Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bathtime for baby(wool)

The Polwarth made it through plying,

and then winding into a skein prior to its first bath:

I should mention that while plying, I did a lot of cursing and dropping and untangling and trying not to remember that I have a spinning wheel in the closet upstairs I could very easily have used for almost no-fail spinning practice. I'm a little afraid of touching the spinning wheel this close to Christmas with so much still to do, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

While I was indulging in all that mental and physical anguish, I was prepping some of the destash yarn my friend dropped off last month for possible sweater use:

I thought it could use some freshening up before it went to work.

Spinning is new enough to me that can count on one hand the number of times I've given yarn a bath for any reason, and I've never given two different varieties of wool a bath on the same day. It was interesting because:

in addition to the difference in feel (the purple is a little rough, while the Polworth is cotton-ball soft and pillowy, just the way it looks on the swift if my camera did a good enough job to show it)

there was a marked difference in scent.

When wet, the purple smelled like wet wool always smells, and then some - strong to the point of Ew. But the Polworth smelled sweet, the way it did when I first opened the bag of fiber and the way it's smelled ever since. Being wet didn't change it at all. I found that weird, or at least unique in my experience of woolly behaviour.

I took my sniffer over to the bag of hand-dyed Polworth I bought in September and that fiber smells of dye, so I still don't know whether undyed Polworth is just really nice, or whether mine was perfumed in some way; I'm allergic to perfume though, and this isn't giving me headaches, so if it is perfume it's something very natural.

Not that I care much, really. I am just very excited for making the particular toy I have in mind out of such magical fiber as this, and for finding out whether knitting Polworth is as fabulous as spinning and hugging it.


heklica said...

I always smell yarn too :) No matter if it's wool or not. The strongest smelling yarn I've worked with is Kauni Effektgarn, I swear it still smells of sheep :) but I love it!

Kathleen Taylor said...

I love the smell of a raw fleece, so strong smelling yarn doesn't bother me, but there certainly is a difference.

When you're plying balls of yarn- you can put the yarn in a cup (if it's not a big ball), and thread the end over and around the handle and then up to your spindle for plying. That adds a bit of tension, and helps to keep the ball from jumping out and rolling across the floor.

(full disclosure- I didn't think that one up, I saw it in a video recently)

Karen said...

I actually love the smell of sheep; but I wonder whether the undyed Polwarth was less smelly because of the scouring agent used on it? (That's the stuff you use on raw fleece to get the ickies out.)