Tuesday, July 09, 2013

I Think I'm Beginning to Love This

It is finished.

skeined-corriedale

Not the Tour de Fleece–that's still going on, and I have to pick the next fiber to spin–but this yarn, this yarn I didn't figure I'd even be able to ply before the race was done, is finished.

As planned, I subjected the Corriedale yarn spun from the Lunabudknits "Smoothie" batt to a wet finishing. While it was still on the niddy-noddy, I secured it with four lease ties to keep it from tangling.

Then I filled the two halves of the kitchen sink with water. On the left, very hot with a bit of wool wash in it (I used Soak). On the right, very cold water, including a couple of ice cubes.

The procedure* was pretty simple.

  1. Put the skein into the hot water and agitate it for a bit–about thirty seconds. I used a big-ass wooden spoon as an agitator.
  2. Pull it out (supporting it carefully–don't let it hang and stretch) and plunge it into the cold water.
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 several times. I think I did five. Maybe six. Keep on eye on the yarn–it'll start to kinda fluff up. When it's fluffed, you're done with the plunging.

Remove the yarn from the cold bath and put it into a waiting towel. Squeeze out the water. You won't get it all out by squeezing, you just want it to not be sopping.

Now, and this is the fun part, grab the skein at one end, swing it forward and THWACK the free end hard against a table or (if you're me) against the (clean) kitchen counter.

Switch ends and THWACK it again.

THWACK several times. You're fulling the woolen-spun yarn–making it rounder and fluffier.

This is exactly as much fun as it sounds.

Don't thwack worsted-spun yarns.

If the yarn is for knitting, after you're done thwacking, lay it flat and let it dry completely.

I was biting my nails to the very end, wondering if the yarn would be balanced. A balanced yarn, to oversimplify, has the same amount of twist in the spinning singles and in the plying. Or at least amounts of twist in each that complement each other.

If you have too much twist in your singles, the finished skein will twist up on itself. If you have too much twist in your plying, the finished skein will twist up on itself.

If you have balanced twist, the finished yarn will hang in a nice, open loop.

balanced-skein

Hot damn.

*Mind you, all I'm just telling you what I did. If you really want to learn how it should be done, go to Alden Amos or Judith MacKenzie McCuin or somebody who actually knows what the hell they're doing, okay? If you ruin your yarn in the finishing, don't come running to me.

33 comments:

Jenn said...

Congratulations! It's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I already have enough to do, quit trying to inspire me! Seriously, this is awesome! Great colors!

Ann said...

Love it, great job.

Erin C. R. Osborne said...

Oh my god, that's GORGEOUS!!! I read your blog all the time, but I've never commented until now. Well done! That's beautiful, and I'd love to knit it!

Heather J said...

Beautiful nice job! I also enjoyed your interview with Fiberhooligan. I have never met or heard you speak before so it was great. Keep spinning it gets better.

Jen said...

It is lovely! Congratulations

Jake said...

Gorgeous, Franklin. I've done a LOT of worsted spinning, not woolen. Very educational. The colors remind me of the skeins I first made. I still have my first skeins somewhere. I have to work on throughput and consistency. I need to get a yardage calculator and need to start putting out closer to 400g skeins.

Yvonne said...

Well done! Standing ovation!

Pretty Knitty said...

So lovely, Franklin. This is a win!

Anonymous said...

Hot damn, indeed. Bravo!

ellen kirkendall said...

Very pretty! Congratulations!

Gail said...

Mmmm, it's beautiful!

The Foggy Knitter said...

It's gorgeous! Enjoy it!

Seanna Lea said...

Very well done. You have made some gorgeous yarn. I love your description of the wet finish process. It sounds very cathartic.

Benita said...

Very well done!! And, yes, thwacking is really fun to do! I love watching the yarn bloom with each thwack.

Beautiful colors, too! Stephanie at Lunabud does wonderful batts.

CeltChick said...

Gawd, green & purple together is just about my favorite combo. How did you know? I take a 21" hat, FYI.

Charlotte said...

Beautiful! I love the halo from your thwacking.

Also, Maggie Casey says don't worry too much about balanced yarn. And she is Maggie Casey, so I don't worry too much about balanced yarn. :)

Nina Ruit said...

I love it! Mazel tov! I have never used the thwack approach before but I can't wait to try it :*)

Roxie said...

OH, Yes. Oh. Franklin! Right there! Yarngasm!!

It's -- damn - I need a cigarette.

RubyC said...

THWACK then Yarngasm - oh my!!

Patti said...

the best is yet to come, when you get to knit up YOUR VERY OWN HANDSPUN!! It's lovely, I'm going to try your fulling method.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Spinning is something I've always yearned to learn.

Anonymous said...

Crap. The pictures won't show up. The thwacking sounds like the perfect solution!

Anonymous said...

when isn't thwacking fun?

-jake.

Gwyn said...

It looks like a sunset over an ocean in the tropics. Good work!!! We are proud of the way you inspire us. Plus, you gave us vicarious thwacking (which would make a good band name.

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful! Good job!

lorabrowning said...

It looks so good! I'm so happy to see it so pretty and all skeined up!

lollyknits.com said...

Those colors are so spring gardenish! I love them.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

You did Great !~! Looks like it will be so fun to play with and feel against your skin. Many kudos.

Caroline said...

Hello, Franklin, with your love of antique needlework I thought you might like to see this - it's crochet, not knit, but we are having an interesting time discussing it over on Ravelry - in the Antique Spinning Wheels forum, there is a post called something like A Piece of Antique Needlework, with a picture of this crocheted reticule. I would paste a link here but not sure it'll let me so I am using the link as the URL behind my name, if you want to click...

FiberQat said...

Nice thwack job!

I thwack my worsted spun yarns too, just not as often. I don't know if it's wrong, but they like it. The side of the house is the receiving end of the thwacking. My neighbors are used to it now.

Rachel said...

That yarn is so pretty! I love thwacking too.

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