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 Let's talk about swifts and winders!
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2013 :  08:05:37 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a table top swift that I like and a wooden ball winder that is clearly possessed--I end up with a horrible snarled nest in the middle of every single ball of yarn I wind.

I'd like to replace at least the winder soon. What winders have you all had good luck with? I'd prefer a wooden one, and I'd like a relatively large capacity since I have a thing for Briar Rose yarns and Chris makes such generous skeins. I've heard good things about Nancy's Knit Knacks.

I'm toying with the idea of getting a swift that can hold longer hanks of yarn. Do you have any absolute favorites that would talk me into trading up?

And, most importantly, if I do find a great wooden winder, how can I pass on my possessed winder in good conscience? Is a warning enough, or do I need to demonstrate the scale of its evil deeds? Would it be best to put it out of its misery?

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LJ
Permanent Resident

USA
1939 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2013 :  09:35:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit LJ's Homepage Send LJ a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I worked in a LYS we had one from Nancy's Knit Knacks for a good 3 years. It wound a lot of yarn! Still in working condition when we closed.

At one time it began winding wonky skeins. They were able to tell us over the phone how to make adjustments and were ready to send a new one if that didn't work.

As for Swifts....we probably went through 2 a year. I don't remember the brand but they were not the best.

Linda in Va

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kkknitter
Seriously Hooked

699 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2013 :  11:42:41 AM  Show Profile Send kkknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Whatever you do don't get the wooden swift sold by Knit Picks. The screw that comes with their swift does't grip the shaft well enough to keep the swift from collapsing while you use it.

Kristina
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purlthis
Permanent Resident

USA
2754 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2013 :  6:35:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit purlthis's Homepage Send purlthis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love my Royal small blue and white winder. I've got a heavy based wood table top swift that stands on it's own. Wouldn't trade either one!

Rachel
------------------------------------------------------
As I get older, I prefer to knit. Tracey Ullman
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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4387 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2013 :  7:14:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Good question, Lanea. You and I talked about ball winders already -- I'm satisfied with my blue plastic Royal, which replaced my really old red plastic Royal, whose handle finally fell off. As for a swift, I'm still cranking away on the Glimakra umbrella swift I bought in 1978. It's been through a lot, and all I've had to replace are the linen ties (and some of the originals are still there!). I know they're expensive, but they're so adjustable and compact and beautiful -- plus, 35 years of loyal service says something, too!

I think my investment in good tools -- needles, swifts, winders, etc. -- is as important to my being a good knitter as my investment in good yarn.

Jane

Betty deserves everything and more: Make a Donation
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Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1790 Posts

Posted - 11/15/2013 :  7:51:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you have champagne taste (or really big skeins), look into the Strauch ball winder. My DH bought me one last summer, and it is wonderful. Very smooth running, and if you wind a lot of yarn, it could well be worth the price.

As for swifts, I have one of those cheap, plastic-coated wire jobs that I bought in the early 90s, and it's still working. The shaft got a little grooved at one point, but my DH, a mechanical engineer, took a look at it and got it going again.

I still have a small a plastic ball winder, which DH also checked when it wasn't working quite right. It still works fine,and now I have it for traveling in the car with my knitting (although it would be better to wind all the yarn before the trip!).

HTH,

Ceil
(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
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llmcguire
Warming Up

USA
61 Posts

Posted - 11/16/2013 :  08:00:36 AM  Show Profile Send llmcguire a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This has happened to me as well. I'm not sure how the whole thing works to keep the yarn on the post and at an angle, (physics of some sort, I'm sure) but I found worked for me was keeping a steady pull on the swift with the ball winder. If for some reason I slowed down or sped up the yarn would catch or something on the post and get all messed and nesty. I found this usually happened in the beginning as I'm just starting the winding process and trying to find my winding groove. If I get all jerky I get nests, if I remain steady and calm, I get gorgeous yarn cake. (I wonder if there is a meaning to life in that statement?) The swift I have is a table top wooded one from Hornshaw Woodworks of Holland, MI and I, too, have the blue Royal ball winder. I hope this helps!
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1251 Posts

Posted - 11/16/2013 :  11:08:52 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like my handmade MamaBear swift, by Oregon Woodworker, on Etsy. It's not a "champagne taste" as Ceil puts it, it's utilitarian, but feels really well made. It's smooth, sturdy, puts up and breaks down fast, and is easy to store, and has peg settings for different skein sizes, the biggest being about 66" in diameter. There are longer pegs for bigger skeins. I think it would hold a fat Briar Rose skein, but if not, the PapaBear swift is even bigger. It's not a deluxe job like that incredible wooden swift at the retreat (whose was that? It's amazing.) but I liked that it was wooden, handmade by a small business owner, and relatively affordable.

