Monday, 14 November 2016

Memorandum Monday: Wool Piggery

...or yarn piggery: either, both, all of it...it's my new word, which I acquired at the weekend (thanks to the Grocery Girls knitting podcast), right around the same time that I was unpacking some fresh supplies. In my defence I offer Christmas knitting: these skeins are all destined to be turned into Christmas gifts.


Ah: skeins: now we get to the real memo, this Monday. For here in the UK, for all of my knitting life so far, I've been used to buying my wool in balls, neatly wrapped with a paper band and completely ready for some fast needle action. But it turns out, I am discovering, that it's not the same the world over; and that here too, more and more independent dyers are offering wool in skeins, which have to be wound into balls or cakes before they can be knit. All of my Christmas gift wool arrived in skeins.

But I had a plan. I know a man who still needs a lot of rest and who has just been given another four weeks off work, in time to help out, in a quiet, sitting down kind of way. My plan looked like this:


...until it hit a snag. Because, I discovered, he is the one who knows how to wind wool. I've never done it before. His mum used to use hanks of wool straight from the mill, because she knew someone who worked there. My mum bought balls of wool from the wool shop (which used to have a clever little lay-away scheme. You could choose your wool and set aside as much as you needed for your project and then collect and pay for it, a ball at a time. I often called in at lunchtimes, out of school). So, as you can see from the pictures, we swapped. I held it and he wound it and we surprised ourselves with the little bits of social history we thought about as we worked. Remember black and white films in which a male suitor was pressed into service as a yarn holder? How he'd sit in the parlour and try to impress with his patience? Or, think of a Tom and Jerry cartoon: sometimes a great round ball of yarn would come rolling along the floor. Now I know why it looked like it did, because when we had finished winding, our skein had turned into this:


And that is my "first" for this week. How about you?

  Alexandra, Deb, Ruth, Barbara, Helena, Mitra, Mary-Lou, Ladkyis, Maggie, Krafty Karen and Karen made a memo last time round. Go on: give 'em a wave! And maybe think about joining us? Have a good week!

25 comments:

Susanne said...

Oh dear, another 4 weeks off of work, I hope those fly by quickly for him, and that they've figured out a solution to his ills. Wishing him to be well! In the meantime, I can see you've readily adapted to having him around. I am curious, and if I had paid attention to my MIL crocheting, I would know the answer. But does crochet require a ball instead of a skein, which is how I know she bought her yarn?

helena said...

excellent way to spend 4 weeks off work - social history and usefulness all wrapped up together - arms work so much better than a chair back. Love the colours. hope you have a good week and recovery continues

Julie Kirk said...

The pair of you need to start a blog dedicated to 'slow' pleasures. I'd read it. or, better still, just live stream your winding and tale spinning sessions ... it's what the world needs right now.

Hope he continues to improve (and doesn't get wool-winders elbow while he's your captive). Wishing you both a lovely new week. xx

Maggie said...

I have vague memories of holding my arms out like that while wool was wound. I can feel my arms aching now. "Keep your arms up or it will fall off" I also however remember wool bought in balls and some spare being kept back in the shop of the same batch just in case. I'm wondering whether it was Arran wool that came in skeins?

Patio Postcards said...

Fun times - chatting, sharing tales & getting some work done - brilliant tactics. Of course this could be part of the new movement of the Danish Hygge - yes Julie's comment is bang on, "slow pleasures" Happy week & winding ahead.

debs14 said...

Four more weeks ... Better buy some more wool ;-) Hope he's getting stronger every day . I can't begin to imagine how you start off the ball of wool, there's obviously a knack!

Jane said...

I can remember my wool shop holding on to my order so I could buy one ball of wool a week, quite an outlay in those days. I love the look of your wool, you are going to be very busy!

alexandra s.m. said...

You've brought back fond memories of my childhood when I used to extend my arms so Maman could make a ball.
She also taught me a trick of using the back of a chair. It works well too, not as much fun though ;-)
xx

Susan said...

Yes, husbands make good yarn holders. I wouldn't trust mine to do the winding though. LOL

Ruth said...

