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CMajor5963
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2002 :  5:14:00 PM  Show Profile Send CMajor5963 a Private Message
I bought a yarn ball winder thinking it would be helpful. It is useful, however I don't have a swift...yet. The complaint I have with the winder is that it makes the center hole is too large, especially on finer yarn. Does anyone else experience this problem or do you have a solution? I wish the company that makes the yarn winder would make a smaller spindle.

Dot
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
350 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2002 :  5:42:44 PM  Show Profile Send Dot a Private Message
Check a previous conversation on this thread. "Gadget-Phobe Succumbs." (I was the gadget-phobe; singing a different tune these days.) I succumbed to the winder and mentioned the large hole. Fran clearly explains why that large hole is a desirable thing. It's just not what we're used to when we buy balls. (FYI, a LYS near me winds a lot of their yarn from cones when you buy and you get that big hole there too.)

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chris
Permanent Resident

USA
2462 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2002 :  08:48:10 AM  Show Profile Send chris a Private Message
I've found that some of the largness of the hole goes away with time...as the yarn relaxes, I guess. What I dislike about my ball winder is that it makes a "square" ball. They just look funny. Oh well; it's better than doing it by hand.

chris

Keep on knittin', mama, knittin' those blues away!
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2002 :  3:24:34 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
If yarn is wound tightly into a ball and then knitted, the guage changes when the yarn relaxes and whatever you have knitted becomes smaller. Every once in a while you will hear a knitter moan and groan because she measured carefully, swatched for tension, knitted her sweater and it was too small. This is one of the causes and the reason yarn must be wound in a relaxed state.

It is more difficult to wind yarn in a relaxed state with a yarn winder so they put a large hole in the middle to help this. As the yarn relaxes and becomes smaller it fills in the hole. In other words the yarn is allowed to relax before using it. If you want to see a demonstration of this, wind a ball of cotton yarn and a ball of wool or acrylic, set them side by side and see what happens. Cotton usually does not relax as much as wool or acrylic. If your balls are retaining the large hole, pat yourself on the back--you have acheived an excellent tension when winding.

fran

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catwoman
New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2002 :  8:22:54 PM  Show Profile Send catwoman a Private Message
I bought a ball winder and swift about 13 years ago and don't know what I would do without it. I like to work from center-pballs so I love the big hole in the center. Another advantage to using the balls froma ball winder is that you can always find the end in the middle. I have made more messes than I care to think about trying to find ends in commercially wound balls.

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jjarachne
New Pal

6 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  02:12:52 AM  Show Profile Send jjarachne a Private Message
I have both a ball winder (ancient) and a nostepinde. The latter, if you haven't encountered one, is a Scandinavian lowtech ball winder.
Made of wood and shaped like a tapered length of fat broom handle, it produces handwound center pull balls. I find I use the noste more than I do the winder partly because I like the feel and look of the wood and partly because I am a spinner and like to ply directly from the two ended ball on the nostepinde. The other advantage to the noste is that you don't need a surface to clamp to as you do with the ball winder.
By the way, if plastic isn't your thing, Fricke makes a wooden ball winder (around $65, I think) which winds enormous balls. A couple of friends have one and love them.
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Helen
Chatty Knitter

USA
103 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  03:27:25 AM  Show Profile Send Helen a Private Message
I love my ball winder! Two things I haven't seen mentioned yet are that with the squarish cake doesn't roll all over the place and the yarn is faster to knit. It just flows from the cake to your needles. No tugging and pulling or chasing down the ball. I often rewind already wound balls because I find they have to be pulled to hard or to much while I knit. I suspect it reduces cats attention to your yarn too. Only down side I have found is don't wind ribbon yarns on them! They twist the ribbon like you wouldn't believe! I learned that from experience. I suspect they don't handle furry or yarns like Trendsetters Dune well either.
Clara mentioned that you need a swift or an extra set of hands to hold the skeined yarn from shop. I use my knees and it works fine but last weeks review on swifts convinced me that a swift was a good investment. I have a whole table of yarn waiting for the new swift to arrive.
I am not much of a gadget person but I would say that a winder is almost as important as your kneedles.
Have a great day!
Helen

I love strings
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mosesdleon@aol.com
New Pal

United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  03:29:06 AM  Show Profile Send mosesdleon@aol.com a Private Message
Hello,

I didn't come across ball winders until I met machine knitting (20 years of winding balls by hand), but am now planning to get both a winder and an umbrella swift. I found using an electronic ball winder with a swift an exciting but risky business.

