Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Winding Yarn

Three years ago, after winding far too much sock yarn by hand, I was given a swift and ball winder as a gift. Changed my life, absolutely.

It seems like more and more yarn is only available in skeins, rather than in balls. All well and good when you have access to a swift and ballwinder - either at a friendly neighbourhood shop - or at home.

If you don't, then the resource have been known to press a chair - or a friend, husband or small child -- into service to hold the yarn while you wind a ball. It's not impossible, but just tedious.

I was teaching a class recently, and I think I frightened a student of mine. She was prepping a skein to be wound. She untwisted it, took the label off, and proceeded to start to undo the little ties of yarn that keep it in a neat skein.

All before she'd put it on the swift.

I might have barked at her. (If I did, J., you know who you are - I apologize!)

I do know I dashed across the room to forcibly stop what she was doing.

Once, a long time, ago, I used to do that. Undo all the ties before I put it on the swift. But then, once, I dropped it as I was manoeuvering to get it on the swift. The thing hit the floor in one giant tangled mess.

Needless to say, I don't do that anymore.

So, J. - I hope you weren't offended. Please know that it's all about saving your sanity - and time. Whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances, undo the ties and remove the label until the thing is safely on the swift.

Trust me, I know.


curlysheep said...

I have an umbrella swift just like the one in your photo. I do wonder, however, each time that I wind a skein, whether the yarn gets stretched at all in the winding process...and if so,whether I should grease my swift so that there is less resistance when turning. It is not "difficult" to turn by any means, but there is just more resistance using a swift than hand winding gently, the old-fashioned method. Wisehilda, do you have any comments about my concern?

Northmoon said...

I put slippery tape on my swift, Lee Valley sells it to be used on wood drawer bottoms.

I have knit directly from the skein for lace projects where I didn't want any joins. these projects are strictly done at home with the skein retwisted when I'm finished my knitting session.