water in the tank, so washing the entire kilo is going to take a while!
Washing Gotland
Last night, in a fit of frustration because I didn't want to irritate my wrist, I sat down in front of the loom. About an hour later, I had this (small teaser photo only),
which, after a bath this morning, now looks like this.
Hopefully it will be on it's way to Switaly soon!