Saturday, June 09, 2007

Center-Pull Face-Off

If it's "a day late and a dollar short", does that make me $8 short...?
June's 'First Friday Knit Night' fell on the 1st (last Friday) and due to general summer busy-ness and a wedding shower, it was pretty small-scale and mellow (just 3 of us...) But after a couple crazy days of counting a bazillion contest entries and writing names on tiny slips of paper, that was quite alright with me.
There was one newbie knitter (she's a serious crocheter) to teach, but other than that, not much knitting got done. Actually, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit and wind my 550 yd skein of Fearless Fibers hand dyed superwash wool so I could get started on a pair of socks- if I could ever decide which pair to make...
Well, the blonde knitter was here with her not-yet-wound skeins as well. Actually, I must back up to properly set this scene. She's working up some trunk show samples and pulled out her ziploc to proudly show me her center-pull balls, 2 of them, one skein of worsted and one skein of the new suri merino. I was a little, well, um, not quite sure how to respond. I'd never actually seen such, well, frumpy balls of yarn. I sat and looked, actually a little puzzled- I thought surely they must be half used and thus collapsing a bit, as center-pull balls are prone to do... but no, she hadn't started her project yet- these were freshly wound, full skeins.
You know how sometimes at the end of a long day even the simplest puzzle can boggle the mind just a little too much? That's where I was at- I'm not kidding, I just didn't get it. They don't look like MY center-pull balls... and yet there she sat, obviously proud of her balls, but starting to sense that I was a little less than super impressed... she was beginning to get the did I do something wrong? look of concern... and all I could mutter was something like "What have you done?!"
The discussion began... that's how I was taught... that's NOT how I was taught... well how do you do it? not like that... And it was time for the Center-Pull Face-Off! I started winding, she started winding, and I could see an obvious difference from the start- she began by winding around her hand and then hooking the beginning 'chunk' around her thumb, I began by simply winding around my thumb...

She continued to wind, and I continued to wind... and the balls were shaping up to be, well, different...

I didn't quite get the little 'blob' of yarn that she was holding in her palm- she explained to me that was the 'guts'- oh, so much clearer now... my ball has no protruding guts, all entrails are kept snugly inside...

more winding... and...

you decide...In all fairness, our newbie knitter did point out that blondie finished first (though she did have a helper- a teen yarn holder...) But I just don't know if I'm ready to give up my pretty ball and go with the gutsy ball just to save a minute...

What do you think?

Happy knitting,


edited 6/10 to add: both balls function fine, they do just what they're supposed to do- pull from the center... this is merely a matter of aesthetics, which is more pleasing to the eye? Why does it matter? It doesn't really, the ball is only a temporary state wound to make the yarn usable (you can't knit from the twisted hank... it would be bad, very, very bad...) which is why the ball is temporary- it's about to be knit up! (or crocheted, if that's your thing...)


Blogger Fiber Chic said...

Which one is easier to pull from the center of?

6/09/2007 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha! This is funny. I only just learned the hand-to-thumb method. My first skein looked all crazy, but the second one... it looked pro, like all Debbie Bliss pro. Your pal winds way more 'guts' than I do. My guts look like little tufts of hair. hehek

6/09/2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger aksunflour said...

Ok, ummm... well my center pull is different then both. But I prefer no guts hanging out.
So how do you eat a Reese's?

6/09/2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

Hmmm. I say just do whatever you want! But I'm easy that way. ;)

6/09/2007 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I make center pull balls either of those ways. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I prefer to keep my guts inside, but sometimes I get tired of winding so the outside isn't as neat as I would like.

Although, Romi's answer sounds a lot more mature to me :)

6/09/2007 11:43 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I definately prefer no guts. But in either case, I am more likely to drag out the ball winder and swift if I have that much to wind...

6/10/2007 6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use the figure-8 method that they show in the Stich & Bitch book. (It's not called the figure-8 method, tho.) Mine get messy when I get to the outside, but I'm sure that's just my bad technique. The pulling seems to work ok.

I saw on a blog once where someone used a toilet paper tube on the end of a drill run at low speed. I might try that some time.

6/10/2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... shows how to do it your friends way.... and i didn't even know you could make a center pull ball by hand.
so, thanks, I learned something!

6/10/2007 6:21 PM  
Blogger knitintensity said...

I'm not that talented...I only know how to use my Royal winder...

6/10/2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

Well, they both work-- right? :) Umm... clearly one *looks* better than the other.

So, if you're both pulling from the center-- the true test will be, 'which one collapses first?' and 'did either one create a horrible, nasty knot after collapse?'

6/11/2007 8:23 AM  
Blogger Jean said...

My center pull balls look somewhere in between these two. Not as aesthetically pleasing as your ball, but no guts hanging out like Blondie's ball. How would you feel about doing a full on tutorial post about how you wind your balls? I'd like to give that way a try. (I start out the way the Stitch n' Bitch book describes and then transition to just winding which ever way the mood strikes.)

6/11/2007 11:13 AM  
Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

That's why I use my ball winder ... to keep the guts inside. Aaaah, so mine is more like yours. ;-) tehe

6/11/2007 2:52 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Ah, a ball winder, that's a luxury I haven't invested in yet, emphasis on the word YET! LOL!
Happy knitting-

6/11/2007 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am fairly new to this but wow that looks like fine. I wish we had a knitting store in the High Desert here in Southern California. Everything I have learned is by trail and error and I have know idea if what I am doing is right. I would love to learn more about the different types of yarn, which to use and how to figure a gauge. My mother in-law says it is easy but alas she is in New Mexico. She weaves, spins and knits. So like I said I would love to have a knitting store here were I could go in, ask questions, take classes and learn. I have ordered yarn over the internet a few times and love what I got. The most recent I never even say till it arrived and it was wonderful.

6/11/2007 3:12 PM  
Blogger Traci said...

that was a seriously plentiful skein! my poor little hand got lost before i even started!
it does look a bit um, raw i guess. that's how shows you how to do it. after the first oh, 200+ YARDS(!) there was no making it pretty!
like you said, it's a temporary state and it's functional. i still want a swift and winder! my husband isn't always home to hold the yarn for me :( you should've seen the last skein i wound...yikes!

6/14/2007 10:02 PM  
Blogger psalm127 said...

I have been looking everywhere to see how to wind a center pull ball and they all have the guts hangin out. would you be willing to put a short video up or pictures showing how you wind a center pull? I would love to learn

7/02/2007 8:25 PM  
Blogger jeannie said...

Thanks for putting this up. I learned a lot. I'm so bad at winding from pinkie to thunb that I get a mess by the time I have to take it off. I like the wind around your thumb thing. I'm going to try it and see which one I like better. I did see a video (on you tube?) the other day and it was helpful. too.
Thanks again for the information.
Although I'm in NM, I have sisters and family in Minn.

7/18/2007 9:16 AM  

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