This is an interesting thread. I have a compact plastic ball winder that I'm not happy with, so I'm keeping my eyes out here. (:

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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Shelia
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USA
2363 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2013 :  08:24:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'll join Lanea in hating the Strauch ball winder. I had one for a couple of years that made horrible messy balls, but kept wanting to like it because I have a Strauch drum carder that I absolutely love. Finally I tried the NKK jumbo wooden winder at a retreat and admitted that I needed to make a change. The Srauch was just very finicky and the NKK winder so easy and painless! My old one went as a guild raffle prize and contributed to the scholarship fund.

I have a large Glimakra wooden swift that I love, but also have a Mama Bear swift for travel. I agree with Robinstephanie, it is very nice, and I retrofitted it with a counter. Now they are available with and without counters, but not when I got mine. Well made and comes in a bag which is very handy.

Shelia
www.breezyridgestudio.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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robinstephanie
Permanent Resident

USA
1251 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2013 :  11:36:46 AM  Show Profile Send robinstephanie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow, that Nancy's Knit Knacks wooden ball winder is beautiful. Wish I could afford it--love that it's manufactured in America. I just told my boyfriend, "If anyone asks what I want for Christmas or my birthday..."

While I was on the Nancy's site, Lanea, I saw several versions of some pretty serious wooden swifts that would handle Briar Rose skeins, no doubt.

Has anyone used the Fricke wooden ball winder? It's based on the same model as the Strauch.

Robinsteph

Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
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Luann
Permanent Resident

USA
2670 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2013 :  11:28:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Luann's Homepage Send Luann a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm kind of in love with that wooden swift from the retreat - first time I've used it. I don't really like my cheap metal umbrella swift, but.Little Luann loves messing around with it so it will do for now.

Knit and let knit!
http://www.luannocracy.blogspot.com
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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2013 :  05:21:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My possessed winder is indeed a Strauch. I've tried adjusting the angle of the spool and adjusting other things, but I still get a mess in eery ball.

I'll look into the Glimakra swifts and Nancy's winders.

See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.com/
Read my audiobook reviews: http://booksforears.com/
Buy handmade sock knitting bags: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5031570
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Shelia
Permanent Resident

USA
2363 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2013 :  08:46:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shelia's Homepage Send Shelia a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Fricke is pretty much the same as the Strauch, and has the same issues for most of us. I'm happy that some folks like it and that it works for them, but I am just not one of those lucky few. Another issue I had is that you can't really stop and restart while winding a large ball. Sometimes the phone rings! Then another nest of snarling would happen.

Yes, the Nancy ball winder is an investment, but I love mine and imagine it will outlive me.

Shelia
www.breezyridgestudio.com
ravelry name - sheliaknits
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shellyg
New Pal

19 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2013 :  4:26:06 PM  Show Profile Send shellyg a Private Message  Reply with Quote
DH gifted me a Hornshaw swift a few years ago, that I absolutely love. It's just gorgeous, beautifully made, works perfectly, packs up compactly. You can see the different options of wood types offered on their website.
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jaymeKnits
Permanent Resident

USA
1350 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2013 :  1:56:17 PM  Show Profile  Send jaymeKnits a Yahoo! Message Send jaymeKnits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lanea,
When it comes time for a new swift you should deinately shop local. Turnstyles is in your neighborhood and makes beautiful squirrel cage swifts. I LOVE mine. You are welcome to come by and try it out anytime.

Jayme

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Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/25/2013 :  09:57:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks Jayme--I'll check them out.

See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.com/
Read my audiobook reviews: http://booksforears.com/
Buy handmade sock knitting bags: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5031570
Join the KR Webring: http://www.crazylanea.com/fiberarts/2006/07/the_knitters_re.html
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