You reminded me of when my dad used to moan about the times my Nana made him sit with the skein around his hands! Tell TA to be careful, as it's well known that Wool Winders Wrist is an official ailment (akin to Sock Rollers Wrist)!

Susan said...

I used to help my mom wind her yarn into balls. It's the perfect time for conversation and reminiscing, as you definitely discovered.

Jo said...

I've always been put off of skeins because I think I'd mess up the winding of them but you've made it sound like you had a lovely, chilled time doing it.

Karen said...

This sounds like a perfect solution in so many ways! In my very brief stint in the knitting world, I had to wind several balls from skeins. Watching TV helped, but having a partner would have been so much better!

Karen said...

Brings back memories of having to sit with arms stretched out through a skein so that my gran could wind her balls of wools. It is always so much easier to have a helping pair of hands with the task - a nightmare to try and do alone without knots and tangles LOL!!

Have a great week and good luck with your Christmas knitting

Barbara said...

Oh that brings back memories of winding wool (we always call it wool don't we even if it is not real wool?) My local wool shop still does lay away which is brilliant if funds are low, and it is an excuse to keep going in the shop!

Jennifer Shaw said...

I much prefer buying yarn in balls, although I did acquire two skeins this weekend that is yet to be rolled. Rob is much better at the rolling than I am too. I never take out the swift or ball roller without him by my side. I tend to lack patience. I thought I was brilliant when I gave my daughter some skeins for her use. Well she brought them all back to my house asking for assistance rolling them. It was her birthday so we couldn't say no. LOL Have fun knitting.

alexa said...

Your lovely photos reminded me vividly of standing with my arms out doing this for my Mum and Granny when I was young. And how you could get into a rythym, lifting your arms up and down gently and swaying from side to side to make it easier for them to slip the wool off your wrist. When there was no young one around, my mum used to slip the stein over the back of the upright dining chair and wind from there. Happy days! Hoping that the Accountant will be able to enjoy a bit more of the enforced rest as the pain subsides and he feels stronger and sending warmest regards to you both xx

ForgedinPaper said...

Love that photo of him before he turned the tables. I remember my mum laying away the wool for various jumpers over the years in fact she still knits the patterns I email to her. It transpires I'm a rubbish knitter. Hope he's on the mend now xx

Linda said...

Ahhh! I hope he feels better soon. Good thinking, getting him to help wind the wool/yarn!

Cheri said...

I don't know if it is different with crocheting than knitting, but I don't even bother to wind the skeins into balls. I just find the end that pulls from the center of the skein and I can crochet right from the skein!

Lizzy Hill said...

OK, So Firstly, hook that thumb UP when you're the holder of the skein....helps heaps. Secondly. I'm having cold shakes. Oh, maaaaan....the number of times I've hooked those thumbs up and spread those fingers and done a slight arm swaying motion in order to help the ball winder get it wound up. ERK. Nightmare material. My Mum, you see, would spin the wool from our sheep. Dye it often. Then, wind it up before knitting. No wonder I do NONE of that these days:):)!!! All I can say is I'm GLAD you so enjoy it. Balances the world nicely;)!!!
PS: that's quite a long time for Himself to have off work. Hope he IS improving :)

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

Great expression. Mine would be fabric piggery! I have happy memories of wool winding with my Gran. Usually after something she'd made had been outgrown, by whichever cousin wore it last. She would unpick, wash and wind the wool back into balls. If there was no willing Grandchild then a chair back would be pressed into service.

Barbara Eads said...

I used to be the yarn holder for my mom. I remember how tired my arms would get. It wasn't until years later that she was able to by the type that came straight off the skein without winding. You sparked a memory I hadn't thought about since I was a kid---a very long time ago!

JO SOWERBY said...

My mum and I did much the same on Monday. It was a lovely time to reminisce about childhood.
Jo xx

Missus Wookie said...

How lovely - dd winds her wool whilst listening to podcasts. She's been known to get Ewok to hold as well - and then they chat as she winds.

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