Keeping along with my tips and tricks theme for spinning, the next step in the process is to wash that finished yarn and hang it up to dry. Why would one bother to wash their yarn, you might ask? Well, there are lots of different reasons why you might want to give your yarn a wash so I’ve outlined a few of the most common below:
- to remove any excess dye left over from the dying process
- to ensure that the fiber is nice and clean
- you may want to full (felt) your yarn (I plan to cover this in a future blog post)
- to “set the twist” or to try to distribute twist more evenly
Now before you dive your yarn right in to hot soapy water, there are a few things that you might want to think about first. I’ve created a short video on an easy way to prepare your new handspun for its first wash and how to avoid tangling the skein:
After you’ve prepared your skein, you’ll need to think about what soap or wool wash to use. I use some really fantastic locally made soap to clean my wool/yarns (because I love the simple, fresh, and earth friendly ingredients used) called Sents & Sudsability. Don’t you love how it is a play on Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility? Unfortunately, they don’t have a website so their amazing soap is not available outside our province but there are other soaps and wool wash options out there for you. Soak, Eucalan, and Kookaburra are all very common wool washes, although I’ve not tried them. You can also use a tiny bit of either your shampoo or dish detergent in you wool wash water. Just be extra careful, if using either of the latter, not to agitate your handspun in the wash water as soap does aid in the fulling or felting process.
Now on to the washing! There are, I’m sure, as many different ways to wash your handspun yarns as there are spinners, so I’m going to outline my process for you.
- Fill a large mixing bowl with tepid to moderately warm water and create some suds with my soap. If you are using a liquid soap, you can add a dime sized amount to your bowl first before starting to fill it with water.
- Place your skein(s) of yarn in the soapy water and fully immerse. I like to use the bottom of my dish soap bottle to gently push the yarn under the water.
- Allow your yarn to soak for approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove yarn and very gently squish out the soapy water.
- Rinse very gently under tepid tap water.
- Refill the mixing bowl with just water this time (the same temp as you used initially) and soak yarn for another 20 minutes.
- If the wash water is clean and clear, remove yarn and prepare for drying. If water is still tinted with any dye or looks a little grungy, repeat the rinse and soak until the water comes out clean.
To dry my yarn, I lay it on a nice, thick towel and roll it up. Don’t twist the towel as it may damage the yarn inside but do feel free to add some extra weight (step on it!) to squeeze out excess moisture. Unroll the towel and hang your yarn up to dry. I have a big wooden drying rack in my kitchen for drying clothing and yarn. If you don’t have a drying rack, you can always hang your yarn over a clothes hanger and hang it over your shower head to dry.
Some people like to tension set, or weight, their yarn when it is drying. Personally, I choose not to as the next time the yarn gets wet or washed, it will almost always bounce right back to its natural state, tension setting or no tension setting. Plus, I love to see the character in each skein of yarn!
I hope that this post finds you well on your way to creating tons and tons of lovely handspun yarn. If you’ve missed any of my Tips And Tricks Thursday posts, you can find them all here. Also, if you have any questions or requests for future Tips And Tricks Thursday post, please feel free to contact me
Happy crafting everyone!