Are you a winder?
I am. I love it. Don't get me wrong; I understand the appeal, the efficiency, of allowing your LYS to wind your yarn for you on a ball-winder, or using one yourself. But I prefer the sensuality of winding my own yarn. I love watching the yarn transform from a skein draped around my knees into a round, pleasing, traditional ball of yarn. Those tidy, symmetrical center-pull skeins that result from commercial ball-winders appeal to my anal-retentive side, my desire for order. But for my money, there's nothing like the controlled anarchy, the random beauty that comes from a hand-wound ball of yarn. For me, it signifies the beginning and promise of a new project. The only thing that might convince me to switch to the other side is if yarn wound into pro-balls (hee hee) twist less as you knit. Anyone ever notice a difference?
Tonight, after yarn winding, I swatched. Yep, I'm embarking on several firsts with my next knitting project. The Top Secret sweater has been on hiatus, for a looong time, awaiting it's fate -- to be ripped out and re-knit due to gauge issues. I've put it on hold for lack of motivation, and joined the Knit-Along started by Jen at Monkeyknits. It will be my first sweater, my first knit-along, my first use of cotton yarn, my first real pattern modification. I'm a bit askeered, but I'm game.
We will be knitting Bonne Marie's Boatneck Shell, or, as I'm calling it, The Tax Shellter (Get it? We start on the U.S. tax deadline, April 15th -- I at least amuse myself). I am being very particular about my guage this time around, because apparently, I suffer from what you'd call "wishful gauging." I have gauge "issues." This time, in fact, I am going to have an objective 3rd party measure my gauge for me. Because the knitting analogue to sewing's "measure twice, cut once" is "swatch twice, knit once." But according to my admittedly biased calculations, I am spot on with the first swatch: 5 sts/7 rows to the inch; for me, on Addi #6s. I'll be using the lovely pink/purple multi (#86) Cascade Sierra Quattro , with a stripe of purple Funny -- right across the boobular area.
I'm knitting my Shell with a "guest knit-alonger" -- Eileen, aka Wiener, from my Stitch 'n Bitch Group. She's not too much about the online scene, so she didn't officially 'sign-up' for it, but she's in, nonetheless. She is my own personal knitting guru; she taught me to knit and continues to pull my bacon from the fire, knitting and otherwise. She's working her Shell in a lovely variegated cotton, the exact name of which completely escapes me at this late hour.
In other knit knews: several FOs lie strewn about my castle, waiting for my photo-muse to strike. The Poodle Scarf - done! The Mambo Scarf, aka The Shag - done! A nice orange mohair headband that never made it to either stash or wip status in the sidebar - done! Pics soon, promise. And what about those exquisite Shelly Ooh-la-la hot pink zapatas? I wore them to work today, and they were hugely popular.
(And thanks to Hubby for the new keyboard!! No more crawling under my desk at work, amongst the dust-bunnies, and unplugging, then lugging my keyboard there home every night, then back under the desk to and lug it to the office. My old keyboard, may it rest in peace, succumbed to an adult beverage-spilling accident. I think I'll make jewelry out of the keys.)