Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hand-winding, and further lessons in gauge

 

I've been knitting socks, here and there, loving--again--the plain, orderliness of the simple rounds of stockinette. I made these last week, and then, when they were finished, I laid them together, in a pair, as I always do. That moment of satisfaction, ahhh, a pair of socks...and then I noticed something. Do you notice it, too?

They are not the same size as each other. At all. This is Gauge In Action, people. These two socks were knit from identical balls of yarn (Patons Kroy, colorway "Cadet") on the same pair of needles, using the same number of stitches, and the same number of rows, within the span of a few days. Still, the second sock is smaller, in all directions. Just when I think I have a thing pretty well figured out, whammo. A pair of socks will still do this to me. Part of me wants to blame the news--like everyone, the terrible events of last week left me feeling anxious and sad, something that can certainly affect your gauge. Like many who love handwork, I knit for solace in times of distress, and sometimes, you can see it in the result.

Things to know about me: I do not like to wind yarn. I have been known, and I'm not even exaggerating, to choose a project fully based on which yarn is already wound. I love it when yarn comes in a ball, and while skeins of yarn are pretty, I always dread them a little bit. All the winding, ugh. My swift and ball-winder, gifted to me years ago by my lovely Doc, are wonderful tools and are in great working order, but I hate getting them out of the cupboard, strapping them to the one table where they will fit, hunkering over them and getting a backache (the table is short) and making all that racket--I'd rather be knitting! Thus, mostly inspired by YouTube videos of people doing this, (here's one, oooh, her accent is so lovely) I have been attempting to hand-wind center-pull balls, with--since I as yet have no nostepinne--my thumb. [Side note to Doc: Please make me a nostepinne?] I keep getting that bit of blurf at the top, and it looks pretty raggedy, but ha! The yarn pulls from the center, and it can be done while sitting on the porch, which right now is my criteria for whether I will do anything. Can I do it while sitting on the porch? Yes? Then I will do it. Otherwise, it'll have to wait until fall.

Malabrigo Worsted, in colorway "Grinch"--er, I mean, "Lettuce". Believe it or not, I'm making this into a sweater.

19 comments:

  1. I really dislike how yarn cakes look. As to centre yarn pulling, that was always completely unknown to me in the UK before Ravelry. I have still yet to use one, buy one or make one myself. Most of my yarn comes ready for use, not in a skein, not in a ball or cake but I don't know what it is called. You use the yarn from the outside working in and it's standard over here in the UK.

    When I do work from a skein, then I hand wind it the way my Mother and Granny did, either with someone to hold out the skein in their arms or wrapped around my knees or around the back of a chair. And then I simply wind it up until I get a ball. The kind that you see in vintage pictures of cats playing with a ball of yarn. That does me, its free flowing and pretty and I have no difficulty with knitting or crocheting with it.

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  2. You can make a very good center pull ball of yarn using the cardboard core of paper towels. Cut down half an inch and attach your yarn, then wind around for a while to get it going, then move the yarn as you go around to go up and down and create shoulders. Works great and I used this method for many years - looping my skein of yarn over the back of a chair to keep it straight. I have a swift and winder now, and have been leaving them up in my sewing room lately (winding large balls/skeins of sock yarn into two equal balls so I can match stripes, only like self-striping yarn!). I saw this online somewhere years ago, it was a man's knitting blog, you should be able to find it if you Google.

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  3. Ooh, I have a great thing you can use for making center pull balls - a crochet hook! I use the hooks that I make with the decorative handles, secure the yarn on the hook end with a slip stitch, and wind the yarn around the handle end. Works like a charm. And, of course, you don't need my fancy hooks - any old hook with a handle works fine.

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  4. this is the reason i cant knit socks, i once thought it wa a bright idea to knit 10 then try to pair them, well i got 3 pairs and 4 mutants

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  5. This post is so interesting because I had no idea you could get two different sizes using the same needles and same pattern! I too have a swift and winder and sometimes hand wind for your same reasons. Enjoy knitting on your porch while the weather is good.

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  6. Before I got my ball winder, I often hand-wound skeins of yarn into cakes using the handle of a wooden spoon.

