and the sky is grey

Yeah, yeah, as the tremendously astute Rachel H. noted yesterday, I totally blew the deadline on these socks. They should have been done on Sunday, and on Sunday, I was still deep in the depths of book-work, only coming up for (as Inky called it in the comments…) “some fine looking OCD”. It’s ok though, because the recipient didn’t turn up on Sunday to collect them, so I was granted a reprieve and didn’t even have to beg for it. (I’ll admit, I’d like to see this last of the Christmas presents out the door before February, so I’m not slowing down.)

Sure, the leaves were sort of a fetish knitting item, and sure, I can see how many of you think it was nuttier than Aunt Mary’s walnut bars, and I know a lot of you are shaking your heads sadly my decline in to wee knitty maddness…and more still are wondering how you get 34 leaves on a single pair of socks and have that work out. (It’s going to be grand. Open your mind.)

I have to say though, from where I sit, those little leaves were a lot more interesting than the plain stockinette on the second foot of the socks they will adorn. I’m up to the embossed grape panel again, so things have picked up in interest, which is excellent, because all of this was really starting to get to me.

When I feel ennui with my knitting, whether because of project monogamy (not my natural state), a plain bit or a forced march, I try to suck it up. (Usually. Stop that laughing.) I keep knitting, I finish the thing, I carry on, and I will this time too…but when I’m done with something and it’s not done with me, I do a little something that makes me feel better. Something that speaks to the future. When I really can’t stand it anymore?


I wind sock yarn.


I don’t knit it, I just wind it.


(C’mon. I bet you do it to. Just a little winding to take the edge off? You know you wanna….)

PS Finalists are up in the Canadian blog awards, and there I am, proud and pleased as punch. (I’m in Best blog, and Best Activities Blog. Vote your conscience (you don’t need to be Canadian), should it please you, and thanks a whole bunch if ya do. Deadline is tomorrow I think. )

PPS. Rick Mercer is up for Best Celebrity Blog. While I don’t know Rick personally (and frankly I think he could step it up in the blog department a little bit ) and we are not friends in our waking lives, while I sleep – Rick and I are apparently the best of friends. (Get your minds out of the gutter. It’s not like that between me and Rick.) There was the time that he rescued me when I got myself chained up in the coffee shop…. and then there was my most recent dream. Justin Trudeau and I were contestants on a reality television show, and we were going to live in this house that had been decorated just for us, and Rick Mercer was the host and he was going to live there too, and the three of us were standing around in this open concept nightmare of an architectural oddity, talking about how entirely transparent the decorating scheme was. There was roses and fleur de lis on the fabrics everywhere and we all just about bust a gut laughing because it was just such a transparent and stupid way to suck up to Justin, and then I woke up… and I realized that I totally need to watch less CBC and read less Can-lit, because dudes, isn’t that the most Canadian dream ever? Anyway. I figured that I should mention that Rick was up for a vote, because he must be good if he can even entertain my sleeping subconscious. Carry on.

171 thoughts on “and the sky is grey

  1. I admit to the winding without knitting sock yarn thing too and it does make you feel better.

  2. Yes! Winding sock yarn! It is so theraputic, it holds such promise of great knitting yet to come. Sort of like reading stitch dictionaries, but way more mindless.

  3. I guess it’s a swift + winder thing – since I use brute force, my desk chair, and a paper towel roll to wind up my sock yarn it’s more of an “as needed” thing. Your yarn is mightry pretty, though. My edge comes off by knitting up teeny baby socks from my leftover sock yarn.

  4. I love winding yarn! It’s so hypnotic! That lovely spinning motion while you just stare into space and dream about knitting it into something gorgeous…mmmm… (and it beats my current daydream, in which I try to knit like your nutty friend from Sweden who didn’t wind her yarn at all…I keep thinking ‘I could do that’ and the resultant pile of yarn barf that is almost a lock is not the tiniest little deterrent…)

  5. I really need to get a ball winder. We have an ‘office swift’ at work, but haven’t gotten around to getting the ball winder yet. At the moment, my husband is my swift. He’s not nearly as good at it.

  6. HA! All the leaves are gone (all the leaves are gone) and the sky is grey (and the sky is grey).
    I GOT IT!!
    That song has been running through my head for weeks because dude, it’s January in New England. The sky IS grey. I’m California dreamin’ too.

  7. You know what? As long as there are ungifted Christmas presents still out there I don’t feel quite as bad about not having my thank you cards done yet.

  8. I *want* to wind sock yarn (or other yummy yarn) to take the edge off, but that’s a slippery slope for me. After the yarn is wound, I’ll want to cast on, you know, just to knit a gauge swatch. Before you know it, the current project is set aside and I’m working full tilt on the next project. Until I get to the part where I need to take the edge off. And that, dear Harlot, is how the UFO basket was filled to overflowing.

  9. Yay for the yarn winder! But, O Harlot (and commenters), I have a newbie question about all this luscious hand-dyed yarn: how do you find the end? Is there a trick? I’m used to working with the mass-produced stuff, but I purchased some really gorgeous, irresistible yarn on eBay (from several different small companies) and I’m feeling pretty stupid and frustrated because I can’t find a single end.

