04 September, 2012
one hundred, sixty-first skein
A skein of Vancouver Island-raised Hampshire wool spun with high twist, two strands plied together. I'd originally meant to do three strands and use the yarn for socks. Had to ditch that idea. Months have passed since I spun the original two strands on a spindle and transferred them to bobbins, and I figured I'd never match the size of the strands and the set of the twist.
I bought the Hampshire washed but with grease still remaining. After plying I washed the skein in hot, hot water and dish soap, rinsed it in hot water, and took the skein out before the water cooled to prevent grease from redepositing itself. The skein's not dry yet but the texture is more ordinary, less tacky to the touch than it was. I have pounds of this wool roving, some of it combed. Washing sounds like a plan, even if it does mess up the combed fibre.
Hopefully the washed wool will be less smelly. I did some of the plying outside in warm, humid air and the smell was strong.
As most handspinners know, when you leave wool spun on a bobbin the twist loses its bounce. I plied about a metre (about a yard) and put it in hot water to see how much plying twist the yarn needed to be balanced once the bounce was restored, the way curly hair straightened with a hairdryer regains its twist in the rain. Then I plied the skein accordingly. The amount of twist looked correct but whenever I let up on the tension the strand refused to hang straight. When I put the whole skein in the water I could see it change. The skein hangs straight now.