Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Tangled Yarn

So, here's my tale of the "Tangled Yarn Blues", a tangled yarn indeed...

Somehow, now that the severe crises seem to be over (for now, knock wood!), it's easier to talk about it. It ties in, too, with my summer scarf woes - lately, nothing seems to come easy for me. If this has been a test of my patience, or a patience-development course I somehow got signed up for, I hope I passed it. I really don't want to take this class again!

The problems seemed to start when I began my second scarf for the Crochetville swap. I wasn't feeling real confident in my first production - and later frogged part of it to use in a third scarf made to replace the first, which I later decided wasn't good enough to make the cut - it just didn't turn out as originally envisioned.

But anyway, the second scarf... I had problems right off the bat, working 14 rows the first time - with LOTS of frogging due to horrendously stupid mistakes. It got to be embarrassing the number of times I would end up with ONE dc in spots were FIVE were supposed to go, and I usually wouldn't catch it until I arrived at that point on the next row - I couldn't maintain the pattern to save my life! Granted, I was a tad distracted by some personal issues that kept locking up my mind so that I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing, but I've worked on patterns while thinking of other things many times before. But this time my "autopilot" seemed to have been totally disabled. If I didn't stay focused and concentrated on what I was doing, I made a real mess of it. And I did, repeatedly! How many years have I claimed to have been crocheting? (picture wildly rolling eyes here)

It didn't help that there was also an error in the pattern I was following. As I stated, I managed to make it to 14 rows when I realized that, errors aside, there was definitely something wrong with the way the pattern was working out. So I decided to frog it all and start all over. But when I did, I doubted myself, and didn't make the change I felt should be made to make the pattern work right. Dummy! Normally I wouldn't have questioned myself like that, but since I'd been making so many errors, I decided at that point that my own observations couldn't be trusted. I won't do that again! 22 rows into the pattern (again, with lots of frogging to correct those confounded errors - by this time I could have had the scarf done, TWICE, if I counted all the stitches made and frogged!), I again decided there was DEFINITELY something wrong with the way it was written. For the THIRD time, I started all over again! This time, I added the two extra chains on the one side that seemed to be called for, and finally the scarf that resulted looked right. It only took me two WEEKS to get this scarf done, but finally, it was done, and I was satisfied with how it turned out. It's hell being a perfectionist!

At this point, I had not yet decided to scrap the first scarf, and was thinking seriously about making a third, mainly because even though I hadn't decided to scrap it, I was still not satisfied with how the first had turned out. I thought about making a thread scarf. I had bought some thread and decided to reroll it into a self-pulling ball, to make it easier to work with. Yeah, right! I started in on the thread pattern I had picked out, moving even slower than usual because it had been YEARS since I'd worked with thread, it was taking some getting used to. And that's when the serious tangling issues began. I had gotten about 4 rows into the project when a tug on my supply produced a very nasty BIG pile of tangled thread from out of the center of that "self-pulling" ball I'd wound! After a few futile minutes of attempting to untangle it (and further tugs showed that the whole dadburned thing was going to keep coming out like that!), I tossed it aside, where it sits forlornly even as I type. Eventually I'll get around to rewinding it AGAIN on my new yarn winder (did I mention that little machine is a MIRACLE-MAKER???) and work with it from the outside, as I should have done in the first place. I'm still working on trying to come up with a way to hold the ball while working with it so that it isn't bouncing around all over the place as I crochet, though. As I've been writing this, another idea has formed in my mind, which I will have to try to see if I can implement, since other ideas I've come up with didn't work out to my satisfaction. I'll have to save that discussion for another time, though, it deserves a post all it's own.

But that experience jinxed me, I'm SURE of it! Every blessed ball of yarn I touched from that point until just a few days ago kept tangling every time I tried to use it! THREE different balls of cotton yarn (worsted weight, no less!) turned into big messy clumps of hopelessly knotted material that took HOURS to unravel, during which time I got NO crocheting done at all! Even commercially wound self-pulling skeins were coming out with these big knotted clumps! In total frustration, I decided to take a break from the scarf project and start on my laceweight Seraphina, which I am hoping to have finished for summer wearing season. This too had been handwound onto a toilet paper roll to be a self-winding ball, and at first everything was moving along just fine. Until I tugged on the yarn about 10 rows into my project - and out came the dreaded tangled mass! Since it was impossible to get the yarn to pull while on the tp roll, I had removed it (as I had also done with the thread) - BIG mistake! I managed to untangle it enough to keep on working for a little while, but then another clump came out, and it became quickly obvious that this would be an ongoing headache throughout this project (if not impossible to even continue) if I didn't do something about it.

By this time I had gotten the yarn ball winder that I received as a Mother's Day gift (via a JoAnn's gift card from my loving daughter, combined with a 40% off coupon from JoAnn's), so I took the whole mess to work with me last week (where I had more room and light to work in) and stayed late afterward to rewind the ball with the intention of working it from the outside in, as I later discovered was the "proper" way to work with this kind of yarn. It took over 3 hours to rewind it (!!!), not because the winder was so slow (that was faster than a speeding bullet, to rob the quote from Superman), but the UNwinding from the original ball took forever and a day to do. But I got it done, all the way down to the still-tangled mess that had halted my work on the shawl. By this time, I was blind with exhaustion, so I just wrapped everything up and took it all home. After a good night's sleep, the next day I finally managed to untangle the mess in about an hour, and was finally able to proceed with my project, which is now moving along nicely - I will be posting an update photo by the end of the weekend!

I know I could have just cut the tangled mess out of the supply, reattached the yarn and been on my way, crochet hook flying, but I'm a bit of stubborn sort - and frugal (some would probably say stupidly so). I just plain did not want to waste that yarn! It was a good 5 or 10 yards' worth, and I also really didn't want to have any extra unnecessary ends to have to deal with either. So I persevered - and won. It's amazing the things I can find the patience for! But so far since then (knocking on that old wood again!) I haven't had any more problems with yarn tangling on me, and there were some potentially good opportunities presented, too! It was about that time that I had made the decision to scrap that first scarf and replace it with a third one, which used some of the material from the first. That scarf turned out well, imo, and so this weekend I will be putting the final touches on my package for Becky and, if all goes well, it will be winging it's way to her on Monday. I will be so relieved once it's on it's way! Talk about cutting it close - packages are supposed to be mailed by no later than next weekend! I'm sure I would have been done far sooner with these items had I not run into such a long series of problems. I really hate running myself all the way to the deadline! I'm still struggling to deal with this irrational sense of guilt that I didn't make "enough" for the package, too. I have to keep reminding myself that the requirement was for ONE scarf, not a half a dozen, and that there will be, after all, more than just the one scarf in this package. Besides, for my severely limited budget, I did go all out on this project too. I can be such an insecure fool sometimes!

Anyway, so there's my tale of woe - and thankfully, it appears to be over. Even my crocheting is going more smoothly now. If only the rest of my life would straighten out and be less worrisome, I'd be a happy little camper. I'm still working on that!

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