  10. Winding any yarn, really!
    Or look in knitting books, and maybe knit a swatch of something that is not going to be anything. Just testing a pattern.

  11. Yeah, I think I’d have wound off quite a bit of yarn in the past couple of months if David hadn’t taken the swift and ball winder off to his warehouse.

  12. Yes, I totally wind yarn to unwind myself. No actual knitting/thought/challenge required.
    And yes, that is a very Canadian dream–only hockey and beer are missing I think.

  13. I haven’t done it, but after the morning I had, I think I may try it.
    I have to ask, which flavors of sock yarn are we being treated to in that final picture? especially the blue-green-yellow?
    I also have to laugh at turtlegirl76 – my cat loves to stare at the swift – but I always intervene before she takes one in the nose…maybe I should let her and see if that teaches her…maybe not if your cat is any indication?

  14. I don’t wind my yarn, since a) I don’t have a ball winder, and b) it leads to casting on. I do however like to open my sock yarn bin, rummage around, sort it by color, or just pet it for a while.

  15. I love how winding yarn is such a good way of unwinding oneself – it must be something about the symmetry.
    What’s the bright, pretty variegated one on top of the stack? It looks like fun.

  16. Oh, yes, I’ll wind yarn just for the fun of it. It definitely takes the edge off. Doesn’t have to be sock yarn, though sock yarn sure is good for winding. I had a dream about you the other night. You fully busted me taking a nap on your couch. I was terribly embarrassed but you were very sweet. You gave me a hug, brought me a hand knit blanket and told me I could continue napping. The dream made me laugh because, dude, how tired are you when you *dream* about *napping*?!?

  17. The Bug is a fan of the yarn winding. Recently he learned that he too can wind yarn, and Mama only stops him when he switches directions mid-cake. He hears me winding and comes running in shouting, “Round and round!”
    (Fortunately he is too little to reach any of the yarn bins or fit a skein on the swift or we might have a problem.)

  18. I LOVE to wind yarn……..any yarn!! My daughter loves to do it, too, so I have to wait until she goes to bed so I can do it!
    I really enjoy you!

  19. Oh how I wish I had a ball winder! I’m sure it would keep me entertained for a long, long time…
    Lovely sock yarn, by the way!

  20. Ditto on the yarn ID request, but for the many-colored, top-of-the-pyramid-in-the-last-photo one. (OK, enough hyphens already.) It’s beautiful. Must. Have. It.

  21. I wind anything I can. Even winding laceweight skeins of yarn, as long as there are colors I’m okay. I’m easily distracted by pretty colors.
    As far as knitting things to get the edge off, I’ve had sweater projects but ilm finishing Knucks (knitty pattern) and hats quicker than anything. I think it’s the knitting St st in the rnd that gets me calm. (Omigosh I just used pattern code in a real sentence. Where’d that pot of coffee go?)

  22. This is some very odd parallel at work here because I decided to wind yarn today, too. In my own spastic way since I don’t have a ball-winder. Unfortunately, my husband isn’t commuting to New York this week so he was here. With a camera.
    PS: Although I will say that it looks like you and I have some of the same yarn! Your ball of it looks a lot better than mine.

  23. Yes! Yes! I, too, am a yarn fondler. Especially while in the midst of a long, tedious project. I have 6 more inches to go on the sleeve of a sweater I should have had done last August (my mother is a patient woman, I’ve only frogged and restarted it 6 times, including a total pattern and yarn change) and I keep finding myself drawn to other projects. In fact, I have them lined up here under the coffee table in baskets– patterns, yarn, needles– each in its own basket. So I can look at them while knitting the last 6 !@#$!@ inches of this sleeve. (Once it’s done and only needs to be blocked and buttons sewn on, I’ll love it again… but right now it’s what my kids call a swearword sweater.)

  24. Hey, you should know by now that you’re not allowed to post pictures of yarn without saying what it is. I mean really πŸ™‚ Especially that gorgeous rainbowy stuff (looks like Fire on the Mountain maybe?)

  25. I also wind – a kind of meditation/deep thought process when I’ve hit a snag in my current project and I just need to think a bit. I know my swift creaks and groans but that sound adds to the hypnotic effect.
    Ahh, looove looove looove Rick. My goal in life is to talk like him (or at least be able to say ‘car’). At first I didn’t get the ‘rose’ reference. Duh! My excuse is the fact that I woke up to -40 this morning.

  26. My swift is not nearly as nice as your swift. Mine is antique and belonged to my grandmother. Well, it is beyond me how she used the dumb thing because everytime I try it topples over. So when I wind I just use my feet propped up on the recliner… most of the time, as long as there isn’t some kiddo crisis that requires me getting up. But I try to wind when they are sleeping.

  27. What?! No hockey? Definitely not Canadian enough.
    I’m trying to get a shawl done so I can start in on last year’s Christmas cards.
    (Were you at least humming the hockey song?)

