To Hang a Fleece

Here’s a tip about washing fleece in a small apartment: do it in warm weather. Not that it was particularly warm when I washed the first batch, but we hadn’t turned the heat on yet. We were still sleeping with the window open, and the smell of wet wool and lavender detergent was delightful to me. After being cooped up in poorly circulated air with the other part of the fleece…I don’t even know what I was thinking.

Not that clean wool smells bad, per se. The lavender scent is just lingering longer than I’d like and there’s the faintest whiff of barnyard under the cloying floral scent that I am looking forward to shutting up in a plastic box.

I know I already posted once on how to wash a fleece, but I have a new piece of brilliance to add to the process. When I washed the first batch of this fleece, I spread it out on a cheap sheet on the floor and rotated the towels above and below it. For two weeks. While cats slept on it and pranced feltingly above the damp coverings. It came out unscathed, but the system did not encourage me to make washing another batch a high priority, especially during the holidays when the apartment is already full of decorations and presents waiting to be given. We just don’t have enough floor space to add a giant sheet full of damp fleece to that chaos.

Once we got settled back into normality after the holidays, and during my vacation from the kidlings, I found myself with a bit of time and energy. I decided to wash the fleece, but instead of spreading it out on the floor, John and I came up with this clever rig:

My lovely fleece hammock there is made of two square dowels and a section of nylon screen from Home Depot, held together with flat tacks. My initial idea was to rest the dowel across the tub and somehow weigh them down, but the only good way to do that would have required me to build a frame. I may eventually actually turn this into a full frame, because the way the fleece hangs in the middle isn’t really conducive to fast, even drying. A frame, however, would be bulkier to store and potentially more annoying to deal with when we move in the nearish future, so that’s one of those “once we buy a house…” projects.

You might have spotted another problem with this hammock. “Don’t you guys only have one shower?” you might ask. “And doesn’t a fleece take, oh, like a week or more to dry?” Yes and yes, and yes: that turned out to be a problem.  I washed the fleece on a Friday before a long weekend during which John and I specifically planned to do absolutely nothing other than eat takeout and play Skyward Sword (yes, I know, we’re awesome). Even so, I couldn’t stand how badly I needed a shower by Monday morning and the fleece was clearly not going to be dry enough for us to shower before work on Tuesday, so I came up with this:

The store hangers are particularly good for this application since you can turn the hanging bit to whatever angle works best. The nice, deep indents for tying the string securely are also handy. Now I can transfer the fleece between the tub and the back of a door as quick as a whip.

If only I could deal with the smell so easily.