My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Must we have these battles, over and over again?

Apparently we must.

In case you are wondering, I’m talking about the skein of Opal I’m using for my current SIP. I am of the opinion that it’s a center-pull ball and it thinks it isn’t. I am pulling yarn out of the center in great big globs that I have to untangle and wrap around the outside of the skein.

Doncha hate when that happens?

Uusually this phenomenon just happens at the start of the skein. You are groping around in the center of the skein, looking for the end, and you wind up pulling out half the skein. Which you then have to untangle and wind around the outside of the skein.

This ornery skein of Opal has barfed up a messy glob of yarn from its center four times so far. The only other skein of yarn I ever remember this happening with was . . . uh huh . . . another skein of Opal.


I’ve been told that you have to pull out the end from the top of the skein (which can be determined by the direction that the label is put on the skein) for the yarn to come out smoothly, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference sometimes.

Thank goodness my Daletta is behaving like the well-brought-up, refined yarn that it is. It allows me to find the end, pull it out, and actually knit from it, drawing it neatly out from the center of the skein.

New! Improved!

Just because I’m such a sweetheart, I’ve posted some revisions to my Generic Toe-up Sock Pattern. I added some tips and put a bit more detail in the instructions for the heel. I did this just for you!

Now . . . don’t you feel special?

Lucy is jazzed.



  1. Ohhh, nooooooo. After the same yarn-pulling problems with about 5 skeins in a row of Regia, I was about to try some Opal. Besides, I like the softer look of their colourways. Now this…! If “they” can put a man on the moon, you’d THINK “they” could get the hang of winding yarn!

  2. I’ve never had that problem with Opal, however I’ve run into three barf-globs from my skein of America’s Alpaca Lite that I’m using for my first lacy scarf. I also had the problem with my Fortissima Mexiko socks.

    I love Lucy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a doll!

  3. Debbie, I’ve had several skeins of Opal that were okay — this is only the second one that’s given me problems. So keep your fingers crossed and try some Opal!

    Lucy say “meow, thanks!” Daphne. She IS a doll!

  4. Hey babe…..quit ya bitchin’!!! That sock is sooo beautiful that it’s worth the extra work. As me mum says “pride must bear a pinch”

  5. It’s my yarn and I’ll bitch if I want to,
    Bitch if I want to,
    Bitch if I want to!

    You would bitch too if it happened to you!

    (With apologies to Lesley Gore)

  6. sorry for my English at first…
    There is a trick to find the right side of the skein to search the start – every skein has a “big” hole and a small one. The difference is not so obvious, but normally you can find it out. Search the beginning through the big one and normally you will not get these problems.
    But I have to admit that it doesn’t work EVERY time I try…

    Greetings from Munich, Germany

  7. Thanks for the tip, Nicole! I’ll try it on my next skein! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. That’s funny…I was coming to post (for the first time after lurking so long) to thank you a gazillion times over for the toe-up sock pattern and not only has it been revised, but I learned a new term: barf-glob. It happened to my Regia skein not at the beginning, but just as I was nearing the ribbing.


  9. Wendy,
    I don’t mean to get all mushy on you, but I feel special every time I read your blog – how do you do that? It’s a mystery!

  10. Your sock pattern saved my tootsies, Wendy. I’d be sockless without it! I’m now cruising through my third pair. I tried Pricilla Gibson- Robert’s ‘Simple Socks,’ and I just could not get short rows with yarn overs to work for me at all..(purl 3 tog thru the back loop-yuk). Many thanks!

  11. Barf-globs (will that be an official word in the next dictionary update?) sometimes appear in center-pulls that I’ve wound myself, so I’d be a hypocrite to criticize Opal,wouldn’t I?

  12. I’m so addicted to my center-pull ball winder, I rewind pretty much all my yarn now ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve only ever had one skein of Regia and one of Trekking XXL of all my sock yarns I’ve wound that had knots in them I needed to undo or work around, and it was nice to know about them, so now I just wind everything. My hubbie thinks I’m nuts, and he’s prolly right ๐Ÿ˜€

    I need to give that toe-up sock another try, I just get so frustrated with the toes I usually give up and cast on my ribbing again. Hubby had troubles getting my first try on, too, because I cast off normally, forgetting that the BO wouldn’t be as stretchy anymore…. lesson learned for me, that’s for sure!! But it is so cool to see the sock just hanging there, all done, and just stop when you run out of yarn …. yep, gotta try it again ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. I better print the revised toe-up sock pattern. You already know it’s my favorite one, I like to call it dumb-proof aka even *I* can understand it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Wishing you a lovely day!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Barf-globs are such a pain. Why not (once you’ve untangled them) wind them into little center pull balls and shove them back into the big ball of yarn though? That way you’re not winding around the outside of the big ball of yarn and having to deal with it flipping around as you knit up the yarn that was once the barf-glob? I hate that almost as much as I hate barf-globs but that’s just me. Just a thought. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Even though I’m a newbie, I was thoroughly repulsed by the BG syndrome in my VERY FIRST BALL OF OPAL…

    It brought me back to when I was in 4th grade and one of my lunchmate’s palette did not agree with the Friday menu of Mac’n’Cheese the cafeteria was serving.