  28. I love winding so much that, when I got my ball winder and swift, I wound *everything* in my stash at that time. I even wound acrylic that didn’t *need* to be wound.
    I love winding.
    WWA – wool winders anonymous

  29. Actually, my ball winder has been taking a rest (every time I go to use it, the kittens sabotage my attempts!), and I’ve been trying Denny’s (?) technique of knitting directly from an unwound skein, just having the yarn looped around my knees. Was it Denny or someone else? You have pictures here somewhere…

  30. That’s odd how can Rick Mercer be your secret best friend and mine too. He has the best job on television.

  31. Winding sock yarn….of course;)
    BTW— that’s not JUST sock yarn— it’s fantabulous gorgeousness sock yarn… be careful– the pink is really really pretty… and the rainbowish one— totally need that here in very grey Michigan…. I may need to don a squirrel suit and steal some yarn…
    (I would be the huge, fat bottomed squirrel wearing handknits and eating chocolate instead of nuts on your patio… beware;) )

  32. I love winding yarn too! Especially since I just got a swift for Christmas and don’t have to hold it on my feet anymore! =)

  33. I must complement you on the first photo in this post, which evokes William Eggleston’s best and is, I think, actually a good bit better.

  34. Not so long ago I would have thought you (just a bit) crazy for enjoying winding yarn … but I received both a swift and a ball winder for Christmas … and I now totally get it!
    Wish I had dreams about yummy guys like Justin Trudeau. The only “personality” I ever dreamed about is Bill Gates! My only excuse for this dream is that I was in the throes of moving from WordPerfect to MS Word (a devastating experience). I was riding in a limousine with Bill, debating the finer points of word processing programs!

  35. As one project polyamorist to another, I seriously considered a “no new projects until an old one is completed” resolution. But I got into a post-holiday-not-close-enough-to-spring funk, so I started a really pretty scarf (Grumperina’s “Shifting Sands” pattern–it works beautifully with variegated yarn) in a beautiful spring-colors sportweight … maybe next time I’ll try your winding-but-not-casting-on method instead. And then maybe I’ll finish something in the same year that I start it.

  36. Forgot to ask … *all* the leaves aren’t brown are they? Aren’t some of them green? (Or perhaps I need to adjust my monitor … )

  37. OOH! Is that red & multi coloured yarn Colinette Jitterbug? I loved working with that yarn, and the colours were a great cure for the winter blehs!

  38. I’m SO glad to know that I’m not some abnormal freak that LOVES to wind yarn. I’m disappointed if it gets to me already wound! Maybe we need a support group or something…

  39. I had a dream about Margaret Trudeau last week – and it’s been many years since I lived in the true north strong and free. Maybe there is some subconscious Canadian Content law.

  40. Gee, I have the same kind of swift as the YH! I love winding, but tend ot do it only when about to start something; based on other comments,that’s a GOOD thing, I would SO be one of those “gotta start it now” peeps. Because I don’t spin (YET, I hear my friend Elizabeth saying) I love the graceful, hypnotic, melodic whirr of the swift too. I think the husband raised 1.5 eyebrows when he drove me up north to buy the swift, but he’s the satisfaction of seeing something that I “DO really use!”. I think a lot of knitting is the magnificent tactile and visual sensations that go with every aspect: the sound of the needles, the lovely little cakes o’ goodness, the satisfaction…oh, and Project Monogamy! THANK YOU for the term! Yep, that’s what I have – sounds so much more respectable than trapped-knitting-the-same-thing-over-and-over-and-over-ness.

  41. if we *really* enjoy reading your blog both at home and at work, is it so horribly wrong to vote for you from both computers. πŸ˜‰

  42. if we *really* enjoy reading your blog both at work and at home, is it so horribly wrong to vote for you from both computers. πŸ˜‰

  43. Winding yarn? To release stress? I wind because my son gave me a gorgeous swift for Christmas a couple of years ago, but I do not love to wind yarn. Any yarn. But you have inspired me to finish winding the yarn I need to finish one of the multiplicity of projects I currently have going. But for fun? to relieve stress? I just don’t get it.

  44. I don’t have a ballwinder/swift so winding yarn is kinda a hassle most of the time. It is nice to escape the actual process of knitting with needles, but stay connected with the yarn.

  45. OMG!!! You gave me flashbacks with “and the sky is grey”. Now I can’t stop singing. And you made me jealous that I don’t have swift and winder. I could use some unwinding help, too! I have to say, though, that after years of winding my own, they look kind of like your pretty cakes, but they don’t always unwind so smoothly. Can’t wait to see the finished socks. That was a heck of a line-up of leaves yesterday.

  46. And never will be “that way” between you and Rick Mercer, from what I hear. Unless you change your name to Steve.
    Did you steal my ball winder? I can’t find mine.

  47. Yea, I do it.
    And today I bought more yarn, but left most of it in the store (on layaway) and let them wind a couple…it was only a couple; I’ve got more at home should I need to wind some to fill the hours. ;o)

  48. Roses AND fleur de lys for moving in with PET’s son – nice touch. Love your blog, love your unabashed Canadian focus.

  49. Everytime I watch the Rick Mercer Report now I think of you.
    And I could dream of Justin Trudeau – he’s kinda cute – in a really smart, liberal sort of way (that’s probably what makes him cute to me…)

  50. Our hostess for our knitting group has a ball winder and swift, so the rest of us save our yarn to take to her house, where we whirl it up into those lovely, cushy cakes. There is always a bit of a quiet interlude when the last one is done.
    Remember getting a lollipop after being good at the doctor’s office? I’ve found a knitter’s substitute. After going to the hospital for a test yesterday, I drove straight to our LYS and got some sock yarn to bring home. Made me smile the rest of the day! (And no calories. Like I’d worry about that anyway.)
    ~ Dar

  51. I love my swift. So does my daughter. Still waiting for my back ordered ball winder, though … I just switch from project to project to take the edge off. Another inch on the sleeve of the Perpetual Manos, yay me!

