Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nothing Like A Fresh Cake

I've wound a lot of skeins of yarn in my day, and I get some pretty lopsided, mangy looking messes coming off my swift. More often than not, I find myself untangling yarn that wound too loose and fell into the gears of the winder, or weaving errant ends out of the swift because they've somehow found their way over and under a whole skein and if I try to wind it, they just get tighter and tighter. I can spend an hour untangling a ball of yarn that just didn't agree with the winder or the swift—beautiful yarns that are silky and resilient and wonderfully lofty (you wouldn't think so, the way they behave!). They are as stubborn as I am, so it becomes a battle of patience and time. And you can't let the yarn win.


                                        
This...
                                        
...becomes this
Yarn is beautiful knit up, but I might venture to say it is prettiest in a cake. When you wind yarn the right way, it forms a perfectly squat, cylindrical little cake that is neither too tight or too loose, and absolutely beautiful in its perfection.This can be especially true with multicolored yarns. Sometimes you buy a multicolored yarn that looks beautiful in the hank, then you wind it and it looks even more beautiful in the skein, then when you knit it something goes... wrong. The colors don't line up the way you thought, or they pool together in clumps, or they don't mix as well in the knitting as they did in the skein. I bought yarn that was pink, spring green and light brown that looked absolutely beautiful in the skein, but when I looked up projects on ravelry, I saw socks that had been knit with it and they looked like the stuff that comes out of a baby, and I don't need to tell you which end of the baby (it's both ends).

Not this kind of cake. Though I sometimes wish it were.

So yarn might be at its best in a cake. It still has all the potential for being absolutely anything, and it still looks good. If you liked the color when you bought it, well, it hasn't changed much yet for you to feel differently about it. And a cake of yarn is anything. It's a hat, gloves, scarf, sweater—it hasn't committed to anything yet. It's still just a spark, and there's nothing better than that really. It can't disappoint and it can't be a let down—it's just not possible yet—but it can be everything good you can think of. That's pretty amazing. What is even more amazing is if you start knitting with it and it doesn't turn out like you thought it would, well, you can rip it out and start over. Although, it's never again that perfect cake. You can't wind it back exactly the way it was when it came fresh off the winder.
Like this. 

That's a perfect little cake of yarn, if you weren't sure what a cake of yarn was. It used to be in a big long hank, then it turned into that.
Incidentally, I've already started two different hats with it, neither of which pleased me, and so I ripped them out. I've decided I need to design a hat, but I've never really designed a hat before, not beyond a very basic, ribbing-on-the-bottom-stockinette-in-the-body hat. Like a real design, with design features, maybe a cable? I tried something initially and The Doo told me it looked like something they put on patients who are getting tests on their brain. So of course I had to rip it out.
I'm having one of those weeks where I think I can't design anything and I look at all the young designers on ravelry and get depressed at how great they are, and how seemingly quickly they got where they are, and I wonder why I bothered learning something so late, with no art background and no innate understanding of design or clothing structure. I feel like I can never catch up, and maybe I don't really have anything to offer.
And then I look at my perfectly squat little cake, and feel just a teeny bit better.

Flossie


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