I am contrary in so many ways, as a knitter. (Well, ok, in the rest of my life, too.)
And one of the biggest points of contrariness in my knitting life is on the issue of how to pull the yarn from the ball.
You know: do you pull from the centre or the outside?
Many, many knitters pull from the centre. They've been told - by books, by wise grandmothers, by other knitters - that pulling from the inside is the One True Way. Naturally, I do it differently. I pull from the outside. (Gasp of horror.)
Oh yes, if the ball is perfectly wound, and the yarn is nice and smooth and not too sticky, pulling from the inside is great. The ball doesn't roll around in your bag. It stays compact, and clean and convenient.
All lovely. I can definitely appreciate all of those benefits.
And yet. I pull from the outside.
I like to claim it's pragmatism. I'm beginning to wonder if it's paranoia.
There are things I like doing, and things I don't like doing. Knitting - love it, of course. Writing patterns - yup, love it. Charting, even. Love it.
In the "not so much love" category, however, falls the task of untangling knotted yarns. I would rather undergo dental surgery than untangle a huge hopeless mess of a tangle. One badly tangled ball is too many for me.
Just this week I watched a customer at one of my LYSs spend nearly two hours untangling a mis-wound ball of sticky laceweight yarn that she had tried to pull from the centre.
Sometimes it tangles right at the start. I've watched knitters spend 15 minutes of a 2 hour class fighting with the yarn barf before they can start knitting. (Come on, doesn't the fact that it's called Yarn Barf tell you something?)
Sometimes it tangles partway through, or as you approach the end of the ball.
And most times, it doesn't tangle at all.
But I really really really don't like untangling. So it's all about risk management for me. I am willing to compromise those wonderful benefits so that I don't have to waste a single moment untangling.