Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ragamuffin Skeins All in a Row

I took advantage of the recent hot Santa Ana weather in San Diego and set the twist of several dozen skeins of handspun Ragamuffin yarn. I'm using some of it to make wreaths for a local craft show in a few weeks.

"Setting the twist" of a handspun yarn can be accomplished by steaming, but more commonly it is done by washing and drying the newly spun yarn once it has been secured with ties into a loose skein form.

I wash the Ragamuffin yarn by hand in a small wash tub like the ones my grandmothers and great-grandmothers used. Next I feed each skein through a hand-wringer to remove the rinse water.

One of my dearest friends (who loves hand-laundering) encouraged me to buy the hand-wringer from the Lehman's catalog a few years ago. It has been an indispensable tool in the making of my Ragamuffin yarn.

I had experimented with washing and drying the skeins in a conventional washer and dryer. The result: too many tangles. The old way, in this case, is the better way.

The whole process of handwashing, wringing, and hanging the yarn out on the clothesline to dry is meditative. I find myself slowing down and reflecting on my foremothers and their graceful dance of daily tasks.

Ragamuffin Wreath