I haven't run into trouble handknitting from a ball made on a ball winder, but I have had problems (beacause the yarn take up is so much faster, I think) machine knitting a rather hairy shetland which stuck to itself (and knotted), and a smooth, fine cotton, where the inside of the ball collapsed in on itself (and knotted). I suspect fine silk might be a whole lot worse but don't intend to find out.

Barbara
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KPG
New Pal

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  05:20:06 AM  Show Profile Send KPG a Private Message
I love my ball winder and will add another comment about its usefulness: when I want to knit with more than one strand of yarn at a time, I first wind each yarn by itself and then rewind the two strands together. The new ball is SO much easier to knit from than dealing with two balls at the same time. CAUTION however: be sure you truly want them together before winding them up because they're very difficult to undo (especially with wool yarns as they start to almost felt together).

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MissPooh
Angel

USA
640 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  06:31:12 AM  Show Profile Send MissPooh a Private Message
There are things I can live without but my ball winder and swift are essential tools. My husband gave them to me for Christmas a couple years ago. He got brave enough to enter the LYS all by himself! Why was that so hard since I have no trouble walking through the door of the Bass Pro Shop?

Mary Lou
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PatT
New Pal

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  06:37:23 AM  Show Profile Send PatT a Private Message
I love my ball winder and use it all the time (including transfering weaving yarn from skeins into balls for winding a warp or bobbins), so would encourage others to try one even if they don't want to invest in a swift. Though I have a swift, I rarely use it unless I'm doing a huge batch of yarn--mostly, I put the skein around the backs of two chairs (placed back-to-back) or even around my neck. I then pull off two or three rounds from the skein and wind the ball; once I get going, I can actually unwind from my neck with one hand and keep the yarn held with the other near the metal guide on the ball-winder. (Like many other yarn operations, the success of this involves keeping the cats out of the room.)
Though I'm a long-time knitter, I had never thought about the yarn relaxing in the machine-wound ball: thanks for the useful info, friends!

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K2P2
New Pal

9 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  07:58:36 AM  Show Profile Send K2P2 a Private Message
I have been sorely tempted to buy a winder - now it appears you all have made the decision for me! I am not, however, as tempted to invest in a swift. Socknitters List had this discussion earlier this year and I picked up a tip I like. I submit it for your consideration: Take the finial off a lamp whose shade increases its diameter toward the bottom. Drape your skein over the shade and wind away. The lampshade will revolve dispensing the yarn on demand. I have used this technique for handwound balls and like it just great!

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chris
Permanent Resident

USA
2462 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  08:18:37 AM  Show Profile Send chris a Private Message
Please make sure it is a heavy based lamp and UNPLUG the lamp first. To me, using something electrical for a purpose for which it was not intended is courting disaster. I can just see the lamp tipping over, the bulb breaking, etc etc. To me, the $30 - 70 for a swift would be worth the money to keep from destroying a lamp or getting hurt!

chris (the worry wart)

quote:

I have been sorely tempted to buy a winder - now it appears you all have made the decision for me! I am not, however, as tempted to invest in a swift. Socknitters List had this discussion earlier this year and I picked up a tip I like. I submit it for your consideration: Take the finial off a lamp whose shade increases its diameter toward the bottom. Drape your skein over the shade and wind away. The lampshade will revolve dispensing the yarn on demand. I have used this technique for handwound balls and like it just great!





Keep on knittin', mama, knittin' those blues away!
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BooksAngel
Chatty Knitter

USA
165 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  09:58:56 AM  Show Profile Send BooksAngel a Private Message
I bought a yarn winder years ago when I was doing a lot of crocheting. I would rather carry around and work from a small soft ball of cotton that the hard bigger cardboard centered balls that crochet cotton come on. Since then I have used it for many things including again rewinding cotton from the spools when I knit with two strands of crochet cotton for summer sleeveless tops.

They also come in handy to almost ply yarns that you want to knit with together. If the yarns are put through the ball winder together at simularly tension they will wrap together a bit making it easier to knit with the resulting yarn.

Over the years of owning both swift and ball winder, I find until I started to spin that the winder was used much more often than the swift. Now using much more handspun yarn they each see plenty of action.

If I ever design a fiber work room one of the long work tables will be set up with a swift always clamped on one end and the ball winder clamped to the other end. Using each end of a coffee table for these tools means I am always putting the winder in and out of it's box. It also means though that the stuff on the coffee table can only be piles in low heaps, which is a good thing.

