(This step is if you have bought an entire fleece)..Begin by opening up the fleece and spreading it out on a clean surface. Try to do this without pulling the locks away from one another and see if you can lay it out flat (in the shape of a bear skin) and tell which part is the shoulder, hip, and back.
The back usually has the most open and loose locks with more sun exposed tips and it is also where you will typically find the most vegetable matter since sheep tend to throw hay onto each other’s backs. The shoulder is usually the best quality and should have the nicest crimp (waviness). The breech (butt and hip) will have the most manure and dirt and sometimes less crimp and lower quality wool.
Do your own skirting if necessary and remove any areas that look as if they should be cleaned separately from the rest of the fleece.
Use thick rubber gloves when the water is too hot to comfortably work in or if you have cuts on your hands. Keep in mind that the wool has been in the barnyard.
I used some nice surgical gloves, just be warned it is quite smelly, I spread mine out outside and got very lucky that I had almost no vegetable matter and only a very small portion that was no good to use...like maybe an ounce! Tomorrow I will post pictures and show you the rest of the cleaning process.