Preparing raw fleece?

I was given two huge bags of raw fleece - right off the sheep! I already tried washing some but am having a lot of trouble getting all the straw/hay/burs, etc out of it. Is there an easier way than sitting and picking it over - that will take forever to do and I want to spin it! Thanks so much in advance, Sharon

First of all, you can spin raw fleece just how it is, unwashed, but most people want it washed first so…

The main thing you want to accomplish in washing it is to remove the lanolin (grease) which is what makes it smelly and sticky. The straw, hay and burrs will actually fall out of clean, dry wool as you draft and spin the yarn. Well most of it anyway. There may be tiny bits of hay left in the yarn, but I think it makes for a more charming, homespun looking yarn.

Mostly, you want to get the grease out. Here’s how.

Thanks for the link - I am ready to get to work! ~Sharon