Finishing your yarn may be one of the most important steps in the creation of your yarn. It is often either overlooked or misunderstood, but different finishing methods will either contribute to or take away from your yarn. Consider the qualities you want to shine through in your yarn and choose a method that benefits your yarn!
Soaking is the best method to use with a worsted yarn and particularly a lustrous yarn or an art yarn. The goal with soaking is that the yarn goes into the hot water with minimum agitation and comes out of the yarn looking the same as it went it. The hot water relaxes and sets the twist, but the surface of the yarn is not disturbed. By maintaining a smooth surface, all the best qualities of a worsted yarn shine through.
Snapping is the process of gently snapping a wet skein by tugging the skein between two hands. Snapping is still relatively gently, like soaking, but the process of snapping helps to even out twist throughout the skein. Save this for your semi-worsted yarns, yarns that still have worsted qualities but that you might not be worried about the ultimate luster.
Often a favorite finishing method and stress relief activity, thwacking is the process of taking a wet skein and smacking it against a wall or other surface. Thwacking causes the fibers to bloom and twist to even throughout the skein. Great for semi-woolen yarns or yarns that use fibers that fluff up, like angora or mohair.
Fulling is the harshest finishing method. The yarn is swished around in hot water, transferred to cold water, swished around, and then returned, back and forth until the fibers begin to felt. Fulling is best applied to woolen yarns or singles yarns. It is a great choice for any yarn that could benefit from some additional structural integrity.