Monday, May 19, 2008


More yarn tools came over the weekend. I am now the proud owner of a skein winder and a ball winder. When the yarn shows up, I'll be ready for it!
The ball winder is a Strauch Jumbo ball winder. It is well made, attractive, and very smooth to operate. It's everything I hoped it would be. I adore it.

Then, the next day, my skein winder arrived. I was ten kinds of excited about this, especially once the ball winder arrived and I kind of needed something really great and smooth to feed the yarn to it. You may notice the balls of yarn in the photo above are a little loose--that's because I made them by unfurling the skeins on the counter and just letting the ball winder pull the yarn up from that. It works much better with a skein winder/swift.
So the swift arrived to much rejoicing. I got it from ScottsMountainCrafts on Etsy. It's the upright one called "Solid Oak Yarn Swift," and I wanted to buy it as soon as I saw it, but I felt compelled to do a little more research first, and then they sold out! (I guess I'm not the only one who saw that ad on Ravelry!) But they listed more, so I snapped one up.

I actually found the construction to be a little disappointing. The wood isn't all that smooth--it should have been sanded more, in my opinion--and the holes for the pegs still had little wood splinters attached from the drilling process. Worse, the design is such that when you wind a lot of yarn in one direction, the nuts that hold the arms on get looser and looser until the whole thing wobbles. When you wind a lot in the other direction, the nuts get tighter and tighter until it won't turn. This is going to be extremely annoying in a production situation where I'm winding tons of yarn for dyeing. But my dad and husband each have a plan to solve this (lock washers and some kind of blue spray stuff), so I think it will work out ok. For the price, (about $50 plus shipping) I still think it's a decent deal. If you want professional-grade equipment, I guess you just have to shell out the dough for professional-grade equipment. But I was expecting better from this. Even for home use, that nut business would get really annoying.
In any event, I had a lot of fun winding yarn into balls and back into skeins and back into balls. One concern I had about this type of skein winder versus the infinitely adjustable kind (like the Ashford skeinwinder) was that I might have some weird in-between size of yarn skein that wouldn't work with any of the peg configurations. That's totally not a problem. If you arrange the pegs at the closest size to the circumference of the skein, it will be within two inches of the actual size, which is plenty close enough. No problem.
I even managed to wind some of my active singles off of my homemade lazy kate onto the skein winder and then onto the ball winder. (I was afraid it would be too much tension going straight from the kate to the ball, and I didn't want to stretch my yarn all out.) As a result, I was able to start my crazy skew scarf!

I'm so excited about this. I wound a ball of the white singles, too. And doesn't this look so official, like something a real knitter would be packing around? I guess I've made the big time, ha ha!
I figured I'd start with a few rows of garter, then do a row or two of stockinette for skew, then maybe some crochet. I don't really have a plan yet, but I love how the colors are coming out. And the wool is so soft and glorious. Love it!

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