Saturday, October 20, 2012

Breaking Yarn and Other Quaint Traditions

Well, the one nightmarish sleeve turned into two fairly well-constructed sleeves and now the two sleeves have married a torso and have begun to look something like an actual sweater.  Yay!  I must say I'm not a huge fan of bottom-up knitting, since the first two sweaters I knit were top down and seemed so much less stressful, but I'm looking forward to a better-than-awful finished object.  I'd post pictures, but it will have to wait until after Christmas since I can't take the chance that my family might happen upon it, thus spoiling the surprise.  So you'll just have to take my word for it for now.

Anyhow, I've spent most of the day knitting, with a lovely break this evening when The Husband took me out for sushi.  Well, I pretty much told him he was taking me out and that I wanted sushi, but he didn't complain any.  After inhaling an entire Samurai roll and half a Hawaiian, we came home and I was reading ahead in the pattern for the aforementioned sweater when I encountered a term I had never seen before:  "Break yarn."  

Break yarn??  

What does that mean?  Break yarn.  The only phrase I'm familiar with that starts with "break" doesn't have anything to do with yarn and isn't very polite.  

Whenever I'm faced with a knitting-related question, I have two options as I see it.  Either Google it, or ask the lovely ladies at my LYS.  I chose the latter.  And the answer is:  tradition!

Turns out, the phrase came from the time when wool yarn was pure wool.  To "break" the yarn was to pull it apart, leaving a tapered, fuzzy end that would blend easily when woven in.  It was also very easy to pull pure wool strands apart.  Nowadays, the way yarns are blended and tightly woven, it's easier to cut the yarn.  But apparently, you'll still find the term in some patterns, like the one I'm currently doing.  Tradition (picture scene from Fiddler on the Roof here).

Speaking of tradition, we asked our waiter at the sushi place tonight why they always bring us hot towels when we sit down.  He didn't really know, but thought it was tradition.  I guess it is part of sushi etiquette, so it would follow that we are heathens because we never use them.  They smell funny.  Seriously.  Meh...

I think I'll go find the other half of that Hawaiian.

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Any traditions you know of?

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