  52. Sometimes I frog *and* wind yarn. Shifts the gears nicely for another bout of “ongoing project.”
    and on the posters’ comments about letting a cat get hit in the face by an irresistible spinning swift? kinda harsh, dude. What if that happened when *you* reach for yarn you know *you* can’t have? πŸ˜‰

  53. Dude, fleur de lis and roses aside, living in a house with Justin Trudeau and Rick Mercer would be a dream come true!
    You three would be the kookiest roommates EVER! OMG, that would be a reality tv show worth watching. Politics and yarn. Seriously, dude. Best. TV. EVER.

  54. When the yarn store beauties ask me if they could wind my yarn purchase for me I just stare at them in wonder. Why would I want that? What would I do at home when I just want to touch yarn, but not knit?

  55. Well, winding USED to be fun/relaxing until I started trying to do it with a two year old, a four year old and two kittens “helping” me. Now it’s an extreme challenge. πŸ™‚ Kids reverse the ballwinder, completely screwing up the swift, and the cats just go after anything that moves (including the two and four year olds) and it’s complete anarchy. Someday though…..I hope it is a relaxing exercise once again……

  56. I’m sorry – i really hate those socks. But – I love the leaves – just not crowded on top of socks where they won’t show anyway. Carry on – – -!!!

  57. I thought the ball winding thrill was because I just got a winder and it’s all new to me. How exciting that it will still do that when the novelty wears off.
    I keep thinking that I should put a little leaf knitting kit together. And maybe keep it in my briefcase. Then if I have a few minutes at work or really just have startitis, I can knit a leaf. Someday, I’ll have enough to justify starting the socks.

  58. Oh, I can so understand the winding of sock yarn to break up a project. Just Sunday I was finishing my non-Noro Noro striped scarf, preparing to knit boring boy socks (navy blue, k2p2 rib, mens 9.5 shoe size) I rewarded myself with winding a skein of Noro sock yarn. I told the future owner of the boring boy socks the yarn was for his socks. The horror on his face, “you said the yarn was navy blue.” I guess I can understand the peer pressure involved for a 10 year old boy going to outdoor school, not wanting Noro socks (blues, greens, teals, it is lovely!)

  59. Oh yeah; winding sock yarn? Totally. That whirring noise gets going, and you just can’t stop. Besides, when you’re seized with a notion for casting on another pair of socks, who wants to have to delay long enough to wind *then*? You could be knitting! I’m with several others, too; love the colors in that top ball of yarn.
    (And cool; the comments page is actually remembering my info today! I dunno why it hardly ever remembers – maybe ’cause I use Firefox? – but when it does, I feel like I’ve got a lucky day going. Hee.)

  60. Okay, what are the specific sock yarns in the photo, pray tell? Because I may need some of the one on the top. NEEEEEED.

  61. Okay…I also confess to winding sock yarn without knitting it today. I just got the STR yarn from Blue Moon for the January club project and I wound it up even though I need to get another pair of socks off my needles before I start. Must. Buy. More. Size 1 needles.
    Good luck with the blog awards.

  62. RachelH, your tremendous astuteness makes me feel like a slacker. Now I’m trying to think of things to point out to our dear Harlot. Do you think mentioning spinning or the gansey would get me that sort of label? Or another kind?

  63. So that’s why I wind yarn but don’t knit with it. I never really thought about it. But yeah, mid-project, hitting the wool wall, I’ll wind yarn. It truly does take the edge off.

  64. Is there an award for “Most Canadian Dream on a Blog”? This would have to be the winner. πŸ™‚

  65. Wups, forgot, now she’ll prob. get umpteen answers–
    Cara G. at 1:49 PM – With most hand-skeined yarn, look closely at the figure-8 ties on the skein. Sometimes they’re separate pieces of yarn and the ends are tied to those pieces somewhere. Sometimes the figure-8 ties are simply made with the ends of the skeined yarn. Either way, look there for your ends, and cut them to free your yarn. You’ll want to remove all the ties anyway, so check each one for skein ends; one should be on the outside of the skein, one should be on the inner side. Be very careful when you snip the figure-8 ties; it’s easier than you think to snip several strands of precious skein…in the middle, even…no matter how often you’ve done this. Don’t ask me how I know. πŸ˜‰
    Oh, and things are a lot less messy if you put the skein on your swift and expand the swift *before* you cut the figure-8 ties.

  66. I love to wind, but by hand. I don’t have a swift. I ask my LYS to please NOT wind the skeins for me because I just love the meditative, repetitive action. And feeling the yarn slip through my fingers. I knew a fellow knitter who would slip the yarn around her feet and do forward bends as she wound.
    I also like to wind the spun fiber into skeins, but I do have a winder for that one. (The clicking of the winder is calming, too.)

