The other day I was thinking about the simple pleasure of sitting with another person winding a ball of yarn. I had been to Knitch, a great online yarn shop that happens to have their warehouse and shop around the corner from my house. A favorite Aunt had a birthday coming up and I wanted to buy yarn for a scarf. After picking out a yummy skein of Artyarn’s Silk Rhapsody Glitter, Nell asked if I wanted it wound from a hank into a center pull ball. It’s a service that you only find in good yarn shops, and they have some amazing contraptions to do it quickly. Most folks are delighted I’m sure, but I always say no thanks.
Perhaps it’s just the memory from childhood of those special moments with Mom while I held the yarn stretched out between my two childish hands and she went round and round wrapping it into a ball. Like most of us who learned needlework from our mothers, it was moments like these that kindled the desire to learn. “What are you going to make mommy? Can I do it too?” And so it began.
There was always some little part of the project that needed an extra set of hands. “put you finger right here while I tie this knot.” Or maybe that was just Mom’s way of drawing me in and making me feel a part of the grown up ladies sitting around with their crewel, needlepoint and knitting.
My first lesson was on a French knitting spool I think. From there I graduated to knitting needles, and crochet hooks. At some point in high school I do remember my Mom lamenting that somehow her beautiful old woven embroidery case with wooden hoop, needles and floss had become mine. But that’s what passing on traditions is all about.
So when someone asks if I would like the yarn wound into a neat ball, I always say no. Not unless you are willing to sit across from me and enjoy a half hour of warm and relaxing chatter while I hold the yarn and you make a ball.