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Monday, November 28, 2011

It's therapeutic, really.

I'm a passionate knitter.  By passionate, I mean that I feel my way through knitting, that I'm personally, deeply involved in my knitting.  When things go well, I'm deliriously happy.  I've been known to point enthusiastically at other people in public (like for instance, the Durham Museum of Life and Science...ahem) when they correctly guess I'm knitting with Noro sock yarn.  By the way, whoever that was, I'm sorry I freaked you out.  Also, an apology to my friend Liz who was a tragic bystander to that moment.  I probably shouldn't have jumped up and down at the same time as pointing.  I just really really REALLY like knitting.  I get really really passionate about it. 

This is soooo going to be a part of my retirement plan.  Just don't tell my mother.

I also get really passionately disappointed when certain things about knitting do not go my way.  When my stitches don't count out correctly, as in lace knitting.  Or when I forget to double check my cast on stitches and end up knitting a foot long arm warmer that is tighter than its mate.  Frogging 12 inches of knitting tends to make my blood pressure go up, and I start feeling like perhaps I may morph into the Hulk. 

"Don't make me really wouldn't like me angry."

So think of this little story I'm about to tell you as a sort of PSA.  If you struggle with these feelings like I do, take heart.  Read on.

I love some of the tools that come with the knitting territory.  Specifically, I adore my yarn swift and yarn winder.  Maybe I'm easily entertained, but it just makes my day to bust those two things out and use them.  Something about the twirling of yarn (hey, it's dancing!!) and winding it from a pretty skein into a manageable little cake of yarn that beckons to the excitement of casting on for a new project, or serious progress being made about a larger project, it feels like its own achievement to wind a few hundred yards into a nice little compact ball. 

I had bought a wooden swift and a yarn winder a while back.  The swift is a beautiful, fantastic tool.  I highly recommend buying one for yourself or the special knitter in your life.  The yarn winder is also a valuable tool.  You don't necessarily need a swift for a yarn winder, but if you just have a swift, well, that's like having a bowl of soup with no spoon.  The winder is the spoon that makes it all so much easier. 

This ball winder just looked like a winder.  In fact, it was a smarmy little punk of a winder that had a soul full of clothes moths and porcupines.  It loved to eat yarn.  It started out so innocently.  It wound the first five or so balls perfectly.  Then we had a hiccup.  A ball of worsted didn't come out with that uniform drum look to the skein.  It was rather bell shaped...upside down bell shaped.  It was still workable, so I shrugged it off.

My friend came over one day and asked to borrow the yarn winder to wind up some laceweight.  We set it up, and I manned the crank, happy to see hundreds of yards of yarn get wound up without having to use our arms or feet or a chair for winding.  Immediately it all hit the fan.  It was as if we had boiled up eighteen boxes of angel hair pasta and then threw a stick of dynamite into the mix.  Yarn everywhere.  It was a veritable rat's nest.  It even looped under the holder and fouled up the gears of the yarn winder.  I began to feel angry.  Why the &$%@ would you even have exposed gears on a yarn winder?!?  We had several more gray hairs by the time we rescued every blessed yard of laceweight from the rabid yarn winder.  It went into quarantine on the shelf while I questioned myself about whether or not I broke the winder. 

'How could I break it by just turning the handle?' I asked myself.  'Well, you are you,' I answered.  'If anyone could do that, it'd be you.' 

I tried taking it out and winding other yarns, but we never got back to a workably wound ball of yarn.  I took it apart, blew any lint out of it, put it back together.  I tried going slow.  I tried going fast.  I told myself I just wasn't going to get that mad about yarn, for cripes' sake.  I mentioned pitching the yarn winder in the trash, but my friend said she wanted it, that perhaps she could make it work.

Time passed, but the simmering resentment of having a tool that mangled yarn smirking at me from the bookshelf ate at me, I confess.  Perhaps I hadn't been getting enough sleep.  Maybe too much coffee.  I am still at a loss to explain my actions.

One day we hit critical mass.  I pulled it out, told myself I would try again.  I wound two skeins of worsted and it looked just about normal.  I felt like we had made it through our rough patch.  I pulled out some fingering weight, and all h-e-double-hockey-sticks broke loose.  I tried to handle it like an adult.  I did some muttering, pulled the winder apart some more, tweaked cogs and various thingies.  My husband and son retreated upstairs when certain language made an appearance.  I tried to wind one. last. time. 

It chewed it up.  It broke the yarn.

I flipped the frak out.



I came back to myself.  I was sitting on the kitchen floor, bashing the yarn winder, swinging it by its handle into the floor.  I was muttering something about it needing to look as broken as it was behaving.  I could hear Steve telling my son to wait a few minutes before going back downstairs.  Andy asked why.  Steve said (and I quote), "Because Mommy is really mad at her yarn winder right now."


In the middle of what I guess must have been a rage blackout, I heard that and started laughing.  I got up, pitched the little schmuck into the garbage, and went on my merry way.  A wiser knitter (one would hope).  My husband, who somehow loves me in spite of myself, made sure to get me a proper yarn winder from Yarns Etc. for Christmas that year. 

I haven't had a lick of trouble from that one.

I believe that a knitter is only as good as the tools he or she has.  I believe that a knitter should use the best yarn she can (sort of) afford.  I believe that it's OK if my knitting has me seeing red, maybe even crying a little bit.  Or cussing.  Because even though knitting can be very satisfying, fulfilling, and meditative, it can also be quite dramatic.  There can be cliffhangers, tragedies, obsession, love, and hate.  If you've ever felt anything like I felt the day I bashed a yarn winder, know that you're not alone.

However, if no one out there has ever felt that, please don't tell me.  Please also do not send the men in white coats to my house, either.

I'm much better now.  Honest.


A Southern's adventure in Providence said...

I can totally imagine you flipping out over the yarn. I also think you definitely need the tattoo.

NTDeej said...

LMAO I'm pretty certain that old winder was possessed by evil spirits. So glad you exorcised them before throwing it away. : )

Kiki Vee said...

So funny. And I can sooo relate! Knitting can be a high drama affair - that's why it's so great!

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