Whenever I'm doing stranded colorwork, there's always a problem of keeping the balls of yarn intact without getting the dreaded tangle of spaghetti from both ends of the yarn cake. I was just about to start the two color section of the Color Affection Shawl when I realized I needed something to keep the yarn cakes from tangling.
There are several things out in the market that help you keep your yarn cakes tidy, including everything from ziplock bags to coffee cans to plastic containers. Sometimes, I personally use old pantyhose, which work just as well, but I couldn't find the ones I had already previously cut up to use.
Necessity was the mother of invention, and you come up with an AHA moment. This time around, I was realized that my (non-handknit) sock drawer) contained some old (clean) gym socks that had a few holes that I had been meaning to upcycle.
Normally, I would use these as rags, but I realized I could probably re-use a portion of the sock for something much more useful. So, I cut off the ribbed cuff a little bit past where the ribbing ended.
I used my serger to "serger" one of the socks and my machine to do a simple zigzag stitch on the matching pair to see which held up better. Then I slipped it onto my yarn cakes.
So far, it seems to work very well. I've been knitting on my color affection in this manner, and the yarn stays pretty tidy. I very much like the idea of upcycling old items that you would normally discard in some manner for more useful and practical applications.
I know that a lot of people like "cute" items that are a specific use for a given task, which is fine, but I find that I much prefer to re-use something than purchase a task-specific thing-a-ma-bob for the job.
I've also been playing very much with the kittens and trying to teach them that yarn is NOT a plaything. My previous cats couldn't care less about yarn and I could leave a project with no fear of it being tangled. So I'm teaching my new kittens this lesson as well.
Of course, there's also the obligatory kitten pictures :-D