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appercat
01-02-2011, 05:57 PM
Ok, maybe I've missed the link of a previous discussion.

My question is for all you seasoned knitters, are yarn ballers worth the money? If so, what brand, etc...

I have been knitting off and on for a year and half now, and always just use the skein. Usually about the end of the skein is when it gets all tangled and then I end up just handballing the rest (kinda backwards.. I Know :teehee: ).. wondering if I should be winding them all before I start the project, would it save time/frustration/etc?

Thanks!!!!

suzeeq
01-02-2011, 06:17 PM
I'd rather wind by hand than spend the money on a winder, and sometimes, they wind the yarn too tight. If it's a center pull skein I don't bother winding at all except for the little bit at the end, which doesn't get tangled for me, just all floppy. I only wind the hank skeins.

Shandeh
01-02-2011, 06:48 PM
I use my ball winder a LOT.

I can buy fancy hanks of yarn at the yarn shop, and just bring them home to wind into balls later. I don't wind them until I use them, so if I have yarn leftover, I can sell it in it's original form on Ravelry.

Also, I'm learning to spin yarn, and like making yarn "cakes" with my finished yarn.

In addition, I sometimes unravel thrift store sweaters, and the winder is perfect for helping with that.
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1073/689024792_da186b2cff.jpg

appercat
01-02-2011, 07:47 PM
Thanks guys... maybe it's a 'birthday' gift idea for the future. Specially if I get more involved in knitting. Taking a break today, did too much yesterday I think. Arm is sore.. LOL. Plus, it doesn't mix with work when I do too much... But can't seem to shut the brain off on that part!

Jan in CA
01-02-2011, 08:38 PM
They are called ball winders. If you buy a lot of yarn in hanks (the figure eight type skeins) then it's probably worth it. I usually have the yarn store wind them or I wind them by hand.

cacunn
01-02-2011, 09:03 PM
I'd rather wind by hand than spend the money on a winder, and sometimes, they wind the yarn too tight.

As Suzeeq says it is easy to wind to tight on a ball winder. I will wind a ball from the original source and then rewind it again taking the yarn from the outside of the ball. I you wind from the center pull there is tension on the yarn and may stretch the yarn. By rewinding from the outside the tension is less. This gives you yarn that has the most loft I can get.

Ingrid
01-02-2011, 09:37 PM
I find that since the ball winder has a large center, when you pull off the wound yarn, it has a chance to relax. It makes, as Sandy said, cakes of yarn with a flat top and bottom so it stays put when you knit with it.

My swift and ball-winder spend more time at the dining room table than I do!:teehee:

Breezed
01-02-2011, 10:54 PM
there's a difference between a swift and ball winder?

Jan in CA
01-02-2011, 11:01 PM
there's a difference between a swift and ball winder?

The swift holds the yarn, the ball winder winds the yarn into a ball.

RuthieinMaryland
01-03-2011, 12:44 AM
Hi!

A couple of years ago at Christmas my husband bought me a yarn swift and ball winder. Or rather he let me do my own shopping since he's clueless about knitting treasures!

Always look for sales. Yarn swifts are pricey but you can catch good sales on them if you exercise some patience and vigilance! Which I did....like a cat at a mousehole! But when I finally pounced I got a great deal, saved about $30+. For the ball winder, I had a coupon for AC Moore for 40% of any one item at retail price. The winder they had is a nice one that works well and it was about $40, so I saved $16 and got it for $24. Also, I was shopping in Delaware and there's no sales tax there.

Although I don't use them that often, they are both items that come in VERY handy when you do need them. They're invaluable for winding yarn from "hanks", and I often use my ball winder when I get stuck with tangles in the middle of a center pull skein. Grrrrrrrrrr! one of my pet peeves!

(The swift is that umbrella looking thingy that attaches to your table that you can adjust to fit various sizes of yarn that comes wound in hanks rather than balls. Looking at a picture of it will give you a better idea than my lame description!)

Good luck with your decisions on these things. Let us know how it goes!

Ruthie :hug:

Shandeh
01-03-2011, 07:11 AM
My swift and ball-winder spend more time at the dining room table than I do!:teehee:
Mine too! :roflhard:

there's a difference between a swift and ball winder?
This is a swift:
http://www.knittersreview.com/images/tools/swift3.jpg
(And here's a nice review of swifts on Knitter's Review (http://www.knittersreview.com/article_tool.asp?article=/review/product/091112_a.asp))

This is a ball-winder:
http://ak1.ostkcdn.com/images/products/3/P11436514.jpg
(with another good Knitter's Review article (http://www.knittersreview.com/article_tool.asp?article=/review/profile/020822_a.asp))

They work together for winding those big hanks. You put the hank on the swift, and untie the little ties that were added by the spinner (or manufacturer), then you pull out the beginning strand of yarn and attach that to your ball winder. Then, you wind the ball winder, while the swift spins round and round.

Here's a video of someone using both:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahnTc7ocTOA

Shandeh
01-03-2011, 07:17 AM
I got my ball winder for a really great price on eBay. I just kept watching the auctions, and would make low bids on them. After a few weeks of patient bidding, I got my winder for about $8 (including shipping).

