Monday, November 26, 2007

Unwinding (or, rather, just not winding in the first place)

On November 8th, the Yarn Harlot posted on her blog about a visit with Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. She (and most of her readership) were simply astounded to discover that Ms. Hamilton knits with a hank of yarn simply laid across her lap. I read through the 292 comments after the post, and all I could think was that knitters should just relax sometimes. There aren't any rules, and if knitting with an open skein works for Cornelia, then I see no reason to break into her house in Sweden and wind her yarn. I know the post was written tongue-in-cheek, but still.

As an avid breaker of all knitting rules, I decided that I had to give this a try, a vote in favor of the much out-voted Swede. And I love it. Yes, I do. I have had more tangles trying to use a skein that pulls from the center; nary a one has turned up while knitting this skein. You might have noticed it open and free in one of the pictures in my last post. It's a wonderful thing. It's a great way to soak up the colors and revel in the texture of the yarn as you knit. And my cat agrees.

This is Mischief. She has made one appearance already, I think, which means that her sister will need to feature in a post soon, also. Just to be fair, of course. Can't treat the cats differently, especially when Artemis is my cat. Mischief is an ardent lover of all things soft and fibery. She doesn't pull at them or chew on them or attack them. She kneads them. And when she kneads, she gets this look on her face that tells you she's in the seventh level of heaven (does heaven have seven levels, or is that hell???). Her whiskers come forward, forward, forward, until they touch in front, and she just has the oooooohhhhhh...... look on her face. She stopped by last night to appreciate Sarah's sock yarn. This is such a common phenomenon with soft knitted things (whether they're being worn, in the laundry basket, or just laying around, she will find and knead them) that we have given it a name. When we go to a yarn store, a yarn must pass the Mischief Test to be worth buying. In order to pass the Mischief Test it must be so soft and wonderful that you stand in front of the yarn bin and just feel it for a while. If you have that eye-rolling, half conscious dopey expression of pleasure on your face, it will be Mischief approved. This sock yarn is definitely approved.

And, even after the Mischief Test had been given and passed, I have not had a single tangle. I have had a cat sleeping on my lap while I knit all night, and no problems. Actually, I think the hank is less attractive to them than a ball; it doesn't twitch around as much, and it looks less like their toys. If they do start to get a little wild-eyed, one speaking of their name in The Voice nips the attack in the bud. They know that The Voice is a warning before the squirt bottle comes out, and they know better than to push it when my yarn is involved. So, they stick to the kneading and occasional sleeping on my yarn, and I knit on. And now, I knit on from an open skein rather than an overwound little ball that will roll off across the floor despite my best efforts to restrain it. Thank you, Yarn Harlot and Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton!