Following a fairly intense period during which many hanks made even more balls, I have come to the conclusion that a dedicated human helper or a yarn swift is required. It wasn't so much the hanks of silk, slippery though it is, that were the issue. And I really though that the mohair would be the deal-breaker - but even that paled into insignificance next to two hanks of Filatura di Crossa 's Centolavaggi.
This yarn was originally purchased at the Wool Baa in Albert Park, Victoria on one of my whistle-stop tours because it was such a glorious shade of red-orange I couldn't let it stay there (plus there were numerous options for its use for a project from Victorian Lace Today!) The problem is it is laceweight and long and in hanks.
It was the last of my yarn in hanks that I had a "hankering" (sorry about that) to wind up. It was late, heading towards midnight on Friday and I had to do it then didn't I. Knew it would end in tears but that didn't matter, it would be done. The first one - teased out over the knees went slowly and with a couple of hiccoughs but it wasn't until the last little bit that I ended up breaking the thread due to a particularly difficult knot. So the finished products are one large and one tiny ball from that hank.
Hank the second - screams could have issued from the room except that it was now closer to 1am and HMV was in bed asleep. I spoke to it (yes, it happens!). I cajoled but the knot wouldn't budge and I had to retire defeated - for now. I covered the remaining unwound yarn with a cloth so that stray cat claws wouldn't tangle the rest worse than I had.
Saturday - couldn't face the yarn issue. Went and had a relaxing pedicure - only for the foot massage you understand - and proceeded to knitting in the city @ Borders. Managed to secure some beautiful yarn for my Ravelry purple swap - yay! By the time I arrived home, Mum was there collecting her now neatly balled yarn and preparing for a night out on the tiles. I co-opted her assistance to complete the task - tame human, also a knitter who can appreciate the agony of the hank.
It was - how shall I put it - an interesting session to say the least. Once we had beaten the remainder of the hank into submission, Mum counted no fewer than 10 odd lengths that had been included with it. I initially thought I must have accidentally caught the yarn with my scissors when I removed the ties the night before (it was very late and I was very tired). Every time we thought we had just two ends - the one on the ball winder and the other end - another one or two or more appeared to tangle and confuse. I've never had this happen before and don't know of anyone else who has but I now have three balls and numerous ends ranging in length from 10cm up to 40cm or so. Curiouser and curiouser....:)