Finishing handspun yarn – why I think it’s a good idea

If you own a How-To-Spin-Yarn book, chances are, you’ve read all about the ‘finishing dilemma:’ after spinning and plying a yarn, should one ‘finish’ it by giving it a nice warm bath, or is it considered finished straight out of the wheel? The opinions on this are, as you’d expect, divided.

Although I’m of course not an expert and everybody will have their own opinions, I do think a warm bath and a gentle twacking definitely make a huge difference if you want a balanced yarn. If you want to read more about finishing yarn, go here for an example.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m going to let mine do most of the talking.

First, of course I had to spin my singles. This is one bobbin of BFL wool in the Nightfall colourway by Sara’s Texture Crafts.




I then plied it with a solid colourway, I believe it was Claret, also by Sara. How pretty is that?



At this point I didn’t own a niddy noddy to wind the yarn into a skein, so I used a couple of chairs instead. (Sorry about the bad image quality.)


After tying my knots to secure the skein, notice how twisted everything is. It’s overplied, right? Well… not necessarily.


Close-up of the twist

Close-up of the twist

Off it went for its bath. I first used some wool-friendly wash and some warm water and let it soak for about 15-20 minutes.


Since there was a little bleeding of colour (it happens sometimes, especially with reds) I decided to add a little vinegar to my final warm water soak to help set it. That did the trick.


I then twacked and beat the yarn a little on my tub and hung it, turning it occasionally until dry.

Now… this is the exact same yarn. Notice the difference? If not, please contact your nearest optician. This skein just hangs in a relaxed loop, perfectly balanced. This transformation never ceasses to amaze me. (By the way, thank you to my trusty assistant, Better Half, for lending an arm.)


Finally… a close-up of the pretty thing. It’s not the most even yarn in the world, but I’m happy with it, and if you were to knit this up, the piece wouldn’t come out biased.

Close-up of the prettiness.

Close-up of the prettiness.

So, do you finish your handspun yarn? If so, what technique do you use? If not, tell me why as well, I’d love to know your reasons!




11 responses to “Finishing handspun yarn – why I think it’s a good idea

    • You absolutely should, Zara! It’s a wonderful, hypnotic and addictive craft 😊 See why I’m saving your samples for a yummy yarn?

  1. I absolutely agree with you – handspun needs to be washed. Usually when it is finished, besides the “bias” or twist, it has a tacky feel. Once it’s washed it is so nice and luscious. I also leave it on the bobbin about 24 hours before I take it off, before I wash it. It’s supposed to “set the twist.” (I heard that once.) :^)

    Your yarn is beee-u-ti-ful!

    • Hi, Linda! Thanks for reading. I too leave my bobbins alone, but for at least 48h. I find this works best for me, but I only do it with singles! Should I do it with plied yarn as well, you think? Hm, must try that 😊

      • I think it should be done with plied yarn as well. I have been doing it for a long time. So long that I can’t remember all the why’s. Just that it sets the twist. But since I’ve done it so long, I have to recommend it, don’t I? HA

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