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  7. like your header photo,my kind of stuff.

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  8. Don't you just hate it when that happens. I have had an issue with a scarf that has gone wider has it has got longer, I have had to pull most of it back.

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  9. That has happened to me before, usually when I'm stressed out. Ever since then, I make sure to compare the socks periodically as I'm working on the second one. It does seem to help. I was given a swift for Mother's Day this year and have had a ball winder for awhile. I'm still not sure which I prefer, pull out skeins, center pull balls, or the traditional balls with the end on the outside. I like all of them!
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  10. In New Zealand most wool is in balls which makes life a lot easier. However two years ago I bought a great two-tone 10 ply in three skeins to knit a scarf. these were very expensive imported skeins. My friend is still waiting for the scarf. I decided to quickly wind the first skein. I didn't have a good chair back or small patient child with outstretched arms at hand and i made a right old mess of it. It got worse the more I tugged to untangled it. I have put the mess and the skeins in a cupboard now. I am such a coward I will never tackle skeins again.

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  11. I thought I wanted a swifter/winder just because it looked like fun to me...now I want to make yarn cakes this way instead

    how very clever...thanks for sharing it!

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  12. And that is why I take my swift and ball winder out when I have company, or go to my fiber group, or go visit my folks. I am preoccupied with visiting while winding my yarn and it gets done in a hurry. I do a bunch all at the same time...then there are all those lovely cakes/balls just waiting for my next project!

    PS: I, too, have frogged a pair or two of socks because of gauge differences. So very, very sad. Love your blue colorway!

    Debbie, No. California

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  13. I have one of those nostepinnes.....it sits in a drawer while I use my thumb, lol! All of my yarn gets wound into a ball. Can't stand trying to work from a skein. Tried center pull balls but I find that I prefer the old fashioned balls with the working yarn on the outside.....makes it easier to rewind if I have to Frog something. I frog quite a bit! I thought I wanted a swift and a ball winder but decided that I was to lazy to take them out, set them up and take them apart and put them away when I was finished winding. So I wind yarn into balls by hand while watching TV or visiting with company or while in the car on trips. A bonus to using your thumb as opposed to a nostepinne is that it's awfully hard to misplace your thumb!

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  14. I have one of those nostepinnes.....it sits in a drawer while I use my thumb, lol! All of my yarn gets wound into a ball. Can't stand trying to work from a skein. Tried center pull balls but I find that I prefer the old fashioned balls with the working yarn on the outside.....makes it easier to rewind if I have to Frog something. I frog quite a bit! I thought I wanted a swift and a ball winder but decided that I was to lazy to take them out, set them up and take them apart and put them away when I was finished winding. So I wind yarn into balls by hand while watching TV or visiting with company or while in the car on trips. A bonus to using your thumb as opposed to a nostepinne is that it's awfully hard to misplace your thumb!

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  15. Kristen, I also use the "thumb" wind from the center outward method. I have a swift, but usually find it quicker just to sling the loop of skein over the back of a chair...or actually loop it over my knees. (Can you picture that?)

    Sorry about you gauge differing on the socks. I would definitely pinpoint recent news (still swirling) as a culprit.

    xo

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  16. I wouldn't want to eat their lettuce! I was thinking more mustard? I am not a fan of wool winding either, I have to get children involved and then they argue about who is going to help their talented knitting mother (joke)!! It all seems a bit like wasting knitting time to me.

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  17. The winder always seems so tight - I hear my yarn gasping! Also, I like to self-wind - it puts me in touch with the next project, from the git-go. There is something so satisfying, so organic, about shaping one's own little ball. I love the color of the malabrigo. You can never go wrong with that yarn!
    If I were your neighbor and I saw you parked on the porch happily knitting, I'd probably drop whatever I was doing and sit on my porch too! That is my favorite place to knit or quilt.

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  18. My best friend in high school had 'mono' one summer. It was the loosest knitting she ever did. (Gauge)
    I have been known to use a pencil to wrap a center pull ball when I didn't have a nostepinne or even a piece of wood dowel handy. I've the swift and ball winder, but sometimes it is just nice to sit and do it totally by hand. :) Helen

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