Ravellings

Don’t wind me up

Once upon a time, when the world was young and I was a new knitter, beginning a project was simple. (Well, apart from all the planning and starting and frogging and all, on which I have already commented.) You picked up your needles, and you picked up a ball of wool, and you got going.
(It was always “wool”, never yarn, even if the closest it had ever been to animal life was the sheepish expression on the shop assistant’s face as she explained that this was in fact 100% pure plastic. And yes, I knit with acrylic. Partly because it was cheaper, but mostly because it was there. Actual wool was quite hard to find, especially in any colours other than oatmeal. And scratchy. For years I had a very well entrenched prejudice against wool. I didn’t exactly like acrylic either, though, so I developed a quite irrational devotion to cotton – irrational only in that, long after I should have known better, I still thought cotton could do anything. I didn’t want to know about heaviness, or lack of elasticity, or any of those pesky details. And in there lies a sad, sad tale… but never mind. Cotton was my one true love. Imagine my delight, and destruction, on discovering silk! And then suddenly – more recently than I’d like to admit – it dawned on me, accompanied by choirs of angels singing Hallelujah, that wool could be smooth and soft. I found merino. The world is a brighter, happier place for it.)
Where was I?
Yes. Balls. Wool Yarn came in balls. And then, when I went to the factory shops of Cape Town, it came in cones. Great big cones of machine knitting yarn – laceweight, essentially – which I wound off onto toilet roll holders so that I could knit two strands together. This was of course a great pain, but was the sacrifice I paid for getting really, really cheap yarn.
Which is why I got quite confused on coming to London, buying screeds of Summer Tweed (cotton and silk, people! Rapture!), and realising that these expensive little buggers had to be wound up before use.* The cheek! Wasn’t I paying Rowan to do that for me? Who did these skeins think they were?
And then I discovered handpainted yarns, and as we all know, my doom was sealed. Almost everything I knit, now, requires winding before I can so much as cast on. So I got a ball winder, and a swift, and I set them up, and a few hours at a time, I set about winding most of my stash. So that I could be ready for anything at a moment’s notice. It’s the only sensible thing to do, right?
Wrong. Turns out yarn doesn’t like to be wound up. It likes to be loosely squished in lovely cosy skeins. I have hurt my yarn. Woe!
So recent purchases have been left be-skeined until such time as I have a fairly immediate plan for them. Well, Sunday before last I was very conscious of a looming time when I’d be finished Armin’s cosy socks and would want another pair to cast on. Plus, I’m going away on a short holiday at the end of this week (prepare for the return of Eszter the Needle Elf!), and want a lace shawl to take with me. (Maximum knitting time, minimum luggage room.) And I have these samples that must be test driven. And one pair of socks might go too quickly, better get ready for two. And I need more handwarmers. And I’m dying to knit up Freyalyn’s gorgeous handspun into something warm and magical. It was time to do a little winding. Not too much, of course; just those things I could reasonably expect to be starting pretty soon.
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Looking at that, and considering my recent rate of progress, I suspect I’m getting a little overambitious. Especially since all this winding was done before recent Posh Yarn and Get Knitted acquisitions, not to mention a certain lovely Christmas present. So I’m not even up to date. I guess I shoulda left some of this in the skein. Sigh…
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* Well. First I knit an entire man-size pullover, with stranded colourwork border, from skeins laid flat out on the floor. We will not speak of that.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t wind me up

  1. Oh lovely, I’m just waiting on delivery of my haul from you so taht I can wind them up and I have 3, yes 3 new shawl patterns lined up and waiting. Must finish this latest lace smoke ring before the yarn arrives or I fear it won’t stand a chance.

  2. Freyalyn, I think I know exactly what I’m doing with it, and I think it’s going to be rather wonderful. I also love how the Snow White edging turned out – everyone says that is the detail that really makes it. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous creations!

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