The seller had listed the winder in the wrong category on eBay, and called it by the wrong name. It was probably listed by a person that knew nothing about yarn. Lucky for me! cloud9

Breezed
01-03-2011, 09:13 AM
Mine too! :roflhard:


This is a swift:
http://www.knittersreview.com/images/tools/swift3.jpg
(And here's a nice review of swifts on Knitter's Review (http://www.knittersreview.com/article_tool.asp?article=/review/product/091112_a.asp))

This is a ball-winder:
http://ak1.ostkcdn.com/images/products/3/P11436514.jpg
(with another good Knitter's Review article (http://www.knittersreview.com/article_tool.asp?article=/review/profile/020822_a.asp))

They work together for winding those big hanks. You put the hank on the swift, and untie the little ties that were added by the spinner (or manufacturer), then you pull out the beginning strand of yarn and attach that to your ball winder. Then, you wind the ball winder, while the swift spins round and round.


Ah now I get it! I knew each was for winding but I wasn't sure how one related to the other and how it all worked exactly. This was good example.

CRowland
01-03-2011, 07:52 PM
I also recently ordered my swift and winder on ebay and got a much better deal there than anywhere else I saw online.

They haven't arrived yet so I can't comment on how I'm finding them!

Mokumegane
01-05-2011, 09:51 AM
My mom winds hers by hand... I usually don't ball mine up because it always escapes me when I knit... that's so annoying! I just take the middle thread from the skein and pull from there. There's still a few skeins that I can't do that due to the way they wind them but most are so that I can pull from the middle. I also wind by hand when I have to.... and I think my mom winds them way too tight! It pisses me off when she winds my yarn up in a ball... what a waste of a skein... and it makes me knit up that stuff fast to make sure the yarn doesn't get messed up before it's used! Well, that or I just give the ball to her to use...

Jan in CA
01-05-2011, 01:49 PM
My mom winds hers by hand... I usually don't ball mine up because it always escapes me when I knit... that's so annoying! I just take the middle thread from the skein and pull from there. There's still a few skeins that I can't do that due to the way they wind them

If you make a center pull ball they won't roll away. Either that or get yourself a yarn bowl. There are instructions on how to wind a center pull ball in the video section under tips I think. :thumbsup:

The ones you can't use without winding are called hanks.

Shandeh
01-07-2011, 12:14 AM
I think my mom winds them way too tight! It pisses me off when she winds my yarn up in a ball... what a waste of a skein... and it makes me knit up that stuff fast to make sure the yarn doesn't get messed up before it's used! Well, that or I just give the ball to her to use...
I used to have a friend that would balll up her yarn real tight like that. I don't think she realized that she was stretching out her yarn and messing it up. I've heard that when you knit with stretched out yarn like that, the item you knit will shrink up after the yarn finally rests. But sometimes, you stretch it out so much, that the yarn is just ruined.
Makes me sad. :verysad:

Mokumegane
01-07-2011, 08:49 AM
I used to have a friend that would balll up her yarn real tight like that. I don't think she realized that she was stretching out her yarn and messing it up. I've heard that when you knit with stretched out yarn like that, the item you knit will shrink up after the yarn finally rests. But sometimes, you stretch it out so much, that the yarn is just ruined.
Makes me sad. :verysad:

I know... I get so emotional over it because it's such a waste of beautiful yarn... but I have to hold it in because my mom will just yell at me for being sad or angry that the yarn is being wasted... funny, huh?

To Jan: I know it's a hank.. just... my brain left the building the other day lol

I do want to get that swift, though... it would be MUCH better than the top of a chair, for sure.

fatoldladyinpjs
01-12-2011, 01:14 AM
The owner at my local yarn shop winds it into the center pull balls for me on hers. Ask the clerk. I've learned how to wind them by hand without the tools. Go to Youtube and type in Center pull ball.

cftwo
01-12-2011, 10:11 AM
If you're looking at swifts, too, check out table-top swifts that you don't have to clamp to the table. (A friend of mine has a lovely dining room table with curved edges - and her umbrella swift always slips off.) I love mine (found it on etsy), but usually I just drape a hank around my knees and hand-wind my balls of yarn.

Here's what a table-top swift looks like: http://www.etsy.com/listing/65697888/handcrafted-red-oak-yarn-swift?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_query=swift&ga_search_type=&ga_page=&order=&includes[0]=tags&includes[1]=title&filter[0]=handmade&filter[1]=knitting

Here's an umbrella-style swift: http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Swift-Yarn-Winder/3344316/product.html?rcmndsrc=2

WandaT
01-13-2011, 10:08 AM
I LOVE both my winder and my swift! I use my winder all the time and share the swift between those in my knitting group.

Wanda Witch
01-13-2011, 04:58 PM
I would not be without my swift and ball winder. It is quick, the cake-type yarn balls don't roll around and stack nicely too. The swift is a God-send, I believe, well both are. Money well spent if you intend on doing much knitting using any skeins.

cair
01-17-2011, 07:51 AM
Thanks guys... maybe it's a 'birthday' gift idea for the future. Specially if I get more involved in knitting. Taking a break today, did too much yesterday I think. Arm is sore.. LOL. Plus, it doesn't mix with work when I do too much... But can't seem to shut the brain off on that part!

I love mine, however, sometimes it doesn't handle a full skein of yarn. But otherwise, it's fine...you can even adjust the speed of the machine... which is a favorite part for me.
I too get sore elbows... hmmm... I bought something for tennis elbow. It seems to be helping. cair