Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Old words and new toys

I spent three hours hand winding two kilometers of laceweight the other day. I have never been so bored. Ever. It was evident that I must buy a ball winder and a swift. Decided to look for them in Norwegian shops, because it seemed like an unnecessary purchase to make from overseas shops.

But an unexpected problem arose: I didn't know the Norwegian words for ballwinder and swift. (How could I know the English words but not the Norwegian?? I blame this on Blogland.)

The only word I could think of was hespetre, which is an oldfashioned word with two meanings:

1. Describes a difficult and angry woman, a bitch
2. Some kind of oldfashioned crafts device, but I was unsure which.

Googling confirmed this impression as I got some antique shop hits and the rest concerned, well, bitches. But hespe means hank, and tre means tree (or wood) - literally a "hank tree" - does that not sound like a swift to you? How could this word evolve into a name for bitches? (So, there's an idea for my English speaking readers: If you're looking for inventive additions to the foul part of your vocabulary, why not refer to women you dislike as swifts, "I really can't stand her, she's such a swift") But I digress.

The Hobbyboden forum provided an answer: Hespetre is indeed a swift, but a more common word is garnvinne or garntvinne. With that information I found a reasonably priced swift immediately, and indirectly an inexpensive ballwinder too (nøstemaskin! Of course! Nøste = ball).

I spent hours of great fun (yes, I know, must get a life) the day they arrived, winding my entire unwound stash into neat little center pull balls:

(from left to right: Custom dyed Hipknits silk, Cherry Tree Hill supersock in the Moody Blue colourway, Cherry Tree Hill laceweight in Indian Summer colourway, black Marianne Isager Tvinni, greyish 100 % cashmere from www.pinnsvindesign.no, and the orange in front is some leftover Falkenberg shetland wool)

9 comments:

Beth S. said...

I long for a swift and a winder! I've heard they change your life. Considering how many skeins of yarn you wound up just for fun, it might be true. ;-)

Anne said...

My current swift is called John, and my winder is me - and it can all get a little bitchy at times... (nearly as stressful as when I cut his hair...)

And those balls look so cute and so neat...

karen said...

this was such interesting and fun reading!! I have contemplated alot over this too but never reached beyond the hespetre level! that these items indeed are for sale in our country amazes me. I guess they'll soon get another customer...;)

Anonymous said...

Ååååh - nå vil jeg også ha! Men jeg har et kjøpestopp-eksperiment på gang, så da må jeg prøve å få tak i det brukt i alle fall. Uansett, takk for et spennende innlegg;-) Hilsen Ingrid
www.fuglemamma.sprayblogg.no

Cassie said...

I'm sitting here laughing about the idea of calling someone a swift. Too funny. Congratulations on your purchase, its going to save many hours that you can put into your knitting.

Tracy said...

I'm going to save that one for a rainy day, hopefully when everyone has forgotten and then I can use it in the safe knowledge that no-one knows what on earth I'm talking about ;)

KnitYoga said...

I think that there must be something going on with the collective consciousness of knitters these days. Lots of us seem to have been looking for ball winders and swifts - including me!!! I'm very impressed with your neat display of centre pull balls. I have lots to wind into balls but am going to postpone buying the winder until I've knitted some of the yarn from my stash that was already wound when I bought it!

Daisy said...

Ooooh I must look out for a swift and ball winder! I love the pic of your yarn all wound up!

jacqueline said...

you know, after reading your post i was talking to kris (strikker) about this and she is an english-norwegian translater. well she didn't know the norwegian names for swift and ballwinder either.

so i wouldn't feel too bad if i was you.

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