Tag Archives: winding

A lemon


Well, it seems I am not the only one who finds it impossible to concentrate on my current projects (however much I’m enjoying them) when there are other enticing things out there. Audry made a great point in her comment, saying she can only settle when she’s cast on. I don’t want to totally drop Grace, but I must admit that the Kit Camisole has been calling my name, and getting more insistent, since the pattern was released.


On Saturday, I thought I’d cave a little and wind the yarn (Louet Euroflax in Goldenrod) so I could swatch. L and I are going away for a few days next weekend, so my grand plan is to bring Kit as my travel knitting (we’re taking the train, which is a great place to knit) and concentrate on Grace until then. So, I wound one skein.

In the course of the winding, though, the end at the middle got lost. I like a centre-pull ball, so I was annoyed and I decided to re-wind the ball (I do this with yarn all the time and have never had a problem. Ahem. I got maybe a quarter of the way through the original ball when, to my shock and horror, the ball forming on my ball winder flew off the ball winder and landed on the floor several feet away.

Three partial balls and a giant tangle.

Three partial balls and a giant tangle.

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like that before. So, I decided to try again. Not even halfway through the smaller ball and the stupid thing launched itself off the ball winder and flew over the table and landed on the floor. Honestly. I was speechless. I just – what the heck? Clearly linen is a slippery little beast of a fiber and should come with some kind of warning. As far as I can tell (and I haven’t wound another skein yet, although I’ll need to before we leave) it winds up just fine the first time when the swift provides tension, but after that, just forget it.


The result? This rather loose and annoying hand-wound ball. Linen has no stick, so while wool will happily sit smooth and still in a ball, linen has no interest in it. This is a lemon. Nonetheless, it has certainly satiated my desire to get started on Kit, which I have swatched for and can now set aside until Saturday. Phew.

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.