It hurts... but everything I've read is that it relaxes once it's been washed. I keep wondering, why can't I wash it before I knit with it? Checked Ravelry and it seem that there are people out there who do that first, so next time, that's what I'm doing! (Especially since I plan to make two more towels.) Ran into one knot so far but otherwise the yarn has been good, no problems with it splitting.