Enjoy using your ball winders and always keep an eye out at garage sales for another one to share with a friend.

Angel






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cfahlman
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  1:36:39 PM  Show Profile Send cfahlman a Private Message
If anyone is interested sometimes you can get yarn winders off eBay. I just bought myself one for about $22 (which was one of the best prices I have seen for it).

I am going to set it up this weekend and try it out for the first time!!! Wish me luck

Cheryl
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CatherineM
Permanent Resident

USA
3363 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  1:43:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatherineM's Homepage Send CatherineM a Private Message
www.knitpicks.com (no affiliation, blah blah, etc. etc.) has a good basic swift and ball winder for the best price I've seen online while shopping around, save for eBay, and no shipping charge! I finally broke down and bought 'em after acquiring a couple dozen skeins of yarn at once, I just couldn't stand the thought of rolling all those things by hand. All that yarn is now in nice center-pull "cakes," my arms don't ache, and I am a convert to the world of gadgets, and I'll never go back!

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fenske@shoal.net.au
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  3:53:34 PM  Show Profile Send fenske@shoal.net.au a Private Message
G'day to all: I am incredibly fortunate, have had a swift/ball winder
combo for years. The swift was one of those metal and plastics ones
that look like a feral brolly. But got the Gaffer's pattern (thanks
Meg) and my husband made it up for me - beautiful! Ernst also made me a really handsome nostepinde - believe it or not, it looks like a
rare and exotic timber, but he turned it up from, wait for it, a broom handle!

If I have to deal with a lot of yarn, I use the swift/winder team, but if I am just rescuing yarn from the frog pond, the nostepinde is fine.

The main reason I was dissatisfied with the metal and plastic swift had nothing to do with its efficiency (it worked!) but the fact that my mother had a wooden swift, made by her father, and wood is always nicer than metal and plastic!
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gailknit@rochester.rr.com
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  4:03:48 PM  Show Profile Send gailknit@rochester.rr.com a Private Message
I, too, love ball winders. I've used one for years with a swift to make yarn balls that pull from the middle. I can't imagine living my knitting life without it. Recently, I purchased an electric ball twister which combines and twists two yarns into one. It's been fun learning to use it and combining yarns. So far, I've twisted various colors of Cravenella together to create a DK yarn for a side to side striped short sleeved top. The front is done and looks great! Now I'm eyeing my yarn collection (not a stash--a collection!) with the idea of twisting. I've had an Anny Blatt DK wool in kind of a gun metal blue (boring) that might just look terrific twisted with fine mohair in a lighter blue. My creative instincts are in full bloom as a result of having this winder/twister. Yes, it's expensive, but knitting is one of the few things left that I can do and enjoy---and please others at the same time. My advice to all who want to work our craft with ease---indulge in a winder and a swift, and don't forget there are electric twisters out there too!
Gail
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phlame
Permanent Resident

USA
1553 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  4:40:52 PM  Show Profile Send phlame a Private Message
I'm a little slow on finding this topic, but has anyone mentioned that the large hole in the center of the ball of yarn is great for feeding the yarn from the center rather than the outside. This keeps it from rolling around on the floor so your cats can play with it!

I have both a yarn winder and a swift...plus a yarn twister. I couldn't be without any of them. If I had to wind the yarn by hand, I would probabaly quit knitting by now.

Shirley

Too much is not enough!
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Dot
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
350 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  5:01:16 PM  Show Profile Send Dot a Private Message
I just spent an afternoon at my knitting buddy's, with her two new kittens. My center-pull ball, wound from skeins using my swift and ball-winder (the current loves of my life), was tucked away in my little bag. The kitties were briefly engaged with my cast-on tail, but they never ever noticed the secreted gold mine of yarn which glided beautifully out of the bag held close to my body.

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kepkake
Chatty Knitter

USA
251 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2002 :  5:50:05 PM  Show Profile Send kepkake a Private Message
OK, I would really like a ball winder. I have a question. How much yarn can you get in a ball? I'd like to wind Mountain Colors Weaver's Quarters...the yarn I'm currently addicted to...into balls. Would I have to cut it (gasp!) into two balls? Thanks for any replies. By the way, CatherineM was right about Knitpicks.com being the cheapest place to get one (aside from ebay). Thanks for the link!

Wendy
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