New Toys!

Having just acquired several beautiful new hanks of yarn from the 2017 MN Yarn Shop Hop, I faced a lot of time winding yarn into usable shapes. That meant it was high time to investigate yarn winders and swifts. After a couple weeks of research and pondering, my early birthday present arrived (thanks Mom and Dad!).

My new toys are the KnitPicks ball winder and the PingQian umbrella swift. They make a great team – mostly easy to use and easy to store too.

I say mostly easy to use because we didn’t bother to read the ball winder’s instructions completely when we tried to wind the first skein. It should have been self-explanatory, right? Thread the end of the yarn through the metal arm, attach it to the center column, and start turning the handle. We didn’t realize that the metal arm had a notch to hold it in place, and that a slower pace helps.

That extra knowledge could have helped us avoid about an inch of yarn getting caught and eaten by the base of the winder. It also would have helped us make a more nicely-shaped yarn cake. The second attempt, done after re-reading the instructions, turned out much better.

Pictured are the yarn from Darn. Knit. {Anyway} on the swift (those colors! 😍) and partially wound into a yarn cake.

I haven’t wound all of the new yarn into cakes yet. The yarns from Lakeside Yarn and Amazing Threads are still waiting their turn. Overall, I am very happy with the winder and swift, and the neat center-pull yarn cakes they produce.

The downside is that it’s easy to go overboard with your winding. I went a bit crazy and now my winding arm is extremely achy. I allow myself about four rows at a time if I absolutely can’t stay away from my knitting. The rest of the time, I try to rest my arm, ice it if need be, and work on other non-knitting projects. Not easy to do, but worth it in the end to avoid total injury.


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