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.
- 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.
- Pull it out (supporting it carefully–don't let it hang and stretch) and plunge it into the cold water.
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.
*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.