Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dr Yarnlove or: How I Learned to Stop Using the Backs of Chairs and Floor and Love the Yarn Swift

I can't even begin to say how thrilled I am with my swap package from elociNNicole. She spoiled me so much! I love everything! Thank you so much, my dear! Since I can't even BEGIN to tell you how pleased I am with everything, I'll tell the story in pictures, and spare you all the millions and millions of thank yous! I'd fill this page with.

She said triangle box, and I thought it was going to be short and squat. Oh no. Oh no. This is probably the best box ever. You know the goodies will be great when you're excited about the packaging. And so are the kitties! (And damn girl, you packed stuff in there so great that I bet there's still goodies in there.)

First I opened the best thing I've ever received in a swap package, seriously. HIPPO MITTENS! Can there be anything better? They are so cute, and fit perfectly. My mom wants to try to steal them. I'm going to be so stylish this winter. And now, I'm thinking about how to make a matching scarf and hat so I can be a hippo-ed out.
MALABRIGO! Holy crap! I don't think I've ever touched anything more luxurious, (besides petting elociNNicole's additions to the traveling scarves) and sqooshy. The yarn on the left is, worsted in Dusty Olive, and on the right is lace weight in Purple Mystery. HERE'S a better picture of the color. My camera doesn't pick up purples too well.
And then a hippo pin! IN PINK! Eee! I can decide whether to put it on one of my coats, or a purse, but I don't want to lose it. I have a bad habit of that. And cute little hair doodads, too, in pink!

See how nice the kitty toy looks? Well, now, after two days, it looks like they've eaten it and thrown it up like 5 times. They love this. My smallest kitty just discovered cat nip, and they were fighting over it and getting high. Haha.

See?! They loved it.

Oh wait, there's something else in the box? (This was seriously a Mary Poppins box.) More Malabrigo? IN PINK! And a squishy ball of cashmere in Dusty Mauve.

Somehow she read my mind, because I have the same brand of cashmere in teal! The colors look fab together, and now I have enough to make something. Something that feels so nice.

The next day:
Ok, I lied. I said I was going to wait to open and play with my swift until I got back from vacation, but there's some yarn I needed caked that would be going with me. Yay, cake making time!
Here's Arwen, getting high for the second day.

My mom and one of the daycare kids fiddling to get the swift together. Of course, dumb me, I thought the CD that came with the dowels and nuts was an instruction guide. I was wondering why she didn't put it in a case, because it was getting scratched, but when I put it in the computer, iTunes came up with this weird CD full of classical music that had been "New Age-d." I was like huh?
So, I had to get the rest of the supplies for the swift out and there was an envelope with yarn swift directions! *headdesk* We got it all figured out, and put it together. It took a few times to get the nut screwed on to keep it balanced, but once we got it, we got it.

First, I wanted to try out a skein from my unraveled sweater. Since I had wound it around the back of my chair, I had to pull it to get it around the swift, and it was spinning it into a really tight ball. It was wound too tight, and it was even pulling one of the dowels. So, I decided to take that off and finish caking it, then move onto a different hank that would probably work better. As we unraveled and wound, it got tangled, and we spent about an hour and a half getting it untangled. We FINALLY got it all untangled, and balled it, but Susie loved it.
Next up: spinning some of my (now discontinued) Elsbeth Lavold Angora, that I was planning on using for my Leaf Beret. (I'm not so sure about that now, because the angora is worsted weight, and the pattern calls for DK and I need size 3 DPNs. I need to gauge.) For some reason, after I untwisted the hank, it was woven together almost (that's the best way I can describe it), and didn't come apart into a perfect circle. But I put it on the swift anyway. Look how pretty!
It was working perfectly, but then somehow the skein tangled itself on the bottom of the swift. I had to take apart the swift, and because the hank wasn't a perfect circle (or figure 8 or whatever it's supposed to be), it came out like this:
I think that all yarn I try to wind comes out like that. This wasn't as bad to untangle, and it was sqooshy and felt really good.
Next time, when I get back from vacation, I'm going to untwist the hank more carefully, so hopefully it'll work on the skein without tangling up on itself.

