About a year ago, I took a class at my LYS with Kirsten Kapur on lace design. I did some charting in the weeks that followed and even bought a skein of sock yarn for the intended design but never got around to knitting it. Last night, I decided the time was right. I pulled out my chart, the yarn, and a pair of needles and got to work.
About 20 or so rows in, though, I discovered a spot in the yarn where most of the strand appeared to be broken or cut. I didn't think much of it (I tinked back to the beginning of the row, broke the yarn at the weak spot, and carried on, planning to weave in the ends later) until I looked at the yarn cake and saw what appeared to be several strands that were in the same condition. Immediately, I panicked a bit. While a single cut could have been a fluke -- the yarn could have caught on something or been inadvertently snipped when I was cutting off the ties to wind it -- several breaks in the same spot suggested that something had been nibbling on it.
Fortunately, the dreaded spot was isolated to one spot near the outside of the cake and I was able to wind off the affected yarn and carry on. I'm also lucky that this yarn (Done Roving Yarns Frolicking Feet) comes in a very generous 480 yards per skein. I weighed everything and what was left after I pulled off the nibbled part, and it appears I still have a good 450 yards, which should be enough for this shawlette.
I also immediately inspected the other yarn that was in the same bag as this skein and put it into Ziploc bags. I didn't see any damage to any other skeins, and it's possible that this particular skein was attacked when it was sitting out on the radiator in my bedroom for several months (I had hoped that seeing it every day would inspire me to get moving with the design). I'll admit that I'm perhaps not as proactive as I could be in keeping my yarn inaccessible to things that like to nibble on it, but I've been lucky thus far. Here's hoping that my luck continues.
In the meantime, I've made a bit of a start on the second attempt at the shawl, and it's working out lovely so far. My (perhaps overambitious) goal is to have this done to wear it to MDSW, though that might be pushing it considering that we'll be away for much of next week and it will not be a trip that's conducive to lace knitting!