Sunday, February 24, 2008

Epiphany

The theme for this weekend seems to have been: It's not me.  It can't just be me.

Last night, I reached a rather frustrating conclusion.  It may be a little radical, but I'm sticking with it.  I think I may even compose a theme song or something, a little ditty to rally the troops around me...a call to arms, if you will.  I have decided that there is no excuse for poorly skeined yarn.  Further, there is no excuse for stupidly skeined yarn.  

There.  I said it.  I have no problem laying out cash for good yarn, especially if it is something I covet, something that will make me happy.  Sure, the non-knitting world may shake their heads at the very idea of a $25.00 pair of socks.  But everyone has their little weaknesses and I've come to love a good sock yarn.  Sometimes I even love it enough to buy two skeins of the stuff.

Fresh from my Monkey victory and a-tingle with the possibilities for new and exciting sock knitting, I delved back into the stash last night and came up with a rather lovely example of such yarn.  It is soft, beautifully dyed and has rather pleasant associations.  The day I purchased it was a fun one.  I'd picked up two skeins, thinking it might work as well for a scarf as for socks, but it really seemed to want to become the latter.  

However, one skein was a bit raggedy.  It looked like it was escaping from the twisted state in which I purchased it.  But, having had a little experience with winding yarn, I figured I'd be fine.  I wasn't.  Within minutes, the $25.00 hank of yarn had exploded into a tangled mass and thwarted my attempts to corral it back into something that resembled order.  

No problem.  I had another skein.  Flukes happen.  Thankfully, I was prepared.  I may have even chuckled just a little bit at the mess I'd created.  The second skein was brought forth from the stash and happy winding was anticipated.  

However, when I began to untwist the skein, I saw (to my horror) that the inner workings resembled ramen noodles.  It may have looked good on the outside.  But the inside...not so much.

I tried.  I really did.  But it was to no avail.  In the interest of cutting to the chase and making a long story short (er), I shall simply say that there is now $50.00 worth of very lovely and very tangled sock yarn unceremoniously tossed back into the stash room awaiting the day when my rage has gone down a degree or two.  

This is not the first time I've had a problem winding some of the pricier yarns.  I used to think I simply lacked the skill or an understanding of how certain companies make skeins happen.  But, I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe...it's not me.

I have the technology.  I own a swift.  I even own a skein-winder.  I have a ball-winder.  The tools are at my disposal.  I know how to use them.  And, as a spinner, I've twisted up a skein or two myself.  I think it might just be that I am a victim of badly wound yarn, fiber so convoluted that no one save a navigator of some sort could work their way around it.

There is no excuse.  The Yarn Company Who Shall Not Be Named should be ashamed.  I only hope that when I finally rediscover the yarn dumped in the stash room I remember how much I paid for it and don't just toss it thinking that it was some cheap yarn I'd considered unworthy of winding.

Meanwhile, with the clock on school vacation week running down, I really wanted to get something on the needles.  Something of a kinder and gentler nature.  Something that wouldn't explode.  Stash diving recommenced and I surfaced with a skein of The Flock Bransonas that I won in a comment contest from Jane last summer.  It was bright, festive and, best of all, eager to go from swift to ball-winder to needles, unlike its cranky cousins.  

See?  I do too know how to wind yarn!

Of course, nothing is ever simple.  Getting the yarn into a center-pull ball is really only the first step.  Then you have to knit it.  And that has not gone quite as well.  I've been through three different patterns thus far today and am hoping that the fourth will be the one that sticks.  The time for fiddling around is over.  Tomorrow I'll be back at school and all consumed with educating America's future.  I won't see uninterrupted knitting time in any real way until April.  
Maybe by then I will have forgiven the ramen noodle yarn.

SA

16 comments:

trek said...

Blech - I really hate that, too. You are so right: after shelling out enough cash that you could have done half a week's grocery shopping, it ought not to look as though it has been shelled.

Was attempt #4 a lucky one?

Beth said...

How aggrevating to have a tangled mess of expensive yarn! I hope you find just the right pattern for the other yarn soon. It's a little stressful when there's a deadline to get something on the needles.

Teri S. said...

I too have run into problem with intractable skeins not wanting to play nice while unskeining. It's frustrating, but I find it relaxing to try to untangle the mess. Good luck with finding just the right pattern for the next socks.

Anonymous said...

Coming out of lurking to comment... I also spin, knit, own all the tools, etc, and occasionally encounter such skeins. The only way out is to consider it all a Zen exercise. If that's not the mindset from the beginning, you're screwed. Have you complained to the yarn/dyeing company? Alternatively, the next time a skein threatens to start acting ramen-like, you might try steaming it to tame it before attempting to unwind. Just a thought...
Nancy NeverSwept

Army_Wifey08 said...

at least your diet doesn't consist of eating ramon noodles...cause then I think you might be ramon noodled out...although they are very good...only the beef noodles though, none of the other stuff.

Lynne said...

I know the hassle with patterns. I'm knitting with a better quality black acrylic yarn [hard to see subtle patterns at night]; I wanted to make a scarf for a homeless person, one with enough pattern to be interesting [the scarf not the person!] but not too complicated so that it would knit up quickly. Patterns #1 and #2 have been ripped out; pattern #3 never even made it to the needles; pattern #4 is progressing boringly - it's garter stitch!!

Karen said...

I hate when that happens and it always happens with the most expensive stuff too.

Denise said...

Oooh, I hate it when that happens (right up there with expensive sock yarn that is discovered to be full of badly spun spots and sketchy joins while being balled up). Definitely a task that needs to be approached after the initial anger has subsided.

Thanks for the kind words about my cards!

Anne said...

Doncha HATE that? The Monkey's look great tho - I hope you'll get another pair on the needles (with more cooperative yarn) soon!!

Alwen said...

Argh, that is aggravating. If you were trying to do it on the carpet with a cat "helping," that's one thing, but if it defies the swift, that's a whole 'nother thing.

Lorraine said...

Ugggh! Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

If you can't face the untangling, I don't mind fussing with stuff like that and I'd do it for you. As long as there is no mohair in it. Detangling mohair is hideous!

Besides, I find that I have some extra time on my hands now.

Ronni said...

I'm sorry about the yarn. Leave yourself a note with the yarn so you don't try to untangle it when you're not in the mood.

Your Monkeys look great! I'm inspired to make a pair even more now.

kmkat said...

I have been known to cut yarn when it refuses to be detangled. Shameful, I know, but better than setting it afire.

Anne said...

I'd definitely write the company. What a good excuse to dust off your best outraged-consumer attitude, for one thing, and you never know--every once in a while a retail business Does the Right Thing. I know the feeling of needing to get something OTN. We have a faculty meeting tomorrow night and my current socks are too fiddly to be good meeting knitting....

=Tamar said...

I've heard that yarn originally skeined for weaving is almost impossible to wind normally, but yours doesn't sound like a weaving skein. I just wound a badly-done skein myself so you have my complete sympathy.

Kris said...

I hate that too, especially when there are lots of knots and slubs. Honestly, I won't buy Koigu again for that very reason