  67. I’m winding things up myself today – some organic cotton for one project, some recycled wools moving from old projects to new incarnations, and wondering to myself if I should go ahead and wind up this lovely hank of alpaca sock yarn while I have everything out. I don’t plan on using it soon, but I really, really want to do it for some inexplicable reason. I’m taking your post today as a sign that I should go for it.

  68. The leaves are beautiful!! Are you going to make an Adam and Eve costume for Halloween?
    and can we have the recipe for Aunt Mary’s walnut bars (it sounds too good to be a rhetorical reference)

  69. Hey, I was wondering what size needles you used for your STR socks with the Feather and Fan Pattern from Socks, Socks, Socks. I am getting a very different and weird result and I’m using US Size 2 needles.

  70. I’ve been suffering some knitting ennui lately and I really like your idea of winding up some sock yarn to take the edge off. It also makes it easier to start off new projects willy-nilly, but what the hey, right? That’s why we all buy multiples of the same needle size.

  71. Sock yarn . . . I LOVE SOCK YARN. I love winding sock yarn, little cakes all stacked up. I stack them and line then up according to color! Does not everyone do that????

  72. Okay, I voted and I did follow my conscience. It was pretty easy, since yours is truly the best blog of the bunch. I know this because I visited all of them. And while ‘the competition’ did have the occasion bit of useful information, there was nothing there to warm the cockles of my little heart, ya know? When I visit this blog, I always smile at some point, and that’s important because overall, right now, my life pretty much sucks!
    And for the record, I covet a swift. SOME DAY I will have one so that when I want to fondle yarn, and admire the colorways, the texture, the smell, without fear of dropped or twisted stitches — I can just sit there and do it!

  73. Hmmm. I got/bought a ball winder for Christmas, but I haven’t done anything with it yet. If it’s as therapeutic as all that, I may have to break it out of the box.

  74. Then again you could buy a yarn measure so you would just have to measure the yarn as you wound it onto the ball winder and then measure it again, and again and……

  75. Wind…..yarn…..yummmmm….Such good therapy. I have spent the last few days organizing my yarn room. It is wonderful fun to remember old projects from seeing the left overs and dream of new ones that you forgot you planned to do when you bought those skeins. Or to find out you bought the same yarn twice and now have LOTS of it! Sorting stash, organizing and reorganizing, putting it in order until it is in orderly little stitches……maybe I’ve spent a little too much time alone with my yarn!

  76. So glad i’m not the only one who dreams of Rick Mercer. And also of him posting regularly to his blog…

  77. Hello from Willamina Oregon.I agree with the winding of the sock yarn. I also enjoying spinning. It is very relaxing when I can’t stand it anymore.

  78. Tiferet at 2:59 . . .I hear you. But there was a time before I owned a ball winder what it totally made sense to have the yarn store wind it for me.
    Though it might have been just that yarn store, quaintly set up in the upstairs of a little mall with a large window overlooking the cobblestone street. You know the kind of street. You expect an apple vender pushing a cart of produce and flowers to come around the corner any second. And it might also have been because they had the first display of Koigu I’d ever seen in real life. In fact, I count it as the first “real” yarn store I’d ever been in, and it just electrified the experience to have the lovely lady (who didn’t let on even once that it might be unusual for someone to be on their knees in front of the Koigu display, and even joined me to help pick out just the right colors)smile at me over my choices and ask if I’d like it wound. I was charmed beyond words.
    Though now, well, it is more fulfilling to do it myself.

  79. OKOK. I admit that, when I am wanting to do something “knitting,” but don’t have the inspiration or energy to knit, I wind yarn. I don’t limit it to just sock yarn, tough. I’ll wind anything. I suspect that if I ever ran out of yarn (fat chance), I’d wind string mops or twine.
    I voted for you twice and Rick Mercer, too. I even tried to cheat and vote more than once in each poll. They’re too smart for that. Drat!
    Good luck!

  80. Presbytera, substitute ‘astute’ for ‘obnoxious’ and you’ll get the true idea of how Steph felt when reading my comment. (for the record, I love it when that happens)
    It is true however that so far, the only evidence of ‘spinning’ today was the blurred swift. Have at it, my friend.

  81. Okay, now you’re just messing with us. “Grey” in the title, on Tuesday, and then saying what it is you do to take the edge off…how deep-sunk in cynicism would I have to be not to assume you were spinning The Grey Wool Which Shall Not Be Named?
    But I’m not bringing that up because I’m too shaken. Before sitting down to the computer I arranged the three skeins of Fleece Artist sock yarn I’d just wound so I could purr at them.

  82. Hmmm. If you were diagnosed as autistic, this winding business would be strongly discouraged as unproductive “stimming”.
    Well, I LOVE TO WIND! Perhaps neural typicals can learn something from folks living on the autism spec trum afer all, eh?

  83. Rick Mercer can come into my dreams any time he pleases. Thank you for putting his name on your post as I would never find where to go and vote for him. I still must get a swift and a ball winder. Using a chair is a pain in the arss. Nice yarn you have there .

  84. Hey, your comment fields remember me! How did *that* happen? (They’ll probably have forgotten me tomorrow, but I’m grateful for my moment in the sun.)
    Given that I have no clue at all what you’re talking about, don’t know who Rick or Justin is or what fleur-de-lys have to do with anything, I’d say that’s an extremely Canadian dream.
    My competitive/masochistic/just plain weird streak is such that my mind is whirling, trying to come up with an even more fetishistic knitting project than socks with 34 leaves.
    Isn’t “fetishistic” a great word? Too bad it’s too long for Scrabble.

