Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My yarn nightmare

I am a tangler. There is no way around it. When I wind my yarn from a hank to a ball, it tangles. When I try to knit with more than one ball of yarn at a time, it tangles (don't ask how this has affected my two-socks-at-once habit). I especially tangle when I get a bug up my butt about something that many people would just ignore (stripy matchyness, for example). Still, I press on, hoping that next time will be different. Sigh.

Here is a little taste of my ridiculousness,

Last week at my knitting group, I sat happily knitting my Pomatomus socks:

(aren't they pretty? Fleece Artist Sea Wool, colourway unknown but gorgeous).

I start to notice that the yarn is being annoyingly splitty. It seems that the two plies of the yarn were coming un-twisted. It was kinking the yarn, making knitting with it a rather frustrating experience.

(Please note, I in no way hold the yarn itself responsible for what happened here. This was one skein that I split into two nearly equal balls, so that I could knit the two socks at once. That was a yarn disaster in itself, but it ended with two neatly wound balls. However, I can't rule out the possibility that the winding and re-winding of the balls may have been responsible for this.)

With the support and advice of many of my knitting group friends, I tried spinning the ball, twisting the ball, dangling the ball over the railing- all of this did nothing to correct the twist of the plies, nor did it do anything to stay my ever-increasing frustration:

As we wrapped up for the night, it became clear that this yarn was not going to respond to gentler encouragement. It was time to get tough with it:

It should have been easy. Cut out the offending section of yarn (really only a few inches) re-wind the rest of the ball, checking carefully for more twisty bits, and re-join to the sock. No big deal.

Until at some point during the winding, I was momentarily distracted, and my yarn snagged, and the partially-wound ball went flying off the winder in a great lump:

Once again, this shouldn't have posed a serious problem. I should have just collected myself, and very slowly, cautiously and gently pulled apart the tangled mess. Indeed, that is what I intended to do. But it was like some cruel Sisyphean torture- the more I untangled, the tighter the remaining tangles would get.

Understand that my children were asleep, and my husband was out for the evening. If there had been another human awake with me in the house, I hope they would've been able to extricate me from this mess before things got worse.

Two hours later, I found myself stuck with this:

This is the point where it stopped being funny. This is also the point where I stopped taking pictures.

Long story short (too late, I know), I got the yarn down to about 3 knots that were determined to be permanent. Another encounter with the scissors, and a few (very, very careful) winding sessions later, and I had an un-twisty, un-tangly (if slightly shorter) ball of yarn.

In retrospect, I don't really think it was worth the effort. If I ever think about doing something like this again, somebody smack me, okay?