There are 6 stages from birth to maturity in the life of a handpainted skein of yarn. I happen to have them in all of the stages around my studio (living room) at the moment, so I thought that I would share them with you:
Stages 1 & 2: The Cone & Skein
During this stage the yarn is serene, even happy, though tightly wound. It is all grouped together in one stately mass of cones and balls, ready to go forth into the world. It is then separated from one another, cut free as it were, into skeins and thus begins its journey to find out what it really will become. (This is the 3 lb cone of tencel that will soon be skeined up and dyed for my shop in the next couple of weeks).
Stage 3: Drying
Sure there was a short lived intermediary step between here and it's skein stage of life. It was washed and colored and steamed, etc... Consider it a short lived teenage rebellion of self discovery. Now it is happy to just hang out and dry off. (These are all skeins that are going to Knot Another Hat & Woolgirl this next week)
Stage 4: Skein into ball
Now after drying out the wild child skeins need to be reorganized and rehabilitated into grown ups. Here they are partying out while waiting to become orderly balls of yarn.
Stage 5: Ball into Skein
Now that the wild childs have been rewound into grown up balls they can now wait patiently in orderly lines for their turn to be reskeined into fully formed adult yarn.
Stage 6: Mature Skein
The finished mature skein looks dignified in its existence, but don't forget that it was once a wild child and will never quite loose that wild side. It is ready to go out in the world and be made into it's final form, but only you will know what that will be.