The honeymoon is over

20 Feb

All wound up

The borrowed ball winder and I fell in love over aran weight wool and had our first fight over 4 ply silk. Who knew the two experiences could be so different? 85g of Tall Yarns’ beautiful pure silk, one skein that wanted to be a ball when it grew up. It kept getting knotted, slipping off the winder and generally being a not-much-fun experience. I had to give myself a timeout and have a coffee. Then I came back and made it into two 40-something gram balls and peace was restored. We made up by going back to where we fell in love – 100% wool. This time kettle dyed Manos del Uruguay in lovely blues and greens. I returned the ball winder to its owner and we were both sad to part.

then . . .

Hours of happy yarn winding wasn’t the only thing I didn’t rate when I started knitting again. For those of you that don’t know, I knat as a teenager but gave it up in my early 20’s, coming back to it just as I turned 40. When I bought yarn before, I went into the ‘Wool Shop’ where my mum worked, chose a colour and she sent me home with a couple of balls, stashing the others in the back room for later. The pattern was usually bought at the same time, on glossy paper, produced by the yarn manufacturer so we bought the recommended yarn. My choice of patterns was limited to what the Wool Shop stocked and it never occured to me to look anywhere else.

Manos yarn before winding

Manos yarn before winding

. . . and now

So now, 20 years later, the process couldn’t be more different. For a start, I now live more than 200 miles from my mum, she doesn’t work in a wool shop, and my choice is huge. The result is that I spend lots of time that I would previously have spent knitting, looking for patterns, looking at what other people made with the patterns, looking at what yarns other people used with the patterns and what they thought of the patterns. I don’t buy the pattern and the yarn together now, in fact a lot of the patterns I use are free. I don’t have them printed on glossy paper – I sometimes print them at home or just work from the computer for simple patterns. Now I buy yarn with no idea of what I will do with it. So there’s hours of reading about yarn, looking at other people’s yarn, feeling other people’s yarn, hearing what other people think of their yarn, touching yarn in shops/exhibitions, thinking about it, looking what people have knat with it, looking at what they thought of what they knat with it. Then there’s swatching and changing needle size and washing the swatch.

Tall yarns silk

Tall yarns silk

At first all this ‘not knitting’ was very frustrating but now I realise that I enjoy that part as much as I do the knitting. If I had a shed, then this would be time spent out there, sharpening my tools, arranging my resources, and just being around my hobby.

To mis-quote a terrible song: “Are we human, or are we knitter?”

Tags: ball winder winding buying patterns

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