The making of a doona – Part 2

Winter is here and other projects have taken precedence.  I need to get our doona ready!

Now I have batches of washed and dried fleece stored ready for the next stage.

The fleece needs to be teased apart ready for carding

The fleece needs to be teased apart ready for carding

Each batch is teased out by hand to open up the locks in preparation for carding. Carding ‘combs’ the fleece into fluffy ‘batts’.

I use an electric drum carder

The washed fleece is then carded

The washed fleece is then carded

The batts are now put aside until I have enough for a doona. This is going to be an ‘all year’ double bed doona with 330 g of fleece per square meter. It will need twenty of these batts.

The next stage is to prepare the doona cover. I am using organic bamboo sheeting. Bamboo is more sustainable than cotton, is soft, absorbs moisture and is long wearing.

As this is the first donna I am using a set of bamboo/cotton sheets as the cover.  I have cut them to size .

Laying out doona cover.

Once I have cut the cover to size it is time to lay out the wool batts to check quantity. As you can see Alice the cat has arrived to ‘assist’.

Laying out the wool fill.

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.

375888_354418914652513_309541233_n

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.

2014-03-16_13-00-40_829

Once washed the fleece is dried in the open air.

Drying fleece

Our next stage takes us inside.