Once I get the hang of untwisting hanks, I should be rolling. Thank you so much elociNNicole! I love everything so much!

And just some more pictures:

I HAVE CUCUMBERS! Well, they're actually bush pickles. I figured out why it wasn't growing as much - cucumbers are mostly water and it wasn't getting watered enough. This little guy is almost ready for the plucking; I think they're supposed to be about 3 or 5 inches. I hope I can eat him before we leave.
And my tomatoes are plumping up. I should have bought two plants, though, because just one plant doesn't give enough to put in a salad or make anything with. It is nice to just walk by and eat the warm tomatoes. Two years ago, I had four plants, which was just way too much; we were overwhelmed by tomatoes. Maybe I'll take this one inside for the winter, and get another one next summer.
Hancock Fabrics was having a sale - SideWinder portable bobbin winders for only $20. Since it's such a PITA to keep unthreading the machine, winding the bobbin, and rethreading the machine, I decided to go for it. It's awesome. It comes in it's own little case, and it automatically stops when the bobbin's full. Look at how much thread I can get around my bobbins!:
I had no idea I could get so much on there. I've done a few 9 patch blocks, and it's nice and convenient that I don't have to stop to rewind the bobbin. There were a little problems at first, and now looking at the picture I can see where it threaded wrong, but I think that's because I was trying to stop it. (I didn't trust it was going to stop by itself.) But, now it's wound perfectly. This is probably the most convenient $20 I've ever spent. And the little box it comes in is so cute!


elociNNicole said...

haha. Sorry for your troubles with the swift! It isn't perfect, I know, I'm not either. ;-)

Just remember to tie the end you finish with around one of the dowels so it doesn't get wrapped around the bolt (I learned this by mistake one time), balancing takes minor periodic adjustments, and not going too fast... keep the swift moving with you not ahead of you. (If that makes sense.)

myklia might have a couple more suggestions since she has used hers a few times. I thought the CD was a funny addition. A, what the heck is this, kind of thing.

mochaxlight said...

It is! It's just me. For some reason, yarn always tangles on me. I don't even understand how it wrapped itself around the swift! Crazy yarn.

OOo, I'll keep that in mind, and ask myklia if she has any tips, too. It was working perfectly, but the hank was wrapped weird, and...woven? I don't know how to describe it, but when I unwound it, it wasn't a single circle, it was overlapped/meshed together. I should take a picture so I can tell you. Do all skeins come like that? I thought when they hank-ified it, they just wrapped it in a figure 8, not meshed it.

myklia said...

Oh dang!!! I think I'm going to have to buy a hank of yarn this weekend and take pictures. How awful. ;-)

Or perhaps Nicole and I should go on a field trip to Virginia to visit you and play with your yarn swift. haha, I like that even better (though I know it isn't possible right now, I do have vacation coming up, just no money).

Seriously, I haven't had any problems. Once you get the hang of it, it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Needless to say as soon as I get a hank it goes on the swift, so all my yarn currently is in nice center pull balls. I will buy a nice hank of yarn next weekend though (pay day is on Friday, pretty broke until then), I am thinking of getting that nice cotton yarn I got Nicole a while back. Then I will take pictures. I really don't know what you are doing that everything gets tangled up.

mochaxlight said...

It was the way it was woven together. I thought hanks just come undone, but this was woven together. It was really weird, and then it got tangled. :(

Yes, yes, come to VA! I can give personal tours of DC. Oh, but you should wait until fall, because the humidity's a bitch.

I need to look back at your old entries. Don't you have a video of your swift?

myklia said...

Now that is an idea, my phone does video, but I don't have a camcorder or anything. I think pictures will be best. Yes, I did take some pictures. Don't hate me for asking, but are you sure it is an actual "hank" of yarn? Doesn't sound like an actual hank.