Sunday, November 30, 2008

A lesson in Balls...

OK, so J asked in last post's comments...Doesn't yarn already come in a ball?

Welllll.....sometimes...and it depends on how you define a ball. And there are Hanks and also Skeins of yarn as well.

These two little beauties are called Skeins (rhymes with reins), some people call them Hanks...I tend to call Skanks. But that's just me. I read it somewhere and I liked the sound of it and well, there you go.

Most sock yarn tends to come in Skanks, which when un-twisted, open up to a big hoop of yarn which is then put on a swift and wound into a center pull ball by hand (as Cherry did) or with a yarn winder like my Hugo.

I have the ball winder, but no swift. Hence the huge balls of snot, I mean knots, when I try to ball up a Skank. Sigh.

There are also these types of balls, which can also be called as Skeins, but I don't call them Skanks. I only call the long thingies Skanks. They usually come center pull already - which is very handy I must admit. Although I will go ahead and wind them on Hugo, cos well, I like playing with Hugo and making balls. I will definitely wind them up when using acrylic from the local craft store because it comes in very large skeins and it's easier to handle several small balls than one huge center pull skein.

See the little round thing at the top of the paper sack? Well, that's another type of ball. I'm not sure if they come center pull straight from the store or not, well, cos I never give 'em a chance... Straight to Hugo with every bit of yarn that enters the Chaos!!!! I grab the first free end and start cranking.

Then there's the good 'ol standby the pure and simple ball. All rolled up, nice and purty and waiting for a Kitty to come play. Nothing wrong with a good 'ol fashioned ball, but they do tend to roll around a lot and get pounced on by Kitties, cos well, if it's rolling around and it's on the floor, it's fair game!

I prefer to wind up all my Skanks, balls and whatnots on Hugo into center pull "yarn cakes" (you can see an orange one in the photo of Hugo above). They sit nice and flat on the bottom of your project bag and just stay calm and non-rollie and then poof! they're all used up.

I hoped this answered your question J.

And now finally, off to bed. This was a wonderful distraction (thanks J!) and my decaf Yorkshire tea is all gone. Time for beddy-bye and sweet dreams.


  1. Actually, sweetheart, you didn't answer J's question: she asked why the wool comes like that.

    The reason is because that's how the sheep grows it. When a sheep is peeled the wool comes off in one long strand, which has a natural twist due to the way it goes round and under and through the sheep's legs. The sheep is stood on a turntable and as the wool is pulled off it naturally forms a hank. Experiments using spinning mules and spinning jennies to form balls were not successful so we're left with the current system. This also explains why wool comes in various lengths: long ones come from bigger sheep, and short ones come from little sheep!

    Hope this helps :-)


  2. OK Honey, you're just being silly. ;)

    I still do wonder why they don't put the yarn into nice balls for you before they sell it. Maybe because then you wouldn't get to play with Hugo?

  3. Poor Spinning Sheep! They must get dizzy!

    Hey Donna! J called your Honey, Honey!

    Hurray for Hugo! I also ball up all skeins even if they are already center pull. They often still have knot up in there and sometimes have breaks in the strand.. RUDE! I like to know if there are any other oddities being hidden.

    Of course I don't have a fancy Hugo or Hugo cousin, so my balls roll around. I usually keep my project balls in a bag, basket or box to keep them from rolling away or making them too interesting to kitties. Generally the cats jump and run away each time I pull on the ball. They more like the loose end of the yarn or sitting on my lap and playing with the actual project... AWESOME!

    Happy Balling! I'm going to get more wool yarn today to make this....


  4. OK, you got to do a whole post on balls and Cherry got to use the phrase "Happy Balling," and I'm starting to feel really, really twelve.

  5. Anonymous1:38 PM PST

    I will sleep so much better tonight knowing this new information!! Thanks D!