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Topic: Adding Lanolin back after dyeing rovings?  (Read 2154 times)
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« on: August 13, 2009 11:24:18 AM »

Has anyone successfully added lanolin to fiber rovings after they were dyed to make it easier to spin?  I've read that it helps with the spinning process.

« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2010 08:34:34 PM »

I'm interested to see an answer to this one, too. My Mom's allergic to lanolin, and I'm pretty sure I've inherited this. I cannot *stand* touching wool - it just always feels scratchy to me. I've assumed that it feels like that due to the lanolin, so if you can remove so much of the lanolin that you need to add some again while spinning it, maybe there's a chance that I can find some wool that doesn't feel yucky. Cheesy 

I'm also curious about where you'd get the lanolin to add - hand lotion?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2010 03:55:43 AM »

You can get pure lanolin on the rare occasion, but it takes some searching.

I've never tried to add any back in, but have never really had the need, either. Having spun everything from commercially treated and dyed roving to hand-washed and dyed by me to just washed to in the grease (completely unwashed), I can say there wasn't much of a difference for me on whether or not the lanolin was in the wool or not. There was SOME difference in that the wool was a little more slick (lanolin being the oils from the sheep and a mild lubricant) but really enough to make the effort to put it back in.

Pobble: It might and might not be the lanolin. If you can use lotions with lanolin in them, it might be the harsh chemicals the wooleries use to clean the fleeces. Try getting a small bit of wool straight from the sheep and washing it with hand dish washing soap and see if it makes a difference.  Smiley

« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2010 10:22:32 AM »

http://www.lansinoh.com/products/hpa-lanolin Lanolin refined to the very purest state from the sound of it...it's medical grade lanolin used for breastfeeding mothers. It's a great product for all dry, cracked skin...I've used it for chapped lips. The link is to their FAQ and has answers about being allergic. From this link and a few others I found it seems as though an allergy to lanolin is pretty rare as it's a weak allergen. You can find varying degrees of pure lanolin...it just depends on how much they refine it. I saw a few different kinds on Amazon.com. I would agree with Confuzzle and say it's more likely the chemicals used in factory processed wool. I know some places use some sort of chemical to dissolve any vegetable matter and that's before whatever chemical detergent they use to clean it. Those chemicals can also take a relatively soft wool and make it not so soft. Pobble, you can't stand touching wool...have you had the chance to feel handspun wool spun by someone who did all their own processing? I find there is a huge difference between most commercial wools and handspun wools that have been gently processed by hand.

I don't know if I would bother with adding lanolin back in to the wool just to spin it as I don't think it would make that big of a difference in the ease of spinning. I think the only time I might consider it is if I had ordered wool (not processed it myself) and I wanted to make an outer garment or something that I would like to be a little water-resistant. Otherwise I would just not wash out all of the lanolin out of the fleece if I were doing it myself.

« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010 04:26:56 PM »

Interesting idea, Confuzzle and WMA. Mom was tested by her dermatologist for a bunch of things, and I have to assume that, since she was told lanolin, the test used pure lanolin. She's had problems all her life that this allergy suddenly made sense of - changes in lotion or cosmetics bothered her, and she never, ever liked wool. I've just assumed that that's why I didn't like wool.

I *have* touched a few different wools from different sources, including some that had to be done by non-industrial types, and I am pretty sure you've just reawakened a memory that there WAS some that I was just amazed by. I will have to pay more attention in the future and seek some out! That would be so cool if it turns out I could do stuff with actual wool! Thanks for the ideas!
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011 04:09:55 AM »

We were recently having this conversation at my spinning group, the spinning master (she'll love that) said that in the 70's it was common practice to add spinning oil to all fleece before spinning, but over time this had faded out.
You can still buy spinning oil from Ashford I think.
I'm sure this would have the same effect as added the lanolin back in.

I am also allergic to pure lanolin they use in medicine but spend all day touching fleece and spinning to no consequence, which is odd.
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011 08:37:03 AM »

About the lanolin alternative:
I am not sure whether I read this in the Ashford Book Of Spinning (probably - but I got it from the library... so I don't have it here right now to look this up) or another book, but it is possible to make some kind of mixture yourself. You use it - like kat's spinning master pointed out - to re-oil and re-moisture the wool while (or before?) spinning. I know that - in pre-industrial Germany (Grin) - you had to constantly keep your fingertips wet for spinning flax, 'cause that's a really dry and tough fiber... So maybe you could keep a little glass or bottle of the mixture ready to dip your fingers into from time to time? Hmmmm. I didn't write down the recipe, because I mostly use fleece that still contains a bit of lanolin after washing...

Does anyone of you have the book or the possibility to look this up?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011 04:23:59 PM »

You can buy a lanolising spray from places that sell pure wool covers for cloth nappies/diapers

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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011 04:29:42 AM »

Although I'm still quite sure I read about a mixture in the Ashford BOS, I looked through Eunice Svinicki's Spinning and Dyeing this morning (because I own this book and don't have to go to the library for it).
Svinicki advises the use of olive oil for dry (e.g. almost or totally lanolin free, etc.) wool while/before spinning - either on your fingertips or to sprinkle a little bit onto the wool. Guess you'll have to give it a gentle and careful massage afterwards to make sure it's spread well. Grin Just don't rub it too hard...
I am not sure how much oil you need, this should depend on the wool and your own experience/likes. What I am sure of is that you COULD use almost any other oil. If you wash your yarn relatively soon after spinning, you probably don't have to worry about the oil turning rancid. If you plan on storing the oiled wool for a longer time before spinning, you should consider this when choosing the oil.

These are just some thoughts and suggestions:
If I were to use this technique, I'd probably put some oil and some water into a spray bottle. Shake well before use (you'd have to make a 'real' emulsion otherwise...), spray lightly onto the wool, etc. - but I haven't tried this yet. So I don't guarantee any success.  Wink Maybe you could also make your own lanolin spray or lotion/liquid if you dissolve the lanolin in warm/hot water. I am not quite sure about the amounts of lanolin and water needed...
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