So I think I should begin by saying I really love the concept of a ball-winder. And I even love my brand-new one. There is something so incredibly wonderful about the neat, pretty little cakes of yarn that the winder makes. The huge, floppy skein of yarn spins and wiggles and suddenly is transformed into a tidy, practical solid, so full of promise, ready to fly onto the needles. And there is also an element of childlike magic – cranking away on that handle is the hopeful gesture of a little kid waiting for the joy and terror of that moment when Jack pops out of the box.
There are so many skeins of yarn I’ve been waiting to wind that last night, when I finally got my KnitPicks package home and opened up the stiff cardboard box, I immediately set up the winder and got started on the second skein of my Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. The first ball was wound for me at The Knitter’s Studio where I purchased the yarn – by the way, if you ever find yourself there, don’t miss the red velvet cake at Doughboys Bakery just a few doors down on 3rd Street.
Dad, get ready to shake your head in disgust: In my excitement to get a-windin’ I neglected to read the instructions (a single-sheet in broken English but with helpful diagrams) and thus I didn’t realize I needed to move the yarn-guide, the little metal loop that sticks up from the winder, from the side around to the back. So from the start I put myself at a disadvantage as far as the winding goes – why don’t I ever listen to my dad? With each turn, I had to pull the yarn at a strange angle to make sure it didn’t get caught up and wound into a tangle around the crank mechanism.
In spite of my awkwardness with the actual ball winder, the skein itself also gave me trouble. I figured that The Baron could stand in for a swift because those things are expensive! Last night, though, the poor guy was feeling a bit under the weather and didn’t have the will to play video games or even change the channel, let alone do any activity involving yarn. So I untwisted the skein and held it around my knees, unwrapping three or four loops at a time, winding them up on the winder, and then repeating the process. It was very slow going, with my body contorted at strange angles. I must’ve looked like I was doing some sort of strange ritual-dance, legs akimbo, tilted to the side, my left arm high in the air, my right shoulder dropped low. After about twenty minutes of this I found myself considering the risk to life and limb if I tried to nag The Baron off the couch, but instead I popped in a new audio-book (Summerland, written and read by Michael Chabon) and just kept cranking.
The sad results: My tight and misshapen ball on the left, and the beautiful “professionally” wound, perfectly tensioned ball on the right.
My only solace is that I plan to cast on Monkey Socks right away so that hopefully the poor yarn will not have to spend too much time as this ugly ball I’ve created!