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View Full Version : Why is some yarn wound into a ball and some not?


KristiMetz
05-06-2006, 09:51 PM
I am curious about this. I went to my LYS to buy Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool - it was a lot more expensive there, but at least they can wind it into a ball for me.

It got me thinking about yarns that are wound into a ball versus not. I can think of many expensive yarns that aren't wound into a ball. And, I can think of many that aren't.

In fact, thinking of Berroco's yarn, some of them are wound into a ball, and some other yarns aren't.

What determines whether yarn is wound into a ball? I can imagine in some cases it's a cost thing, but what about the really expensive ones?

Ingrid
05-06-2006, 09:55 PM
I don't know for certain, but I suspect it's the way the mill is set up, for one thing.

I also think it's supposed to be better for the yarn not to be wound until you're ready to use it, though I have some nice yarns that are wound into balls, as well.

I think it looks really pretty in hanks, but I doubt that's the reason. ;)

geekgolightly
05-06-2006, 10:07 PM
I don't know for certain, but I suspect it's the way the mill is set up, for one thing.

I also think it's supposed to be better for the yarn not to be wound until you're ready to use it, though I have some nice yarns that are wound into balls, as well.

I think it looks really pretty in hanks, but I doubt that's the reason. ;)

i think that the aesthetic might be part of why its in hanks, as well as ease at the mill (or home shop) i bet more people will buy those gorgeous variagated yarns when they can see it rather than all wound up. it always looks so beautiful and tempting in hanks. we need a drool smilie, because im drooling over thinking baout yarn right now. :roflhard:

aylaanne
05-06-2006, 11:12 PM
I don't know for certain, but I suspect it's the way the mill is set up, for one thing.

I also think it's supposed to be better for the yarn not to be wound until you're ready to use it, though I have some nice yarns that are wound into balls, as well.

I think it looks really pretty in hanks, but I doubt that's the reason. ;)

i think that the aesthetic might be part of why its in hanks, as well as ease at the mill (or home shop) i bet more people will buy those gorgeous variagated yarns when they can see it rather than all wound up. it always looks so beautiful and tempting in hanks. we need a drool smilie, because im drooling over thinking baout yarn right now. :roflhard: :drooling: we have one.

Gina
05-07-2006, 12:51 AM
According to Lion Brand FAQ:

The terms 'skein' , 'ball' and 'hank' refers to the form factor for the bulk yarn.


1. A 'skein' is the form that the yarn is in when it wound by the manufacturing equipment. Some skeins are designed so that you can pull the yarn from the inside as well as the outside. These are called 'pull skeins.'

2. A 'ball' is yarn that has been rolled into a ball (sometimes done by knitters for convenience or to divide a skein into multiple quantities for use)

3. A 'hank' is the yarn wound loosely in a circle. Hanks are common in hand-spun or hand-dyed yarn, but are not common in commercially-prepared product. If your yarn is in a hank, it will tangle easily and it is advisable to roll it into a ball before beginning work.

[/quote]

Louine
05-07-2006, 10:32 AM
When I ordered wool from Irish Baby knits....the order form asked if I wanted the "hank” to be "balled” and I said yes....then it came in a wonderful ball that could be pulled from the center....very nice....

When I started buying at a LYS, they would help me ball some yarn and I remember one of the ladies said that wool in particular needed to breath....not to ball the yarn before starting the project and to start the ball around the hand (very much as Amy shows), not to stretch the yarn as I wound it.

Also, I expect that it is an American thing.....I have noticed that most of the yarn that is imported is in hanks--not all.....now mind, you I am only basing this on observation....I could be wrong
.

ChroniclesofYarnia
05-07-2006, 11:12 AM
In my Alden Amos spinning bible, he talks about double balling the yarn. You put it on the swift, wind it into a ball, and then wind it again. I have an industrial yarn winder, so I do it a third time even. It has made for nice loose "cakes" that the yarn comes straight out of with very little tension.

TwoLeftNeedles
05-07-2006, 11:27 AM
In my Alden Amos spinning bible, he talks about double balling the yarn. ... It has made for nice loose "cakes" that the yarn comes straight out of with very little tension.

That's interesting! I've been so frustrated with how some commercially skeined yarns tend to regurgitate clumps instead of feeding smoothly that I now automatically re-wind the yarn on my own ball winder.

As you say, I makes for very nice cakes that feed as smoothly as can be. Plus the shape produced by the ball-winder -- that squatty, wide-centered cake -- fits more cooperatively in (and feeds more readily from) a ziplock, giving me non-tangly transportation in my knitting bag.

Louine
05-07-2006, 01:18 PM
I have thought about a swift....and now that I know that must have been what was used to "ball" the yarn I just purchased, I am thinking about getting one. Any suggestions of where to find a good one?

rebecca
05-07-2006, 01:45 PM
:D I know that I am immediately drawn to those nice, flowing hanks of yummy yarn when I walk in to a yarn shop!! They are just ever so inviting ;)

gardenmommy
05-07-2006, 01:54 PM
I'm sure it is much easier for a LYS to store and display hanks of yarn rather than balls, as the hanks would like flat on a shelf and stack easily, like logs. However, if you pull the wrong ball of yarn from the display, you'd have a yarn avalanche! LOL