Tag Archives: Cascade 220 Heathers

Adventures in Winding


I own neither a swift nor a ball winder. I’m not (yet) a prolific knitter, so this hasn’t been a huge issue for me so far. Mostly I buy my yarn at shops where they will wind the wool for you, which is an incredibly generous service for a small and often bustling shop to offer. For a couple of bigger projects, though, I bought my wool at a larger shop, and they do not offer a winding service.

For comparison’s sake, a proper swift and ball winder set-up, as demonstrated by the nice people at Gaspereau Fiber Arts.

I thought of all those “hold my skein” jokes and then wondered how long it would take me to wind, say, the 1200 yards of fingering weight yarn I needed for my sweater. Or, indeed, the three skeins of Cascade 220 I need for my most recent endeavour. I did a little mental math, decided that I value my relationship too much to put L through that much skein holding and decided to figure out another way. My solution: an office chair. It isn’t quite ideal, but it does spin and hold a skein nicely, and I can wheel it over to where I want to sit while winding the wool by hand.

This system has been working quite well, and then one day Ganymede walked into the room while I was happily winding away (and watching the Season 2 finale of Fringe because, Pacey Witter!, and also, winding wool is not very exciting). Naturally, if you’re a little cat and there is wool moving around, you want in on it.

Oh my gosh. Best day ever!

Do you think, if I tried, I could eat it all at once?

Listen, it would help if you stopped pulling it away from me.

I fought her off as best I could, but man, she is so cute that even when she’s bad it’s hard to really be mad. At least she didn’t chase the balls the couple of times that I dropped them, right?

In the end, her interference didn’t cost me too much time or pain (her claws are quite sharp), and I went from this

Cascade 220 Heathers in colourway 4008.

to this

in not too much time at all. If I start needing to wind more yarn than this per project, though, I might just have to invest in a proper system. Ganymede’s reaction alone would be worth it.

A Cautionary Tale

Yarn splurge

Last weekend I went into Lettuce Knit to exchange some wool (I had an extra, unwound skein of the wool I used for Almondine, so I thought I’d plan ahead and get something for the next pair of socks). I had just started the Happy-Go-Lucky socks, and thought I’d ask Natalie what she thought – I’m still new to colourwork and wanted to make sure I was doing things properly. For the record, this is how far along I was:


Just a bit of top.

At that point, I could get my foot through without any trouble. Nonetheless, Natalie took one look at them and said “be careful.” Her warning: She has highly-arched feet and there are some socks she just can’t get her foot into. I thought about that for a minute and then decided to just got for it. I was knitting above gauge, I thought, surely that will save me. Still, her warning haunted me all week, and when I Friday rolled around and I was halfway through the foot I thought I should check. The heel did seem small to me, and I was (secretly) a little worried. I couldn’t get my foot through. It was because the socks were still on the needles I reasoned, and plowed on.

Still, I was worried. I went to work that night and then spent all my downtime on Ravelry looking at projects I could start on the weekend in case these socks decided not to fit. I need to do this. I need to plan for the worst so that if it doesn’t happen, I can rejoice, and if it does I have something else planned already so no worries. I picked two patterns (this one and this one) and decided that I’d finish the Happy-Go-Lucky toe on Saturday morning and then go buy the necessary wool for the other patterns. No big deal.

Of course, then the sock fit. Only barely, to be fair, but I got it on and it was comfortable and lovely. Perfect, right? Well, yes and no. You see, in all my planning for ways to not be horribly disappointed in case they didn’t fit, I got kind of excited about these other projects.


Half of a pair. Secretly, I'm pretty pleased about how this looks – especially the surprise stripes on the sole.

That meant I went to the yarn store anyway.

Yarn splurge

Three skeins each of Cascade 220 Heathers in colourway 4008 (for the scarf) and three of Malabrigo sock in colourway Ochre (for the sweater).

I have been swatching ever since. I will cast on the second sock this week, but I might also cast on a sweater. Maybe today. Maybe right now. You see what happens when you preplan for disaster?