29 February 2008

Ask and You Shall Receive

I was thinking that I didn't have anything to blog about. Life running along smoothly, nothing really out of the ordinary happening. Knitting the same thing as last time. Children haven't done anything too weird or obnoxious.

Then I decided I would get out the swift and ball winder so I could ball up the last skein of merino for Daughter's stole. I took a couple of pictures to illustrate why I usually wind my balls twice. Invariably I get the wrong end when I start, and the yarn gets hung up which causes it to be under a lot of tension. Photo #1 shows what 880 yards of lace weight merino looks like when it's wound much too tightly.

So then I pull out the yarn from the center and wind it again. This loosens it up quite a bit. Photo #2 shows how much larger the ball is after the second winding.

After taking these photos I figured, "Well, it's not all that interesting, but I guess I could make a blog post out of it." Then I decided that while I had the swift and winder out I might as well wind up a skein of Rayon Silk from Interlacements. This would be that part where the knitting fates laughed and said to one another, "Watch this!"

The first hurdle I got to was that the skein was very heavy, 16 ounces. I love my swift, it serves me well and often, but it was a little overwhelmed by the weight of this baby. After performing some creative gymnastics I was finally able to get the yarn loaded on the swift. I then began cutting off the ties. For those who aren't familiar with how a skein is put together, imagine that you are putting away your vacuum cleaner. If you're like me you wind the cord around between your palm and your elbow. A reeled skein is like that, only bigger in diameter. In order to keep the yarn from getting all tangled up it is tied in several places, usually two or three. As I started cutting off the ties I discovered that there were a lot more ties than there usually are, and they were in strange places, but I didn't really think too much of it at that moment.

I got all of the ties cut off and started winding. I had no end of trouble. Things were sliding off the bottom of the swift, the yarn kept getting caught, and finally I ended up with this:

Make sure you click on that to make it bigger so that you can really appreciate how much yarn is twisted around the center of the swift. After straightening that particular mess out and figuring out a way to proceed, even with the large mass of hanging yarn (put the swift on a kitchen stool. The big yarn tumor just swirls around it,) I proceeded with the winding. Imagine my surprise when the end of the skein came off of the swift... but there was still a huge amount of yarn left on it. Curious, I checked for another loose end and discovered one. I had to take everything off the swift, however, because it was such a tangled mess. As I was trying to untangle things I discovered one of the tricks that the fates had played on me. It wasn't one skein of yarn. It was four that had been bundled together. I checked the label to make sure that I wasn't losing my mind. It says, "1100 yards per approx. 16 ounce skein." I'm sure they meant to add, "4 mini skeins bundled together," but the printer must have left that part off.

I put one of the remaining 3 skeins on the swift and what do you know, this time it wasn't so heavy that it was falling off. Hooray, now we can get cracking on this! Not so fast. This particular skein should have also had a warning label. Something along the lines of, "Abandon hope all ye who enter." I have never wound such a tangled, knotted, messed up bunch of yarn in my life. I swear to you that I never got more than 3 cranks of the winder before the yarn got hung up and I had to stop and untangle it. It took 35 minutes to wind about 250 yards of yarn. I did eventually get it all wound and now I have this to play with.

So for anyone who feels like they don't have anything to blog about, just wait. Those fates will get to you eventually.


uuuuuhhh? said...

ho ho mam you truly are the cats meow!!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

Hmmmmm....personally I didn't know if I should laugh or cry at that post. I suppose the best thing that I can say is "been there, done that, and I'm sure that I have a t-shirt some where around here from the land of tangled skein"

MadMad said...

Oh, man! The patience of a saint, is what you have, hon! I was pretty much ready to cry, reliving my own experience with a nasty skein of lace-weight, that I'm pretty sure, to this day, is stuffed in a bag somewhere...