  85. I got a ball winder for Christmas, so you KNOW I’ve been engaging in recreational winding. I’m even thinking of re-winding some of those pre-wound skeins so that I can have lovely center pull rounds of joy! (but I wax poetic.) Isn’t is sad when you run out of things to wind??? (SIGH)

  86. I’ve got to admit that since I received my swift and ball winder, winding yarn is a pleasure all by itself. It’s the simple things in life, you know? πŸ™‚

  87. We just got our Swift and Ball winder yesterday! Of course the winder was out and put to use almost immediatly balling up previously wound balls of yarn and acrylic skeins. Hubby and I had a blast!:-) The only thing keeping us fom setting up the swift is a place to put it and the winder that wont impede the swifts turniong. And of course a 3yr old cat that is worse than the 16 wk old boy type kitten when it comes to moving yarn πŸ™‚

  88. So funny! I went to my LYS today and Denise and I wound sock yarn.
    And then we wound it again because it was so beautiful (and maybe a little tight).
    It was wonderful.

  89. Amy at 1:43, thank you for making the reference for me – NOW I get it
    And Knittripps at 1:49, I’m still working to finish some “Christmas” socks by Saturday (just simple ones, too!) and then move on to the mittens I had planned on knitting someone for Christmas. I’ve moved the socks for my stepmother to her birthday in mid-July – *maybe* I’ll get that.
    All this to say: You’ve got *lots* of time to write those thank-you notes!!

  90. It feels good to wind, but then the wound yarn makes me feel bad I haven’t knit it and stresses me out later.
    At the moment I’m thinking I’m going to go shovel snow and ice because toddlers have sent me to the brink and I’m trying to be healthy… so I’m not going to bake and eat a pan of brownies no matter how much I want to. And if I tried to wind yarn I’d muck it up… way too much tension! Argh!

  91. I’m not sure if your decline was “in to wee knitty maddness” or in to wee nutty madness (or is that wee knutty madness??!?) That was a lot of little leaves to be knitting when another tight deadline was looming.

  92. I don’t have enough extra sock yarn to wind, but I do like to wind up all the leftovers from past projects. Instead of a bunch of gutted, limp balls I have a wide assortment of cute tiny little balls I never know what to do with!

  93. I made the mistake of letting my husband try the swift and ball winder. Now I don’t GET to wind sock yarn. He has entirely too much fun doing it!

  94. Everyone loves the swift and ball winder combo – I left mine (with 20,000 yards of laceweight silk!) set up on the kitchen bench and even the most manly of manly males just *had* to wind for a while.
    I was thinking though, Madame Harlot, could you have some fun with your leaves? and make them in those Autumn colours so they start Green across the top and go down through all the changing colours to the point and have it Maple Red… The Leaves could be arranged so the edges were the border, and the tips? The “branches could run in a “Y” from the three points…..
    (sorry to be evil – but it would look stunning!!!)

  95. OMG! I nearly fell out of the chair!
    Lst evening, as I patiently counted 25 sts 24 times for one round (trust me, it will get worse), I started looking at the new skein of STR…it would be so pretty…I need to start these socks…I’ll just wind up the skein. Oh, and that skein of STR Raven series…oooh, soooooo dark and disturbed…..I need to start wristwarmer for eldest DD’s b-day….or maybe socks for me….I’ll just wind up the skein! Oh, and the singles that are on the wheel just need to be wound into a center pull ball for plying! And if I find anything prettier along the way, I’ll throw it into the “to-be-wound today” pile. Then I’ll wind till bedtime and thus avoid another confrontation by the 600 shawl sts of doom! (Think how much worse it will be when the shawl measures 1440 sts per round!) Great cure for the knitting “Blahs”

  96. Back again – I meant: make the darling little leaves up into a SHAWL so that the leaves point outwards along the edge… and the “branches” go in a y shape through the middle. And run them green at the top shading down through your autumny colours to maple red at the lower point.
    Lots of Darling little leaves for you to Zen over…
    Curse this fragglecoffee! Too much caffiene this early in the morning makes my brain work faster than my fingers

  97. Decline into wee knitty madness? I’m just glad to know someone else has been caught up in the vortex. Its good to have company.

  98. I confess to being of the winders. I’ve been struggling with carpal tunnel. Don’t ask me how many balls of yarn I’ve wound (with my good hand) in frustration at not being able to knit.

  99. I wind. I like to see how the colors look when it is in a ball. They are pretty. I guess that is why I like sock yarn, and I have so much.

  100. Tra la la la, I got a swift for Christmas! So winding yarn sounds like a dandy idea. I have done it just like you, too, just as a way to play with some new yarn that I can’t knit yet.

  101. I want a swift, too, Steph B.
    What gorgeous colors. I can’t wait to see what you do with it, especially the bright, multicolor yarn.

  102. Steph,
    I absolutely voted for you… you were my “1st” blogger that is! AND you are still my favorite! Furthermore, you never, ever, ever, have to explain any knitting/yarn/needle obsession to us. If not for this fantastic hobby/addiction we might all be wandering the streets and heroine addicts— so, there is no bad here!!!

