Sunday, February 16, 2014

Boil and Bubble

I'm still in Tahkli Phase, spinning assorted organic cotton sliver colors, and plying them with a commercial yarn (80% cotton, 20% wool, Brown Sheep, fingering weight, on a cone).

This is a little over 4 ozs, probably about 360 yds, of natural colored, handspun cotton yarn. The whitest white is Acala cotton. The slightly darker white is Buffalo (the color name, it's still cotton) from Fox Fibre. The Medium is a stripey Fox Fibre, as is the darkest brown.These hanks had been washed but not boiled.

General wisdom has it that handspun cotton yarn needs to be boiled, both to set the twist and to bring out the color. Fox Fibre specifically is supposed to get darker with each washing. However, I didn't want to bring the yarn to an active boil because the plied strand has some wool in it. Just boiling will will not felt it, but I still didn't want to take a chance on sudden temp changes. That's several weeks of work up there- caution was my byword.

And then last night, I decided to do it anyway. A little Googling told me that Fox Fibre needs an alkaline boil, and my faucet provides all the alkalinity anyone would need. So I simmered the skeins gently. The color changed instantly and dramatically.

Here are the hanks, dry after their hot bath.

Look at the color change! (the little foof is unspun cotton)

The change in the Buffalo color is more subtle, but it's still obvious.

Even the acala darkened a bit.

This sliver is supposed to come out tweedy. It did.

I am really happy with these yarns. And I have no intention of putting the tahkli away any time soon. Next up on the spindle, some Fox Fibre green.

No comments: