My Virtual Sanity

Have you ever felt the need to share your thoughts with virtual strangers just so you can pretend that you have adult conversations during the day? Well, that's what I'm about to do. Be prepaired for my life as a stay at home, obsessive knitter, and my attempts to stay connected with the rest of the world.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Center Pull ball

I am almost done with my first ball of yarn for Rogue. I could leave all those skeins of pretty blue yarn as skeins. They are not center pull, but entirely functional. After all, I didn't feel the need to roll them all into balls in the few weeks that I've had the yarn. Why should I feel the need to do it now? Well, because I decided I wanted to learn how to use a Nostepinde, and how to make a center pull ball. What the heck is a Nostepinde you ask? Good question!

A nostepinde is a stick! Isn't that a nice description? Well, actually it is a stick designed for center pull balls of yarn. Yes people back in the day who did not have ball winders still wanted to have those nice center pull balls so that they didn't go rolling all over the living room. True this is great entertainment for the cat, but not so great when you have to get up and go figure out where the darn thing has gone. I had never heard of a nostepinde until a few weeks ago when someone from the knittingparent's group mentioned that they had one. I thought it was something like a swift, or that strange contraption that has two ends and a chair leg between them to wind skeins. Then I saw some nostepindes for sale on Ebay. They just looked like pretty sticks to me, with nice pretty turned grooves in them. That's nothing like what I was imagining. So, I did a google search and found this instruction on how to use one. I looked at it and figured that you could probably use just about anything as a nostepinde, so here is a picture of mine. Yes! You're right! That is a marker! Yes, I did say that a nostepinde is a stick, but hey, I don't have a pretty stick with hand turned grooves. I have a marker.

I sat down tonight to try to wind myself a pretty ball of yarn, and this is what I got. To start with, take a nice tail and hold it in the palm of your hand while you hold your chosen stick (you may pick any color marker you prefer, in fact, it doesn't even have to be a marker!). Wind it evenly side by side around the stick for about 1 1/2 inches. Now comes the ugly looking part. Wind the yarn down from the top to the bottom diagonally. It won't want to do this, but make it anyway. Wind the yarn back up to the top diagonally lying it as best you can next to the previous line of yarn. It will look ugly, but this is in the center of the ball, and no one will ever see it. Continue to force it to go round and round in a diagonal until you have sloppy lines going all the way around your stick. Let it wad up in the middle a bit, it's ok. Now just continue to wind it diagonally around and around, each time lying the yarn down next to the previous one. It doesn't have to be perfect. If you would like your ball to look more like a cake than a football, do not wind it right up next to the stick once you have established a nicely forming ball. Wind it closer to the edges. This will allow your pretty little ball to sit flat on the floor or the table, rather than laying on it's side. Even if it is a football, though, it still won't roll, because you are pulling yarn from the center! Isn't that nice?

Here is my pretty ball of yarn. Now you may be asking why do we even wind yarn into balls in the first place?! Or even, why doesn't the company wind it into balls for us on those expensive ball winders that I'm too cheap/poor to buy (thus why I'm winding a ball of yarn on a marker...)? Well, there are a few reasons why we like center pull balls versus skeins:
  1. No tangles. Skeins have a horrible habit of getting a tangle or knot somewhere in there.
  2. Center pull balls do not roll around. Skeins that are not centerpull still roll around, and have a nasty habit of twisting your yarn all around. Ones that are centerpull have a nasty tendency towards tangles
  3. You can work from both ends of the yarn at once. One from the inside of the ball, one from the outside. This is particularly nice if you are making 2 pairs of socks from the same skein and want to make sure you have enough yarn for both socks.
So, if center pull balls are so nice, and companies have to wind the yarn into skeins anyway, why don't they just wind it into balls? This is just my own opinion, but I think the main reason is that yarn looks prettier in skeins or hanks. Once it's all wound into a ball, it doesn't show off the variegation, or the texture nearly as nicely. Secondly, skeins and hanks allow the yarn to relax into it's natural state. Even the loosest balls tend to stretch the yarn a bit, and wool in particular likes to revert back to nature once it has been washed. This means your clothes will shrink... not good.

Now I really should have been knitting instead of winding a ball, or even blabbing about it on the internet, but who's worrying about finishing a man sized sweater in 16 days anyway?


Blogger Thorny said...

Hi! Just met you on Knitting Parents!

I love your Nostepinde! Mine is a wooden spoon with a hole in the handle! Works great, and /much/ cheaper than a ball winder!

10:50 AM  

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