Why I HATE Winding Yarn…

Yarn on swift in a tangly mess

Is there some magic trick to winding yarn into a ball that I am missing?

The last several hanks I’ve tried to work with have been anything but neat. I’m always nervous when I take off the wrapper and untwist the hank and the lovely long loop of yarn is revealed. Lately, every hank I’ve gotten (different manufacturers and dyers even) has been messy on the inside side and all twisted up.

Forget trying to wind it up when it gets like this on my ball winder. I have to wind slowly, weaving the ball under and over the loops of yarn on the swift as I go. Inevitably, it gets hopelessly twisted at some point, and I wind up with a mess. It depends on the hank whether it happens near the beginning of the winding (which can take me days or weeks to fix) or near the end, which takes most of a day, even so.

It’s now nearly 5 p.m. here in Maryland. I’ve been winding this ball since about 1:00. I’m getting tired of this job always being such a job. Why can’t the hanks just be neatly wound, so that they ball up in minutes with the ball winder and swift? Why does this have to take all day?

Please don’t tell me it’s just me. I can’t handle hearing that right now. I’ve got to go lie down.

Happy Birthday, John! We’ll celebrate later, when the kids are asleep and my head is clear again.

Signing out from yarn hell….

Baby Knitting

Today I finally received the book, 50 Baby Bootees to Knit by Zoe Mellor. I love, love, LOVE the adorable and interesting designs. There is everything from basic booties to Mary Jane shoes, to cute little baby socks. I also love Ann Budd’s Better than Booties Baby Socks and so am trying to come up with some combination of socks, hat, and sweater or jacket. The Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting : The Curious Knitters’ Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures is also on my short list.

Here’s the thing: I’ve managed all this time to be a decent but limited knitter, without having to do a lot of math. I’ve never knit a project that truly required a gauge swatch. Now, though, I have some specific yarns I want to use:

Lisa Souza Sock Merino Yarn, spumoni colorway

Lisa Souza Sock Merino Yarn, pumpkin colorway

Lisa Souza Sock Merino Yarn, peacock colorway

These are Lisa Souza Sock! Merino in the Spumoni, Pumpkin, and Peacock colorways. I don’t know the gender of the baby I’m knitting for, but he or she is due to arrive in the fall, which prompted the pumpkin colors. (The others I just liked for a baby.)

Maybe the big problem for now is that I have too many choices! I’ll give myself a week or so to narrow it down. Then I’ve got to get busy knitting!

(Almost) Good As New…

Afghan showing fixed bottom edge

Last night I had a Venti Mocha right before dinner. Being suitably caffeinated, I decided to dive in on fixing the blanket. In the end, I felt that grafting was a wee bit beyond me, especially since I wasn’t dealing with a clean edge. Not the way I want to try something new, really. I’m not that brave. So what did I do? I attached the matching yarn to stripe three (the first undisturbed stripe) and bound off from there. Picking up all of the stitches was a bit of a pain, since the yarn below was a very fuzzy alpaca. Some of the stitches were hiding! But I think I got them all. At least I hope I did.

So, the “new” first row of my blanket isn’t the color I wanted it to be, and to me, it doesn’t look right. But the truth is, the recipient has no idea what I intended so in the end it’s probably ok. So I’m just a little sad, but not as much as I was a couple of days ago! Soon I’ll be able to get back to my regularly scheduled knitting and this whole nasty episode will be behind me.

Pool Knitting

Second sock in progress with ball of yarn attached

This being Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S., I spent a good number of hours knitting by the pool. Chatting with friends, mostly, and getting some knitting done, but I’m enjoying it. I’m on round 14 of 25 rounds of ribbing for this slipper sock, and then I’ll be done with my first ever pair of socks! Yay!

I’ve already got lots of socks lined up for the summer. And some sock monkeys. My kids went through my tub of buttons tonight, picking the eyes for their future monkeys. I guess I’d better get busy!

Monkey Yarn

two hanks of socks that rock yarn, one in shades of brown and the other is red, black, and white

On a happier note, Have y’all seen these? It’s the “Funky Monkey” kit (or pattern) from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I’ve never been one to jump on a knitting bandwagon right away, but we can thank the Yarn Harlot and Ravelry for changing that. When I saw these, I knew I had to make some right away. Put it on my list of things to make at the pool this summer. They offer these kits at the Blue Moon site in all kinds of funky color combos. But I decided that I wanted to make a pretty basic brown with red accents monkey (or something that would recall the sock monkey I grew up with) so that I could knit him all kinds of crazy monkey accessories in a variety of wild sock yarn colors. The colorways I chose for accomplishing a neutral-ish monkey are “Mudslide” for the main color, and “Doctors without Borders” for the mouth, but and tips of arms, legs and tail. I think I’ll stick to the little monkeys for now. I’m betting when my kids see it they’re going to want one.

I also have the stuffing and a container of buttons that I got from Joann’s, so I’m good to go, except for the pipe cleaners, if I want my monkey to have poseable arms, legs, and tail. Which I do. The pipe cleaners are on their way from Klutz. (I was surprised for some reason that I could not get the pipe cleaners at Joann’s. So then I tried a craft store, but could not get an assortment of buttons there. So much for one-stop shopping.)

Today was another lovely spring day by the pool. My kids turned into popsicles in the water and I sat and knitted and listened to “A Good Yarn” by Debbie Macomber. (iTunes Link) It’s a fluffy read, just like the other book, but hey, it’s summer, and I’m just not into straining my brain right now. I’m doing endless rounds of 2×2 rib on my second slipper sock. Maybe it’ll be done by tomorrow.

What’s on my agenda for the rest of the weekend? More pool knitting, and I’ve got a blanket to try and fix.