Nancy's Explanation of Yarn Abuse
A discussion on firstname.lastname@example.org led to the process of "yarn abuse" which I regularly do with my homespun. If you spin, after plying, take the yarn, tie it well and wash it in hot water, don't worry, agitate it, and then rinse it in cold water and then slap the wet skeins on the side of the shower of tub. This will shrink and felt it slightly. Additionally if shorter fiber is used it will lock it in place. I do this routinely with angora, mohair and cat hair. After you do a final rinse in cheap hair conditioner, roll skein in towel to get rid of the majority of moisture and pull the yarn apart a bit since it has probably felted together. It makes it easier to take it from a swift to a ball winder. The addition of mohair will make socks last longer and be warmer. For commercial yarn with mohair in it, I would suggest skeining and doing the above procedure. An added benefit to the yarn abuse is reducing the shrinkage prior to knitting up the sock. Some people say that you can wash the sock in the washer since you've already shrunk the yarn. I did put my porthole socks in the washer (not the dryer) and it didn't seem to hurt them one bit and I had used hand spun Romney which I had yarn abused.