Setting the twist of a single yarn with a pressure cooker is not my idea originally but Wiebke’s who, sadly enough, does not blog. She’s been using this method for ages and very successfully too.
Should you decide to try please do run some tests first to be on the safe side. I can not guarantee that the method works with all kinds of wool and all pressure cookers.
This is how I do it:
- Wind the wool up into a ball. I prefer the flat ones with a hole in the middle, those that are produced by a winder. They fit my pressure cooker nicely and are not as compact as the “balls” wound by hand. It is important for the single yarn to be „under tension“ before being placed in the pot , not as relaxed as in a skein! Remember, it will be “set” in whatever condition it sits in the pressure cooker. Therefore let it be ball, not skein.
- Place tripod in pot and fill with just enough water to reach about three quarters up the tripod. Place perforated inset on top. Place wool in inset making sure there is no water contact. Close the lid and heat until water boils and the little thingamee on top of the lid has come out completely.
- Allow cooker to cool off on stove. Do not open immediately, even if your curiosity is almost unbearable and resisting the urge becomes difficult. It’s worth it – results are much better that way.
- Take out wool and roll into skeins. Let skeins dry.
It is possible to let the balls dry, but the yarn turns out nicer, if it is allowed to dry in skeins. Yarn dried in balls will partly (those bits out of the core) look like having been knitted once and unraveled again. Rewind your skeins into balls and start knitting.
I conducted some first tests with „luxury“ non-sheep fibres (camel, silk, mohair). None of the fibres were damaged obviously because they were neither boiled nor moved but merely “cooked” in steam.
But please, please do your own probing.