Wash wool in the skein before you knit with it? Why not? You wash wool in the skein after you spin it. Mind you, you don’t usually throw 17 4 oz skeins into your machine all at the same time. But you can!
This is MacAusland’s wool purchased in PEI this summer at MacAusland’s Woolen Mill. If you visit PEI, don’t miss it, but check the hours carefully. They close early on Friday and we didn’t get to see the mill in operation, but they kindly stayed open a bit longer to let us browse in the shop. Blankets are their main thing, but the wool came in 2-ply and 3-ply, and in the most wonderful heathered colours and solids. I’ll take closeups another day.
They also had wheels of very fine roving. It is a single strand, unlike Briggs & Little Country Roving, which has 5 strands, or the now sadly gone White Buffalo which had 6 strands. Just a single strand, about 1/8 of an inch wide, sold in 8 oz wheels. Just add twist and you have instant yarn. It spins up so quick and even. It’s pretty gratifying. After washing and whacking it is now 2 plys of fluffy, wooly goodness. That’s what gave me the idea to wash the MacAusland’s yarn, which straight from the mill feels kind of stiff and harsh. Now it feels just as lovely as the handspun.
My friend Ann and I each bought two wheels to spin up for our local knitters’ “sheep-to-shawl” blanket that will be raffled off in support of our local craft guild. Not a traditional sheep-to-shawl event, we start with handspun, natural, undyed fibre (generally wool, but maybe some alpaca will find its way in there), and knit it up into 6-inch squares which are then sewn into a large afghan. At less than $5.00 (plus tax) per wheel, this was perfect for our purposes. I just wish I had bought more to spin up for myself. I do believe I will be giving Mr. MacAusland a call.