Soap!

Monday didn’t end up amounting to much work getting done. I planned two more place mat warps and wound off one. Honestly, besides that, I don’t remember what else I did…But I’m a bit sleepy right now after staying up too late last night (late for me anyway).

Tuesday was my first day at the farm since…uhh…like a week and a half or two weeks ago? It was a beautiful day and I opened all the windows in our house to let the lovely, warm breeze in.

Ben and I set up the “foster” loom in the bedroom which took about…an hour? I had to dig through the bag and find all the screws and then we forgot how the break pedal went together so we had to go look it up on the internet. At least they have instructions on the internet!

Once we got that set up, I did a little work on the headband loom; tied on another warp and wove two headbands. This was interspersed with trips up to the in-laws to help with making the goat milk soap that I’ll be felting for the TACA fair. We made 64 bars of soap! It really went pretty quick. It’s always kind of fun because it has turned into a whole family affair. Brad (my father-in-law) does the initial part of measuring the lye crystals out and adding them to the milk. He likes to remind us that this is an “exothermic reaction” nearly every time we make soap.

Then we have to wait about an hour to an hour and a half for the lye mixture to cool down during which time my sister-in-law, Molly, preps the other ingredients. She heats the vegetable lard, adds the olive oil and measures out the honey and oatmeal. OH and grinds the oatmeal.

After everything is at the correct temperature, Byron (my brother-in-law) begins the blending process. One of us pours the oil mixture in as he uses a stick mixer to blend them together. After a few minutes, we add the honey and oatmeal while Byron continues to blend until the mixture “traces”. (thickens to something like syrup) Once the soap is tracing, Byron pours it into the molds which we have pre set out for easier pouring. My mother-in-law comes in at this point to help oversee the pouring and to make sure that each bar we make has enough soap in the mold and if it has too much, she dips it out with a spoon.

It’s about a 3ish hour process if you include cooling time. But it really doesn’t take that long at either end of cooling. The whole tracing/pouring process takes between 10-20 minutes.

Anyway we only have to do this 6-12 more times depending on if we make double batches every time. 🙂 I will be ordering my wool SOOON!! And getting a thick pair of gloves for Molly and I to felt with.
~JoAnna

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One thought on “Soap!

  1. It sounds so nice and homey! 🙂 I’m sure it’s a messy process too, but it’s fun to read about. I hope I can watch you guys make soap one of these days, or at least have some of the soap! 🙂

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