Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Go Swiftly

I finally went ahead and bought a yarn swift and ball winder. I typically use yarn that is DK gauge or bulkier, but I bought lace-weight yarns for my first few weaving projects.

My pile o' lace-weight yarn, four of which are in skeins.

If you're not familiar with the weights of yarns, lace-weight yarn is basically thread... I'm also discovering that I probably shouldn't have picked it for my first weaving projects, but live and learn. The skeins are those twists of yarn on the right which need to be wound before they can be used.

The umbrella swift and ball winder.

Anyway, where I can wind a skein of bulkier weight yarn into a ball by draping it around my knees or around a chair back, the lace-weight yarn wound up in a gigantic knot both times I tried. I had to throw some away because there was no way I was going to spend hours and hours untangling it.

So that's where the swift, which is that wooden thing that opens like an umbrella (which is why it's actually called an "umbrella swift," go figure) and the little hand-cranked ball winder come in. They make quick, neat work of winding skeins into balls.

You open the skein, drape it around the swift, and adjust the tension...

Thread the yarn through the holder of the ball winder, wrap it once or twice around the center and you're off.

What would have taken me at least an hour took me a few minutes. I happen to think that the old-fashioned implements of fiber-arts are beautiful, plastic ball-winders aside. Umbrella swifts were designed long ago by the Swedes and they can't be made better. No, electric swifts and ball-winders would not be better. In my humble opinion electric-powered tools for fiber arts miss the point and lack the charm. It's a hand-craft for Pete's sake!

There's a perfectly wound ball of yarn, ready to be wound onto a shuttle.

TA-DAH! Winding done! Until I buy more yarn that is.

I'm happy with the purchase and I really can't recommend them highly enough if you process lots of yarn, which I do.

My first weaving project is progressing nicely-ish. It's almost done and it looks... uh... it looks like a first project. More on that soon.


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