I've written before about reusing swatches; ripping them out, rewashing the yarn and winding it up to use again. It stems partly from growing up with a mother born during the rationing of post-war England, and partly my own squirrelly instinct. It's also a matter of making this sybaritic hobby of mine go a little further, feeling that I can just about justify buying luxurious yarn if I spin it out to the very last inch. And, of course, it's due to my timorous insistence on swatching for absolutely everything.
When I was knitting D's Welsh Hiking Scarf last summer I thought about how much time I spent swatching, unravelling, reskeining, washing and finally winding the yarn again, and took photos as I went along, thinking about writing it up at some point. I worked out that the whole process - from first stitch to rewound ball of yarn - took me about two hours.
Now, thanks to these...
... turning these
... into these
took me less than ten minutes.
For Christmas, one of my best friends gave me a ball-winder. It is a funny, ugly little thing that looks like so much plastic - and yet.
It means that the half hour I wanted to spend curled up on the sofa knitting, I can actually spend knitting, instead of coiling part of a skein around a tubular object. It means that instead of planning projects around when I can be in with time to wind up yarn, I can choose something at a moment's notice and be out of the house with the right needles and a brand new ball of yarn in twenty minutes. It means rather than winding yarn being a task to fit in somewhere, sometime, it becomes the start of an exciting new project.
Thank you, Anna, for that inexpressibly precious and seemingly ungiveable of gifts: time.