  103. UGH…I so miss my swift and winder. I am out of town and had to wind a skein of sock yarn with the knees/ball method. I’m so spoiled by my fun knitting toys. Oh and omg, omg, omg, the one on the right looks like the hand painted skein I brought you in Louisville! Hope you like it.

  104. I find (especially since getting back to school) that I’ll unwind skeins and rewind into balls in a really addictive and procrastinatory way — like, after I should have gone to bed, the 400 meter yard ball of laceweight will call me to unwind it.
    A swift/ballwinder would be more efficient, but I’d probably sleep even less with it!

  105. Love the sock yarns. Just got me some MSF sock yarn too!
    The dream! Love it! However, it will really scare me when it shows up as an actual show on Global (probably Avril Lavigne singing the theme song…)
    Canadian politics as a metaphor for interior decorating. Too cool!

  106. For those of you (like me!) that do not have (and can’t afford) a swift and winder, try a nostepinne ballwinder — funny looking stick that helps you wind a nice center pull ball. I love mine and while my “yarn cakes” are not quite as perfect as Stephs, they get better and better as I wind more yarn. Yes, it is relaxing and a good distraction πŸ™‚

  107. All that last dream needed was the phone beavers trotting through it…or perhaps you, Rick and Justin encountering them in the rosy-fleur-de-lis–y family room, watching the hockey game…

  108. Oh, I love Canada so much, I wish I were living there. So instead I voted for Canadian awards, because it kinda makes me feel Canadian. And yes, I do like to wind yarn and perhaps even re-wind it again when I really love it so, just to see the colors mix up bit more.
    What about spinning? Wouldn’t that break up the ennui? Aren’t Tuesdays for spinning anymore?! You’re breaking my heart!

  109. What happened to your ball winder in chief, Mr. Hank? I thought he wound all of your yarn when in residence? Obviously, the meditative effects of yarn ball winding are not lost on adults as well!!

  110. Ok. I’m going to trust you on this. I’ll vote for you (and I’ll do it now) in exchange for the identification of the sock yarn. I’m guessing it’s Socks That Rock, but what colorway? Deal?

  111. I thought I was the only one who did that! Once on a particularly frustrating stretch, I wound my entire stash.
    Even the skeins that already came in center pull balls!

  112. What is that lovely rainbow-inspired ball on top? Ooo.
    Also, on a flashback note, I thought of you today as I (in my copy editor role) re-proofed a terribly over-proofed brochure after its visit to the subject matter expert (SME!). Someone passing by my cube at the time may actually have heard:
    stet…Stet…STET dammit!

  113. I did not “go for a walk on a winter’s day”. It was -51C today. For those without a ball winder, I was lucky enough to find one at a church sale for less than $5. I have been dancing ever since! There is hope!

  114. Now we know where Hank gets it.
    And it looks like we were winding the same skeins of yarn. I was winding up all my Socks that Rock skeins from sock camp for a mitered corner baby blanket.

  115. For those of you California dreaming, don’t. It has rained for most of the day. It’s cold. It’s wet and dreary. Southern California may be nice at this time of year, but not north cal. Wind a ball for me, Stephanie

  116. That’s it.. you’re certifiably nuts (Not that this is news or anything). You’re welcome to come visit me any time though. At this moment there are 50 skeins of sock yarn sitting in piles on my living room floor just WAITING to be wound. It’s gotten to where I have started to pay friends in yarn just to come wind for me. You’d be in heaven. I even have an electric skeiner to make things more fun. Winding yarn combined with powertools! Yay!

  117. I also love to wind (with a swift and winder) but have yet to find a way to keep the tail end of the yarn on the outside of the ball in place. Have tried tying, using tape–any ideas?
    Plus, I measure my yarn as I wind and put that info on the ball so I know if I have enough to make a pair of socks without running out. Which is kind of crazy as I usually don’t pay any attention to the yardage before I start. I put it down to being a “little” obessive/compulsive (Just finished my 26th pair of socks this winter–they were small)

  118. Love the leaves, not sure about the socks, I mean, they’re kinda wasted up there underneath the jeans, aren’t they? On the other hand, I’ve had an idea.
    Leaf sweater. A sweater with little tiny leaves cascading down your body like you were standing outside and they fell on you. I think a hundred or so ought to do it for your size …

  119. Little leaves are the perfect thing to make out of the tiny little leftover balls of yarn that haunt my life. The ones that are two small to ever even be a stripe, you know? But too big to just be thrown out, because they are clearly a Ball of Yarn. Then I could drop each perfect little leaf in a bowl on my desk, and dream of the knitterly day when there is a big pile of them, and throw them up in the air and watch them flutter down. Maybe the folks from the crazy house that my husband will have undoubtedly summoned will keep a perfect leaf as a memento of our meeting…

  120. Let’s hear it for Rick Mercer! I’m a Yank but fortunate to live close enough to the border to receive Canadian TV and radio. Still, I’ve never yet dreamed about him…

  121. Ah I do this too but, you know, you can’t beat *hand-winding* sock yarn:
    The skein turns more slowly on the umbrella swift so you can appreciate the colour changes as they come.
    The yarn flows through your hands for its first time and you can feel every knot and flaw before you start kniting.
    Then there is the ultimate joy of producing the perfect ball of yarn, beautifully soft and rounded, every strand placed in a pleasing way next to its neighbour and the little end of thread poking out of the centre asking to be knitted very soon……
    Sure the ball winder is good for watching something happening in a blur of colour to enliven the day, but the hand-winding of a skein of yarn goes back to our very chilhood and can produce a wonderful dream-like state where even fellow Canadian contestants dematerialise.

