Apparently, I was buying gradient yarn. Lots of gradient yarn. I just found pics—even though I’m lazy about my Ravelry stash, and possibly even lazier about tracking it on my computer (I go through more and less fanatical stash-tracking periods), I always take photos of yarn while it’s still in skeins. In this case, it was a fall 2016 trip to WEBS where for whatever reason I bought a whole bunch of Wonderland Yarns mini-skein packs (maybe because I still hadn’t used the Wonderland Yarns mini-skein packs I bought in 2015?).
I’m always a little confused as to whether the brand name is Wonderland Yarns or Frabjous Fibers, but whatever it is, one, these people are really into Alice in Wonderland, and two, they make beautiful yarns in beautiful colorways. In this case, the one I just found is a Cheshire Cat (so fingering weight yarn) 5-skein pack in Mad Tea Party, which doubles down on trends by being both gradient and speckled.
This is why I take pics of yarn-in-the-skein—soooo pretty, right? But if I actually want to use it, I can’t keep it this way forever. So it gets balled. I use a swift and ball winder to turn most of the yarn I buy into what I’ve heard people refer to as “cakes.” Mostly I just think of it as center-pull balls, but whatever. I like that they’re flat on the bottom, so less prone to rolling, and the center pull keeps things neat. Even when I’ve used up the center and the ball begins to collapse inward on itself, I still seem to avoid total yarn catastrophe. (Most of the time.)
What a difference balling makes, right?* With any not-solid-colored yarn, I always have to tell myself not to fall too in love with how it looks on the skein, because that does not necessarily have any bearing on how it will look worked up.