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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Having a Ball

That skein we made, measuring the yarn?  We could go ahead and knit with it, hanging it over a forearm or a shoulder.  I've done that.  But though doable, it's not as tuck-in-your-tote-and-go portable as a ball.

Balling yarn is so companionable, if you have someone to hold the skein as you wind.  If that someone has a dancer's instincts, it's better.  Left hand dip, right hand dip, thumb restrain, thumb release:  you know the rhythm.  Hard to teach someone, though, if it's not intuitive.

Hubbest doesn't dance.  He doesn't do too well with skeins, either.  Less frustrating to just drape it over my knee and wind away.  Fortunately, the distance around my bent knee is nicely equivalent to the distance between my thumb and crooked elbow.  The skein fits fine, and I can tension or relax it by repositioning my foot.

And so I wind away, always remembering my mom's admonition:  never wind your wool too tight--it's not a baseball.

I begin with about twenty passes over my four right fingers.  Then I remove that loose, long wad from my fingers and hold it at the finger end of my palm, making another twenty passes over it crosswise.  That wad, in turn, gets removed from my fingers, turned forty-five degrees, and another twenty passes over it.

That's the base.  Loose and fluffy.  Now here's where I've developed my own little twist.

I keep my thumb on that wad and as I wind with my left hand, I use my right fingers to inch the wad slowly clockwise, each time bringing the yarn up to and touching that thumb.  My thumb becomes a post around which the ball grows (loosely, always loosely--it's not a baseball), and my fingers keep inching the ball around, around, sideways a little...if you try it, you'll see where the inching needs to go next.

When I'm finished, I have a nice symmetrical ball, evenly wound in all dimensions, with a nice little hole in one side.  The perfect place to tuck the tail end of the skein.

There.  You're done.

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