Friday, May 26, 2006

Center Schmenter

My latest knitting related learning disability has to do with what is known as the "Center Pull Ball."

Very occasionally I've had success sticking a finger into the center of the ball and fishing out the end that is tucked inside. For you non-knitters, the reason you want this end rather than the easily accessible one on the outside has to do with ball twirlage (that's a technical term). If you use the outside end, every time you pull on the ball to advance more yarn, the ball takes off across the floor, providing much delight to cats and toddlers in the general vicinity. If you find that elusive inside end, your ball of yarn will stay where you put it and not collect all the dust bunnies under the couch as it rolls away from you.

I believe that I am uniquely disabled in my inability to find the inside end. I am further hampered in my efforts by memories of the old BBC/PBS series All Creatures Great and Small (based on the James Herriot book of the same title.) My mother hails from Yorkshire, where the series is set, so watching the show was a family requirement and we all got to know the folks at Skeldale Veterinary Surgery rather well. In particular, I have vivid memories of the actor playing James, the young Christopher Timothy, with his entire arm up a cow's or horse's birthing canal trying to help a stuck calf or foal to be born (I'm pretty sure this scene happens more than once in the series.) That's right, up to the shoulder, groping around for a grabbable part of the baby animal.

I can't shake that image from my head every time I go grabbing for the center pull yarn end.
Up to my knuckles in Patons Merino.
Unlike that talented James, what I pull forth is not what I was groping for:
Big wad of yarn. No end in sight.
It would be as though James gave a tug and pulled out the placenta and left the baby animal inside. Since no blood, organs or even living things are involved in my dilemma, I end up stuffing the wad back in and once again, resigning myself to being the great-cat-entertainer and using the outside end.

So, help me out here folks. Is there some secret to yarn end retrieval that I don't know about? Does anyone have advice or a quick and easy method to get the damn end out of the middle?


Anonymous said...

Ewwwww.....I will never search for the right end again without THAT visual. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

In the old daze, yarn was politley wound with an inner tail out side ready to go. And since my Gramm insited that yarn was only to come out of the inner wind I struggle with the great end hunt as you so aptly describe. My method of madness is to gently insert two fingers in one and and then maybe the other end. and if it feels right grab a pinch and pull. Recently I have had pretty good success with this method, tho yesterday I ended up with a tennis ball sized blob to knit from, a bulging mass attached by its humble umbilical. I hunt out the end and begin to knit with my disjointed balls of yard. If I am in a hurry I wind the extra up and proceed with a twirling mass until its used up.....Technically you would think by the year 2006 the yarn winding geeks would have it down to a science, but I suspect that it is cheaper to wind wrong and done to infuriate the likes of us. Cheers. I like your choice the red yarn.

freddyknits said...

I have the same problem, and often end up rewinding the factory-wound skein with my ball winder. I am still amazed how they can transform those misbehaving skeins into nice chubby cakes of yarn. But then I am easily amused.

Julie said...

Ha ha, I LOVE the James Herriot analogy.

I always rewind the skein into a ball starting from the outside end, so it ends up reversed. This does not solve the ball rolling on the floor problem, however.

Anonymous said...

I just use the end that's on the outside of the skein. Maybe you could do that, and just make sure the ball of yarn is tucked between your legs or somewhere so it doesn't fall victim to the cat or dust bunnies under the couch. I definitely empathize with you on that one.:-)

Anonymous said...

I've searched for the inner thread in each paton's merino wool and have yet to find it. I am had success with other yarns. So maybe it is paton's fault.