That post title would be more accurately put as “The grey 1.183 mile…” Yep, that’s 2082 yards* of 3-ply from the grey portion of my Targhee cross fleece. I spun it woolen, drawing out the singles fairly fine, and I’d say it has resulted in a heavy fingering or perhaps sport weight yarn. I love the color (which happens to match Wilson’s hair perfectly). The photo with heads up on the dime is the singles, the tail side shows the 3-ply.
That is a lot of yarn - 8 skeins, some quite big. How does one bloom the fiber and set the twist in that much yarn? Not in the bathroom sink, that’s for sure. I figured if I washed the fleece in the washer, certainly I can wash the yarn there, too.
I like to track my yarn as I spin it, keeping notes on method, fiber, yardage, and date of production on a paper tag. Of course these can’t be washed with the yarn. I use the plastic locking stitch markers to mark the tags and the skein they came from so I can match them back up again later. With 8 skeins and only 2 colors of markers, you have to get creative with color combinations to keep them all clear.
I filled the washer about halfway with warm water, added a goodly amount of wool wash, turned the washer off, then laid the yarn in on top of the water. Wow, did I mention that is a lot of yarn? I pushed it gently under the water and then went away for about half an hour to let it soak.
I then skipped the wash cycle ahead to the final spin cycle. I wanted to avoid any water being sprayed on the yarn which might cause some degree of felting. A good spinning got most of the water out - the yarn left the washer feeling fluffy and substantially softer.
Upstairs to the deck where I laid a heavy towel out on the table and then, WHACK! This is the aerobic part of spinning, giving each skein about a dozen whacks against the towel, moving my hand position around the skein as I did so. This causes a woolen fiber to bloom and helps set the twist so the yarn won’t go wonky on you as you knit. Here you see the freshly whacked yarn, already looking fluffy.
I set up a drying rack inside the shower stall of the spare bathroom. As you are aware we suffer a kitten infestation here, so I wasn’t taking any chances. The yarn was nearly dry about 4 hours later.
The final yarn makes my heart sing. And this method - way easier than hand soaking, squeezing, rolling in towels, etc. Drying time is cut by something like a full day. Unlike the Hemlock cat bed, this experiment was a 100% success. I give it an A+.
Now to figure out what to knit. I’m looking for a cardigan pattern suited to the slight texture and color variations of homespun. Any suggestions?
*Note, as this is a 3-ply, that was 6,246 yards or over 3.5 miles of spinning for the singles that make it up. It does keep me off the streets…