Saturday, 26 September 2009

Washing the Balwen

A couple of days ago I set about washing the first batch of Balwen yarn. It was spun unwashed, in the grease, so had plenty of lanolin in it. After the first wash, it dried with a slight stiffness as there was still too much lanolin, so I washed it again. Now it's softer, but still has lanolin. It does shed quite a bit as the staple length isn't as long as other fleeces, and it has coarser fibres mixed in, plus a bit of kemp. So as you can see from the above photo, it's not what you would call a "smooth" yarn.
Still, I like it, and the depth of colour is fantastic. Some of it is a little overspun, until I got used to it, but it plied really well. It also doesn't seem to felt - after two times round the washing machine, most of the strands, except where they were tied in the skein, were still separate.

So, what to do with it? First I need to spin a lot more. But I think this yarn will be great for large knits where you want minimum stretch and a robust fabric - skirts, tunics. I have my eye on a couple of tunics with a fair isle yoke, also have loads of skirt patterns, so I think this will be my new year project. I think it might also make hard-wearing socks, so if I have some left (think I will have with a whole sackful to go at!) I may make some socks with it.

Before that I am about to embark on my Christmas knitting. Actually, I started in June with a sweater for my SO. Just as well I did, because I had offered to knit something for a relative and she has taken me up on the offer. Then her SO looked at the pattern book she bought after our knitting consultation and he would like a cardigan. Then my Mum saw a fair isle pattern she loved (she can't stand knitting fair isle) so asked if I would do it for her. So I have three garments to do for Christmas. Oh, and I also have to work for my living. Never mind, I'm sure I will find enough hours in the day as the nights get longer...

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