Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yarn-winding gadgets

I have bought a couple of knitting gadgets. They are a little out of the ordinary, making them blog-worthy. Of course, the Royal ball winder mounted on the top of the swift below is not unusual. I was lucky to find it at our guild's stash sale for $5. Once I had it, I was motivated to buy the squirrel-cage swift I had been wanting since I'd seen one in Taos last fall.

I splurged and bought the maple. It is very attractive. I'm not overly happy with how it works, but my main complaint is due to the nature of squirrel-cage swifts. They have the advantage of taking up very little space and of being free-standing. However, while winding, the yarn travels over the squirrel cages. This produces a good deal of friction. Most other swifts move while the yarn stays in place. The first time I used this swift, I wound a yarn that was very soft. At the end, I had fuzz everywhere--all over the swift, all over me...a mess.

I decided to try a tightly twisted, durable sock yarn next. It wound just fine, but was a little too tight. It was hard to get it off the post of the winder. I didn't mind that, since I usually wind twice to relieve the tension created by the swift. This time, I had another useful gadget to help me with the re-wind.

This is a yarn holder. It incorporates a lazy susan and is just the thing for avoiding adding twist to yarn when you are unwinding. That's right, you are not supposed to pull yarn from the center of a center-pull ball. Doing so adds twist. Even pulling from the outside of a ball adds some twist to the yarn.

This device allows the yarn ball to rotate freely, so that the yarn pulls off without twisting. I am very happy with how well it works. When I wind from it to the ball winder, it spins at warp speed but still doesn't add too much tension. I also use it when I knit socks. I'm so happy that I don't need to stop knitting and hold the sock in the air to let it twist out the kinks in the yarn!

If you want one of these, they are available on line, in all forms. I bought mine at the Estes Park Fiber Festival, from this vendor. However, it actually came from this fellow, who has an Etsy shop. I messaged him through Etsy and got a quick response. I'm thinking of ordering the small yarn swift attachment that goes with this yarn holder.

There are all kinds of yarn holders available on line. I've even seen some made from plastic cd's rather than lazy susans. I ordered the swift from Kirtland's Yarn Barn. Their service was great. The swift was exactly what I wanted. It works, it sits in a very small space, and it is pretty. I just won't wind loosely-spun singles on it.

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1 comment:

Wool Winder said...

Two interesting yarn gadgets I'd not seen before. I might have to get a yarn holder one day.