Sunday, July 30, 2006

I haven't been swimming yet, but my yarn has. No fair.

I haven't been getting a vast amount of knitting done since the events of the last post--one foot of the twisted-stitch knee socks is awaiting grafting (pity about that lost darning needle, grr) and the second one is a bit past where the first one was when I did the repairs I wrote about below.

I did wash some coned yarn from webs, which I bought along with the Cascade 220 for my Rogue cardi in January (yep, I knit one of those too, like everyone ever...), because it was awfully cheap and I had sweaters on the brain. I got just under 1700 yards, which ought to be more than enough for a densely cabled cardigan/jacket to fill the temperature gap between my light canvas jacket and my winter pea coat.

(Right before posting this I discovered that webs still has some of this yarn on its Garage Sale page. See what I mean about Very Cheap? Their photos are also a better illustration than mine of the rather string-like texture it has pre-washing.)

I know you don't have to wash coned yarn before using it, but I also know that this stuff smelled like petroleum and felt about the way you'd expect petroleum-scented yarn to feel.

I tried to document the twine-y, wiry texture, but it didn't really come across, due, apparently, to my inability to focus a damn camera. (Take my word on it?) The color in that photo seems about right, at least on my monitor--a bright-ish burgundy tweed, with neps in various almost-crayon colors. (The label calls it "cardinal.")

I wound it off into three huge skeins of very approximately equal size, which I washed one at a time in dish detergent. The dish detergent was because I wasn't sure Woolite would be tough enough to strip out most of the spinning oil (not to mention that my Woolite seems to have vanished during the move out of student housing in May). The one-at-a-time business was because my washtub is a small Rubbermaid-type storage box that only holds a couple of gallons, and these were *big* skeins and i didn't want to crowd them.

This house does have a soaking tub in the laundry room (I live in a house! with a laundry room! bliss!), but it, conversely, is huge and would waste a ton of water to fill. It's also awkwardly placed, and is full of dust and at least one large spider. My little plastic tub balanced comfortably on one corner of it.

I dried the skeins over a broomstick in the back yard

which took less than a day, since it was hot (though humid)--the last one to come out of the bath was dry by the next morning. The little pink flecks all over the concrete patio are insulating foam scraps from the cosplay sword my housemates are building, by the way (long story, kind of). The puddle, obviously, is because wet yarn drips.

I wound it all up on my ball winder, because I wanted to check for damp bits before I put it away. My three monster skeins should probably have been four; I had to wind really carefully toward the end of each one because they were actually too big for the winder. I'll be very sad if I've shortened the lifespan of that marvellous toy....

The yarn did fluff up nicely. It still feels a little oily, but now smells like a combination of sheep, dish soap, and just a wee bit of petroleum--so I'm hoping the oil I can feel now is partly or mostly lanolin. It'll be tolerable to knit with, when I get around to it, and the finished product will be washed again once it's done anyway.


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