Forgive the boring transcript style entry below, but this was just too good to be told in narrative form. It comes to me from a conversation my sweetie had with a very good friend of ours. They both have advanced degrees.
Sweetie: Do you know what you’re getting your wife for Christmas?
Physics Guy: No, do you?
Sweetie: I’m trying to think of ideas.
Physics Guy: Jewelry is always good.
Sweetie: Yeah, I got her jewelry last year.
Physics Guy: Trips are good.
Sweetie: She wants to go on a knitting getaway trip.
Physics Guy: They have those?
Sweetie: They have, like, cruises.
Physics Guy: They have cruises for everything. I heard about a cruise for people who need dialysis. They just shut down for an hour and everyone goes and gets dialysis.
Sweetie: You know what I could get her? A thing that winds the yarn into balls.
Physics Guy: That seems like a good time saver.
Sweetie: I don’t know why the yarn just doesn’t come in balls in the first place.
Physics Guy: Yeah! Why doesn’t it?
Sweetie: I have no idea. Someone has to sit there an hold it while the knitter winds it up. It’s boring.
Physics Guy: It should be a service from the yarn store. Like when they shake the paint can for you at the paint store.
Sweetie: There must be a reason why it doesn’t come in balls. There are too many people who are really into knitting for this “yarn in balls” idea to be revolutionary.
Physics Guy: What could the reason be? There don’t seem to be any down sides.
Sweetie: Maybe they can’t see the pattern of the yarn if it’s in balls.
Physics Guy: Maybe.
Sweetie: I’ll ask Sonia
I’m still pretty new to knitting, and since I don’t have a ball winder or swift of my own, I have to do it the old fashioned way. But I think the reason the yarn doesn’t come wound in balls is preservation of the fiber. When you wind the yarn, it causes the fibers to stretch, putting them under strain and potentially damaging or changing the way the yarn will knit up later. Some knitters don’t wind their yarn into balls or cakes until they are ready to knit with it, others have theirs wound at the yarn store.
Does anyone know of any other reasons?
How and when do you wind your yarn?
And by the way, I would like a “thing that winds yarn into balls” for Christmas.