Washing Day!

January 3, 2018


On my last yarn post you saw the fractal hand spun yarn  now I get to wash it! This will allow the wool fibers to open up a bit and then latch on to the fibers around it, thus, setting the yarn. I’m also washing my Romney lamb’s wool yarn, that was my first wool purchase ever and wow did I mess the whole process up but that’s half the fun of being an artist! This is the last skein I will make with this fleece and now it needs washing before I use it in my vest project. There is also one more thing going into this wash and that is the cabled scarf. It’s my first attempt at cables and it was very enjoyable. I used two yarns to knit it up which gives it the tweed look, one is the Romney I hand spun, and the other is acrylic yarn from my stash.

Washing Day
Preparing my first cabled scarf, second, and third hand spun skeins of yarn for their bath in warm soapy water.

Tools for washing:
-Wool skiens of yarn
-Leave in soap (or Dawn dish soap which would need a rinse to remove all soap from wool)
-Bathtub or 20 gallon bin

Since I thoroughly messed up washing my first fleece I decided to purchase 20 gallon tubs to make it easier. I have three of them for washing fleeces but for washing yarns you just need one.

First, fill up the bin and add one or two tablespoons of soap. For this you can use a leave in soap from your local yarn store. Then add your yarn and projects. Wool is naturally waterproof so initially it will just set on top of the water like this:

Washing Yarn
Set all of the yarns into the wash bin, wait for the wool to slowly absorb the water.

But eventually the soap will help the water cut through the oils of the wool and get the wool soaked. You can speed it up a bit by pushing down in some areas and watch the bubbles escape then take your hand out. I have heard many ladies at my spinning groups say to be careful at this point because hot water, soap, and agitation equals felt. So be warned, but as a artist if you get felt you get a new project 🙂

Washing Yarn
Hand spun yarns and cabled scarf are all in the wash.

Once it soaks take out the pieces. The bottle says 15 minutes but according to Alden Amos’s book time doesn’t really matter unless you have a caustic soap (like Dawn then you need to rinse with just water). Wool wants to be slightly acidic so if using a caustic/basic soap the wool begins to break down over time. And if using a leave in soap like in this project once the water cools the wool follicles close up meaning not much is happening after 15 min. Do what works for you.

Once washed remove the yarn skeins and squeeze out most of the water (do not wring out the water). Then, hang them on the shower rod. This part is optional. I’ve heard just as many people say do this as don’t, so it’s up to you. I do it for a small amount of time to let the yarn lengthen a bit.

Drying Yarn
My hand spun yarn hanging for 15 minutes after being washed

While the yarn is drying set your project and put it into the shape you want when it is dry. For the scarf I want straight edges so I fussed with the edges and that probably took 15 minutes. Allowing me to take the skeins down from hanging.

Drying Fibers
My first cabled scarf, second, and third spinning attempts all set out to dry

Now that all the pieces should be washed and laying on a towel to dry. You can also point a fan at the pieces to dry faster. Now go clean up the bathroom and a chill out while your pieces dry.

These pieces took about a day to dry with the fan on but it might be quicker if you live somewhere not cloudy and wet.

Till next time
Happy Crafting!

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