Sunday, September 23, 2007

If at first you don't succeed, make soap

I spent all day yesterday washing, drying, and carding wool.

See the dirty wool? Ewwwww.

First wash.

Hot hot water with a little bit of detergent. I thought about doing this in the washing machine, but I don't know what the lanolin and fuzz would do to my machine. Besides, then you wouldn't see my dead grass! (It's been a hot, dry summer.)

They say the wash water is good for the plants. I figure at this point the lawn can't get worse!

Last wash (rinsed with white vinegar).

Drying on the rack (note to self, next time use a towel under the wool). I had drops and blops of wool falling to the ground. My dog thought it was raining puppy toys.

The merino carded beautifully, but I couldn't make a rolag. I was sooo frustrated. I spent all day with this wool and I was ruining it!

So this morning I decided to do something I knew I would succeed with. Soap! I'm using a very simple recipe:

30% canola
29% olive
25% coconut
8% shea butter
8% castor
water:lye 1:2.75
5% superfat

The recipe seems a little heavy on castor (I usually stick to 4-5%), but the extra conditioning should be nice. I made two small batches so I could play with my new soap colors (that also dye wool!).

The recipe soaped like a dream. I mixed the oils/lye water at 110* and stick blended to light trace. Trace was nice and quick, but not so fast that I felt rushed. It was too fast to take a pic though.

I divided the first batch into threes and tinted two with aqua and melon red. I drizzled each color into the mold and swirled with a bamboo skewer. The fragrance is an Axe Touch type (otherwise known as manly man perfume)

I split the next batch into two parts and tinted with emerald green and brilliant blue (which turns orange then lavender in CP soap). The scent is Amber Romance and it is dreamy..... Too bad it looks like split pea soup mixed with tomatoes. The colors should settle after gel. Did you notice the first batch is almost gelled in this photo? I force gel with a heating pad so I know it gells through to the corners.

The soaps should be through the gel phase late tonight and ready to be unmolded and cut tomorrow.

Flush with the success of making soap (even if it's weird looking soap, it'll wash stinky bodies!) I got on line to figure out what I'm doing wrong with the wool. There it was, plain as day, on the first site I looked at. I was trying to make a long fiber rolag. I blame it on the bunnies. My reading has been focused on angora fibers which are very different than wool fibers. I'm going to try again tonight - wish me luck.

One last pic: the Hairy One caught dinner! See how creeped out the Bug is?