The making of a doona – Part 1

Our next project is a new doona for my daughter’s bed.

Our reason for making our own is we  do not want to purchase a down doona due to the extreme cruelty involved in the ‘harvesting’ of down from live birds. Also we do not want a synthetic doona, made from petrochemicals.

We want a natural, organic and cruelty free doona, with the thermal values and  the luxury of a wool doona.

So we are going to produce one from the fleece of our rescue sheep.

Our fleece for this project is from Bertram. Bertram is a wether (a castrated male) who came with four other sheep from a property where they we repeatedly attacked by roaming dogs. They have settled well here and are part of the main flock living in our organic olive grove, with their ‘protector’, Samba the donkey.

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The sheep are shorn in November, before the onset of the summer heat and after the worst of the cold, wet weather. We use a local shearer and the sheep are shorn at the property, minimising the stress to them.

Shearing

Relieved of his fleece, Bertram trots off to join his friends and his fleece is carried up to the sorting table. Here we trim the  fleece of the ‘scraggy’ parts, ‘skirting’ the fleece, remove as much vegetable matter as possible. The fleece is then carefully rolled and stored until use.

Om the sorting table

The next step is to clean or ‘scour’ the fleece to remove dirt and the lanolin. As we want to conserve water we use the ‘suint’ method for our initial scouring, This method utilises the naturally present suint in wool fleece to remove the majority of the lanolin. The process takes two days, before the fleece is removed and rinsed with fresh water.

Ready for first soak

Next we divide the fleece into smaller lots for hand washing and rinsing in batches.  We use rainwater collected on our property and all waste water is recycled on site.

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Once washed the fleece is dried in the open air.

Drying fleece

Our next stage takes us inside.


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