Removing Mill Oil Tutorial

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I just recently bought two skeins of yarn from The Yarn Workshop–which I’ll make more comments on later. They arrived, they’re beautiful, and I’m fairly certain I’ll buy a cone of one of them, though which remains to be seen, since I want to knit with them first.

In any case, their yarn arrives with the mill oil still on it. This isn’t a huge deal at all, and is quite easily removed (thankfully!). Since I didn’t see many places that mentioned how to get it off, I decided to go ahead and make a quick tutorial of how.

The skein I’m demonstrating with is the Killara, a 55% silk/45% superwash wool lace weight. The other skein of Geelong (100% fine merino laceweight) was slightly different in water appearance, and took slightly longer to get all the oil out. Either way, there’s so little difference that it wasn’t worth doing pictures for both.

Go ahead and untwist the skein so that you can make sure nothing’s tangled.
Skein, ready to be soaked.

Skein, ready to wash

Make sure the sink you’re using is clean! Wipe it down with a rag or some such. For a silk blend, the water should be warm but not super hot. Fill the sink up about halfway. For pure wool, I always go scalding. Take a look at your water. Your going to want to get it that clear at the end too.
Clear and clean water, lukewarm for the silk.

Clear and clean water, lukewarm for silk

Next, gently put your skein on the water. It’s most likely going to want to float, so very gently press it down into the water, getting as much air out as possible.

Floats on water!

Your water will most likely become very cloudy/yellow pretty immediately. That’s mill oil coming off the skein, and that’s what this whole process is meant to do!
Yellow water!! Don’t forget to add your soap.

Yellow water. Don't forget to add soap!

At this point, I recommend adding some more water of equivalent temperature and dish soap. You can also add the soap with the first sink full if you’d like, or drain the sink and refill with soap. Just make sure you have soapy water and press the skein back into the water and let it soak all the soap up. You should use dish soap primarily because it’s meant to get oil off/out, and mill oil is still oil.
Bubbles and soap. Make sure the skein is pressed in firmly so it sucks up some of the soap as well.

Bubbles and soap. Make sure the skein is pressed in firmly so it sucks up some of the soap as well.

Give it about five minutes to soak, and then begin to do the rinse process. I didn’t picture it, but gently remove the skein, press it so water runs out, and then drain the sink and refill with clear water. Press the skein in, check how the water looks. Continue draining, refilling, and pressing the skein in gently until the water is mostly clear again.

Put the skein on a towel next, spread out in big oval/circle form.

Spread on towel

Begin rolling the towel over from one edge until it’s in noodle shape, and then stomp much of the water out as you can. Do not rub the yarn at this stage to dry it; that should be a given, but you never know.

Mmm, noodles.

Once you’ve done that, hang your yarn to dry! Well, you can lay it flat to dry, but I prefer to hang it so that it stays out of my way for the most part. Plus, there’s a nice feeling of satisfaction that comes from seeing it hanging.

Killara yarn

Geelong yarn

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