I love challenges.
Unfortunately, I’m also often very go-getting. The curiosity and search for tasks keeps me going. I always want to try something new. Fiddling with a topic only to go search for something new and exciting as soon as I master it.
Since I wanted to try out something different this time around for the first big doll I am creating during the “Puppenmitmacherei”, of course it had to be something special for the hair, too.
Some time ago I already died mohair wool with Kool-Aid myself. At first I had wanted to crochet it into a wig just like I usually do. But then it did not seem to fit well with this special doll. No, it had to be something different this time…
Dollhair from Sheepwool Locks
By now I have long wanted to try using sheep wool curls as hair for my dolls. Luckily, not far from where I live there is an old family business called wool factory. They have all sorts of carded wool. And also sheep locks in all variations and colors are available there.
I had a very specific image in mind, when I walked into the store. However, I do love challenges. So when I entered the shop I was instantly drawn to the small basket with raw wool smelling wonderfully of nature and sheep. It attracted me magically. The competent saleswoman then assured me that it was not sooo difficult to clean the wool myself and said she herself has done so often already.
Curious as I am and always up for the challenge I then spontaneously said: “Oh, well – I’ll take the raw wool!” After all how difficult could that be cleaning the wool by myself at home?! … Oh, little did I know!
But like I said – after all I do love challenges.
Washing Raw Wool
So I arrived with the bag full of wonderful smelling sheep’s raw wool at home. Optimistically I opened the bag and started looking at the wool and sorting the locks. Soon I realised this would be a longer undertaking. So I jumped right in the research and fortunately found in some articles online (here or here) along with some videos (that or this) that explain very well how raw wool should now be accurately washed and treated ….
With all this knowledge in mind, I therefore first spread out the wool locks on a large cloth and started picking straws and grime from the curls as far as possible.
Well, that took a while.
Then I fetched a large container and filled it with lukewarm water and a little wool detergent, to get rid of the first heavy soiling.
Woah. That was quite the broth. It really needs several “washes”, where the water must be completely changed. Repeatedly. Until the white of the curls gradually comes through again.
Also it is important to work with warm water, because otherwise you will not get rid of the lanolin elicits. You can move the wool curls very gently and easily in the water to clean out the dirt faster. However, caution is necessary, because you do not want the wool beginning to felt by too much movement and friction.
Well, that took a while.
Once the water is clear when pouring out the container, I could rinse off the curls with clear water. Again being sooooo careful not wanting to make the wool felt.
Subsequently, the wool should be wrung out carefully. I then simply have put the wet wool on the drying rack on which I previously have places a large bath towel. Also it is best to place the drying rack in the bathtub since the wool may still be dripping water because it is very absorbent. Then I let it dry overnight.
If the wool is still not completely dried by the next day, you should change the cloth underneath and let it dry some more – at least 12 hours.
Well, this also took a while.
Hopefully the wool by then has completely dried. So it now can be freed from the last possible remaining dirt and straws. An animal hair brush can be of good assistance with this task. You should be very carefull combing out the dirt.
Generally however, the wool curls should not be combed at all, otherwise they can completely lose their structure. So I had to gently pluck the little dirt remaining from the wool by hand. Fortunately, thanks to the proper cleaning beforehand and the various washes, it was not too much.
Despite all, this again took a while.
Doll hair from wool locks
Thus, the wool by now is finally clean and white.
Therefor ready for further processing:
As already mentioned, the hair was supposed to be worked into a wig for my Puppenmitmacherei doll.
So I initially I then divided individual strands from the sheep curls and placed them on the table ready to be worked into the crocheted cap.
From the matching color of natural white mohair wool I started to crochet a wig cap as I usually do for my dolls hair.
But then every few stitches I simply took a strand of the locks and crocheted it in with the wig:
Well and if you would like to see how the hair turned out and looks all finished on the doll’s head, you can look forward to my next blog post for the “Puppenmitmacherei” on wednesday. ;)
Thanks for reading,
And if you still want to read more on the subject of doll hair, be sure to also visit Fabiola of Fig & Me, because she recently has written a wonderfully comprehensive blog post on this topic here…