  122. So that’s where Hank gets it from! The yarn-winding gene must be strong in your family!

  123. What is the name of the sock yarn on the top of the nicely concocted tower of yarn, the multicolored one. its gorgeous!

  124. As I don’t have a ball winder (yet) I can only live vicariously through your lovely pictures of multiple balls of wound yarn (lovely colors).

  125. So that’s the secret. Winding sock yarn! I don’t do that. Perhaps I should, but I don’t have much sock yarn yet. Hmmm. Does this mean I need to get some?

  126. I don’t have a swift or ball winder, so I don’t tend to wind balls of yarn to get away from the doldrums of project monogamy. It’s too bad, because it would be a fine way to take the edge off. Winding them by hand is too much of a slog to work the same way.

  127. As long as your dream didn’t end with you, Justin and Rick jumping naked into a lake together….

  128. “It’s going to be grand” … is that an Irish twang in your background?
    If not (and I know I’m a little late with the tour begging) wouldn’t you still love to come and visit Ireland? You could talk at our yarn shop…

  129. So,
    If I tell you that I think five or six strings of leaves would make a lovely window curtain, would I be feeding your OCD?

  130. I have recently treated myself to a swift and winder after reading some of your older blogs. I love winding yarn too and also reading your blogs makes me feel connected to the knitting world on a larger scale. Thanks!

  131. This is an unrelated topic, but if you haven’t already done so, you should take a look at this blog: The author, Patry Francis, is a writer whose book is being published today. Because of a recent cancer diagnosis, she is unable to promote her book. Over 300 writers have declared today as Patry Francis day and are promoting her book. Her blog is amazing and a real treat for anyone who is a deep thinker. I just found out about her blog today and thought I would share this wonderful find with you.

  132. I do love to wind sock yarn. I joined Rockin Sock Club last year just so I could have some new stuff to wind. Have you wound any of the new Noro sock yarn? It is mesmerizing. It’s next on my “to knit” list.

  133. Wait. . .did I understand you correctly. . .are you planning to *give away* these Vintage socks?
    The mind boggles.

  134. Even though Tuesdays are for spinning, I can sympathize with our Harlot.
    I have been spinning and knitting on a shawl for the last 5 years. The shawl is for my mom who has begun to refer to it as her “Death Shroud”
    ha-ha mom.
    I may have gotten enough spun on my last go round to actually finish it. Of course I thought that the last 2 times.
    Unlike our fearless leader I haven’t had the good sense to have any sort of plan. just spin until I got what appeared to be an obscene amount of yarn and start knitting.
    i may have to get a ball winder- i am having winder envy.

  135. I dreamt martha stewart was helping me to clean my cluttered and messy house… I like your dream better. I think I’ll go wind sock yarn now. Oh, and I voted for you! good luck in the contest.

  136. The problem with winding yarn is that I have small boys and if they see me, I have to share. I take my yarn and my ice-cream into a separate room….

  137. Dreaming about Justin Trudeau? What a great way to spend a night. πŸ˜‰
    I love Rick Mercer too – did you see his 2 hour special a few years ago? When he was traveling through the US sharing ‘news stories’ and asking Canadian content questions?
    When he had Bush refer to Prime Minster Jean Poutine. Classic.

  138. I voted for you. I love that first sock yarn! I need a ball winder…wait, that would add to my procrastination. πŸ™‚

  139. wow.
    you totally win the canadian webbies on subconscious content alone.
    yarn harlot, rick mercer AND justin trudeau in an architectual open concept? sounds like the perfect header for the new CBC’s fall lineup.
    the promise of polite intellectual snarkiness is unmatchable.

  140. My 8 YO nephew and my 9 YO daughter love to wind yarn for me, and they are pretty good at given the amount of practice they get, wish I could knit as quickly as they wind.

  141. I just now realized that you are giving those leaf socks away– are you going to frame them first ? I would .

  142. Oh I’m so sorry that I don’t live closer, I would gladly just do the boring bits. I love to just knit. No counting, no keeping track, just knitting. This is why I knit rectangles for charity. Just cast on my stitches and knit for 9 inches. Yep, I get into the zen zone and just knit. That is why I love scaves.
    But this summer I am determined to knit socks. Oh and I’ve finally discovered the why of things. I discovered yesterday before my hula class the reason piano teachers make us do scales. I did them from memory and actually heard it! So I plan to do socks until I get the why in addition to the how of doing them.
    I can’t do more than just knit now cause I’m in nursing school and yes, I knit during lectures, keeps my hands busy and my mind sharp! Everyone else but my prof thinks I’m weird but my cuticles are in great shape and I’m calm and attentive so thpbhbhbhbhbh! to them.
    Leaves then wind, leaves then wind. The mantra of the harlot!

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