Every day is a winding road…

I know lately all we’ve been seeing here are Confessions, WIPs, and Stash Dives. I realize I haven’t posted a Technique Tuesday in a good while. Partially because I haven’t had any cool techniques I’ve wanted to talk about or that I felt I could demonstrate.

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So for today, as I am running out of wound yarn for my Twist Vest, I thought I would show you how I wind more yarn using an umbrella swift & ball winder.

Step 1: Remove adorable Sis from your work space.

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Even if she protests.

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But for real, you need to gather a few items first like your yarn, ball winder, swift, and some scissors. Be sure you have a table that is not too thick so you can easily clamp the pieces onto it.

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Step 2: Clamp your swift and ball winder to the table.

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I usually have the swift around the corner from the ball winder. I like to have about 2 feet in between the swift & winder.

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I like the keep the winder about 18 inches from the corner of the table to give me enough room between the swift when it is opened up and the leading arm into the ball winder.

Step 3: Prepare your yarn.

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I like to open up the hank and make sure there aren’t any weird surprises like lots of little ties with tricky knots. Also, I like to keep the ties in place until I have the loop on the swift. This helps keep it all together until you are ready to wind and prevents any stray loops from getting wrapped up in the base of the swift or from getting tangled up with other loops.

Step 4: Place your yarn on the swift & open it.

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I like to have the swift slightly opened when I drape the loop of yarn over it. I keep a decent amount of tension on the loop so it doesn’t slip down too low. Try to keep your loop near the center of the swift where the sticks cross over each other.

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While maintaining tension on your loop of yarn, “open” up the umbrella by pushing up. I like to push up on the bottom part of the umbrella and then raise up the little piece that keeps it open to the right width. I don’t open it too much so that the yarn is super stretched out. I leave just a touch of slack in the loop so that the umbrella will spin freely.

Step 4: Find the ties and eliminate (!) them.

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I like to find the knots in the ties and pull them out. Usually, ones like this with 4 strands leading into it will contain your ends of the loop. I have seen hanks that only have ties with 2 ends leading in that contain the ends.

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I usually try to untie the knots. These were pretty tight so I simply snipped them off. I pulled out the little tie part and found the ends.

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I continued around the loop and found another tie. It only had 2 strands leading in. I snipped this one and removed it. I try to make sure that my loop is lying flat and the strand as it unwinds will not have to go inside and outside the loop. I work my way around the loop ensuring there are no twists and the strand is coming from the outside of the loop.

Step 5: Thread through the leading arm of the ball winder and secure on the bobbin.

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I usually rest my elbow on the table and put a light amount of tension on the strand as it is coming off the swift and onto the ball winder.

Step 6: Wind!!

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I always turn the handle away from me. I’m not sure why. When I worked at McNeedles a few summers ago, I was taught that way and have never had any troubles when I turn the handle away from my body. Throughout the process, I keep light tension on the yarn and turn the handle at a steady rate.

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If you turn the handle at an unsteady rate, you can get loops that form waaaaaay below the bottom of the ball and that will give you weird-o loops when you remove it from the winder. Those can get tangled with your working yarn when you are knitting. If I notice these when I’m winding, I usually pull back to where they were formed and rewind the yarn.

I tried to shoot a video of this. It’s not awesome but it can show you how I try to keep a steady pace when turning the handle and tension on the yarn between the swift and winder. Just follow this link. (The noise from the leaf blower outside and the ball winder are a little loud :D)

Yarn Winding Video

Here is the Twist Vest so far that I needed to wind more yarn for. I’m loving the way the Inca Gold is knitting up. It’s sooooo springy!!!!

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Hope this was helpful!

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

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4 thoughts on “Every day is a winding road…

    1. I bought mine pretty cheap a few years ago since I was traveling and buying yarn and didn’t always want to have it wound right then. They are holding up for now, but I was listening to a podcast by the Knitmore Girl’s where they reviewed them and they had some great thing to say (episode 300) πŸ™‚

  1. I’m fluent with my yarn winder and swift now, but I remember totally stumped I was the first time I was directed to the winding station at a LYS and left alone! Wish I could have read this then. Great, straightforward tutorial for first-timers.

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