Why so tense?

One of the loveliest parts of starting a new project is winding up the yarn. All that potential in the palm of my hand is a little intoxicating.

My cakes usually end up a bit raggedy after I’ve been knitting with them for a bit, though, and the yarn tends to be a little twisty as well, as if it was wound too tightly (a bit like its owner, perhaps…).

As I sat contemplating my new Cascade Ultra Pima in Periwinkle Blue, I said, “Let’s see what YouTube has to say about swifts and winders,” thinking perhaps I was doing it wrong.

After a quick search, I found one from a group that I’d found helpful in the past. Following along with their tutorial, I did everything they did. At her suggestion that since I had a wooden swift I didn’t need to hold tension on the yarn as I wound it, I let it fly and blissfully wound the first hank. Mine did not turn out the way the woman in the video’s did. See Exhibit A: the cake on the left. A hippy-dippy, loose mess of cotton wound so loosely a stiff breeze would dislodge it.

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“OK,” I thought, “Maybe it does need some tensioning after all. But how much?!” None of the videos I watched said anything about how tightly or loosely to hold the yarn. So I held it a little tighter. Maybe a lot tighter. And got the cake on the right.

You’d think there’d be a happy medium. Of the four hanks I wound, one after the other, they all were different sized cakes in the end. Sometimes practice doesn’t make perfect, it just makes more.

And those two cakes sitting side by side remind me more than a little of my dear husband and myself.

I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.


*P.S. I did actually learn something new from the video I linked above (seen at about a minute in) – how to put your hank on the swift with one hand. Genius.

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