    It started a chain reaction of about 25 kids BGing all over the tables…

    The nuns were for once, truly speechless.

    Wendy, congratulations for starting our own chain reaction of Opal B all over the place. I just pulled a big blob out of my ball! (Honestly, it was not the first time – I’m not professing to be a Barf Glob Virgin…)

  16. Yikes! There are barf-globs everywhere! :-0

  17. that opal is beautiful!

  18. Hey hey Wendy and everyone,

    Only posted a couple of times but thought I’d jump in and pass along a trick I learned somewhere or other. Once I get the belch out of the center, I re-wind the skien lengthwise (the long way around or sideways) instead of around the center. It pulls off the skien smoother and the skien doesn’t jump up and down while you pull extra yarn to knit. It took the gas out of burping yarn for me lol.

    Best, Thora

  19. Great tip Thora! Thanks!

  20. Thanks, Wendy! You make my day begin with a smash. I just bought some Opal. Think I will rewind it first. Thanks for the tip, Regia BG for me too. Purring for Lucy. Joan

  21. You welcome. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know why, but the jumping skien always made me as cranky as the burps. Hope you have a good day.


  22. Okay, barf-glob is my new favorite word of the day! I usually just squish the barf-globbed yarn into a ziplock bag and try to pull it out through a tiny tiny opening in the bag, generally resulting in a ton coming out at once and being eaten by the cat.

    And also, when I got my ball winder, I wound almost all the yarn I had, put the labels carefully with them, and lost a bunch when I moved. So now I have a few Mystery Yarns. Always exciting!

  23. You could always send me your yarn to rewind on my new nostepinne which winds perfect centerpull balls – the least I could do to show my appreciation for the newest version of the sock pattern.

    I couldn’t guarantee, of course, the return – could get lost in the mail (or my stash.)

    Lucy’s lookin as regal as ever.

  24. Frogner is gorgeous! Have you found anything to warn of in the pattern directions? I have made exactly one Dale sweater and it was such a mess that there were mistakes in the ‘errata’ sheet.

    Lucy is such a beauty, and she poses so nicely.

    I used Opal only once, and I pulled from the outside not the inside, so any twisting problems I had were, I assume, my own fault.

  25. Argh!!!! I am having that same problem with my current skein of Opal! (But never have before.) I usually use Regia and never have a problem. My biggest barf blob came from a Cashmere America laceweight skein and I ended up ripping the yarn trying to get a huge tangle out…. Was not a good day for me (or my hubby and kids [one human, two felines] who had witnessed my frustration).

    Lucy is just divine….

  26. I had the barf-glob problem with my current Opal skein, too. I think it’s the first time I’ve had this many BGs in 23 years of knitting! Augh!

  27. eeeeuuww-wuh! barf-globs.

    I love the “it wasn’t me this time” look on Lucy’s pretty face! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Thank you Wendy, thank you! I have some self-stripey sock wool, and I’m about to get busy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Wendy, you must be psychic! I just started your pattern for the first time and have yet to make it to the heel. Thanks for posting the revision, the pattern is working out great! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I had to come out of lurkdom to thank you for mentioning the BG – I was so sure that true knitting godesses would never have this problem.

  31. Hey maybe those barf globs have nothing to do with the original ball winding technique, but happen afterwards and are contagious like a virus or something? just a thought. the sock is absolutely gorgeous! latifa

  32. I, for one, find it very reassuring that even you, Wendy, can have trouble coaxing a skein into submission from time to time. When it happens to me, I always find myself thinking it’s to do with my basic lack of skill.

  33. I thought it was just me having that problem!

    It seems to be more of an issue with the elongated, elliptical balls than with balls that are more rounded (for example, the round Gedifra balls have never done this to me).

    and yeah, it happens to me every single time I play with sock yarn. Does not happen with most sweater/scarf yarns.

  34. Wendy, thanks for the revisions to the toe-up sock pattern. It’s very helpful for dumbheads like me who need to be given directions every step of the way. Now I feel like I can follow it, and my next pair will be toe-up. By the way, how do you get enough time to knit as much as you do??!! And what do you do with it all – keep it or give it away?

  35. swellmom says:


    Thank you for making me feel special.

    Thank you for all you share so generously on your website. I recently incorporated your cable without a cable needle technique and WOW! It is the greatest! The photos were exactly what I needed.

  36. I’m a double rarity – a bloke who works from the outside in of a skein. I pull off a lump at a time – say a yard – work on that then pull some more. I always hold the skein & that way it doesn’t roll all over the place.

    I have tried from the inside out, but hate how the damn thing collapses on me towards the end of the ball -grr.

  37. I am sorry to admit, but at my home a barf-glob is a coughed-up glob of fine wool yarn with other fibers. Some people know it as a “hair-ball” from a cat. My cat “Katie” only goes for the finest of yarn. She sniffs at plastic bags containing projects. Fortunately I’ve learned from the past to keep them closed.
    The question is why would I still have three “simonese” cats!