What is the point of a yarn winder?
What an amazing thing the technology is! Once upon a time, these knitting technologies were not available, but now look.
They are incredibly useful implements, but like many wonderful gadgets out there, they are quite an investment. It's good to take some time to consider the options, their specifications, and their necessity in your life.
Here are some of the benefits of a winder.
They make it convenient, but the best is having space where you can set it up for your use, especially if you use it frequently, without having to take it apart every time you need the table for something else.
They can make your crochet or knitting performance so much easier! Useful for any crocheter, regardless of skill level.
Got a lot of scrap yarn lying around? You can use the yarn ball winder to use them up and turn them into cakes, ready to use for a project!
You can sort skeins/unused or partial skeins of different weights to keep your yarn stash organized.
If you're using a yarn that changes color, yarn winders help you know where it starts and ends. It's helpful if you want to separate them into pastels of each color.
Most styles create center-pull cakes, one of the best ways to store yarn and crochet from.
So much inspiration to be found in the magazine crochet us!
WHAT WILL YOU MAKE?
What is a yarn winder?
A tool with a rather self-explanatory name, it is designed to wind yarn. Designed so that the fibers are wound into neat cakes that are flat and pull from the center.
The balls of pulled yarn do not roll in all directions and can stay in one place when crocheting with them.
Do I need a yarn ball winder?
You need a yarn ball winder if you buy skeins or skeins if you crochet a lot if you want to keep your yarn stash organized. Think of all the neat center pull balls you'll create.
Or you have a lot of leftover hands or yarn lying around that needs to be tidied up.
Some of our readers have made their own DIY yarn winder. If you are planning to do a lot of winding, buying one that is built to last would be the easiest option.
How to fix a thread winder?
If your winder is producing yarn cakes that end up twisted, don't stress. Here's how to fix a thread winder.
Twist the cone-shaped bobbin off the base.
Grab a Phillips-head screwdriver. Remove the screw from the plate below where the bobbin normally sits. Remove the plate and set it aside.
The gears are probably out of alignment, and their teeth do not fit together. Ease the larger gear back from the smaller one until they fit, and the teeth come together.
Take the chainring and screw it back on.
Replace the coil. Done!
What are balls of yarn and cakes?
You create yarn cakes (some call them yarn muffins!) with a bobbin winder. You create balls of yarn by winding by hand.
I'll give a quick comparison of the results of each winding method - first, hand winding balls by hand.
Hand winding balls of yarn move in all directions and can pull from anywhere.
Quite slow and can become tedious after long periods.
Cumbersome because you need something to hold the skeins, such as the backs of two chairs.
If you pull directly on the skein, the yarn will inevitably tangle up
You can't inspect the yarn for knots or frayed spots easily
The shape of the ball may be uneven
Yarn winder cakes, however -
A yarn cake or muffin pulls from the center and spins in a neat, flat-sided circle.
The tail or end of the yarn is in the center, hence the name, center pull cake.
One crank of the handle is equivalent to hand winding 25 times. Different models have different speeds
Keep your unwound thread in one place by using an accompanying tool, a fast thread to hold it in one place.
You can inspect for knots as you wind
The methods are similar, but the thread winder has some great bonuses. (In addition to being much faster, obviously!)
Hooks, winders, swifts, organizers, bags, pouches and more
How to choose a yarn winder
There are so many different types and options on the market! It's hard to know what to choose to buy.
To help you decide, I've compiled a list of questions to ask when considering a yarn winder.
Hand crank or an electric ball thread winder?
Electric versions are more expensive and less portable, as they must be plugged into the power supply. The motor will make noise - but they're designed to wind yarn for you!
Manual winders are cheaper, can be set up anywhere, but the yarn is wound by hand.
Do you buy skeins or hanks?
If you use skeins, you should probably invest in a winder. This makes it much easier to use. Plus, you should get a fast yarn. It keeps the yarn from tangling and threads the yarn to the winder as a crank.
If you buy skeins, you don't need to wind skeins, but it certainly makes it easier!
How much are you willing to spend?
Consider your budget! There are ones for all budgets, but make sure you don't overspend.
In general, if you're willing, the more expensive yarn winders are a good value and will last for years. But if you are not willing to commit to such an expense, there are cheaper ones that work well.
Also, remember, depending on where you live and how heavy the yarn ball winder is, shipping such a large item can make it even more expensive.
Which material do you prefer? Wood or plastic?
Plastic winders are generally cheaper and easier to assemble. They also weigh less.
Wooden thread winders are more expensive, more difficult to assemble. Still, they generally last longer, are sturdier and often come in heavy-duty models. The gears are also usually better protected, preventing the thread from tearing if it accidentally slips.
Craft Store Brand Yarn Winders
Major craft stores and retailers have their own thread winder options. I have reviewed these thread winders in the following posts.
Do you manage the tension yourself or have the machine do it?
If you hold the thread while winding, you get two benefits. These are:
You're going to be in control and can stop it if necessary, and this prevents tangles.
The cakes are much tighter. More can fit on a cake.
Remember, you don't have to, and it's good to experiment to find what's most comfortable for you.
Some models can control the tension, so it is not necessary, but this is rare, and usually on very expensive models.
What size cakes do you need/prefer?
Keep an eye out for the size of cake that the product can create. It is one of the most important specifications, so read carefully.
Twine winders The cheaper end of the price spectrum generally contains 3.5 - 4 ounces of twine. The average size is 5-8 oz, with some high quality yarn winders holding 10 oz on the market.
The largest I have seen can hold up to 16 oz! This is one of the more expensive ones, and is a heavy duty ball winder.
Will you be using it to make partial or full skeins?
Are you going to wind all the skeins of yarn for one project at a time, or make some and then make more skeins as you go?
If you do the former, you'll probably need 5-8 oz. If the latter, 4 oz will be a good choice.
How will you store the yarn?
Skeins of yarn and skeins are very annoying to store - even a few hours in a box can create an incredibly tangled mess!
A wool winder can make it much easier to store and keep your yarn stash neat and tidy.
What to look for in ball yarn winders
Is it sturdy? - It's quite an investment, so you want something built to last! If you want quality that will last you for years, you'll have to be willing to shell out a little more.
In general, plastic materials don't last as long, but they're fine if they're well made. The table clamp should also be very sturdy!
Can it be easily cranked? - Ball winders should be easy to use, smooth and not difficult to pull. Even tension and speed are important to be maintained. Otherwise, the thread will pull and catch.
You don't want to feel that the handle is going to fall off at any time.
Is It Easy And Simple To Set Up? - No one wants to waste their time or energy, they want something easy to set up at home, and so they can get down to the business of projects right away! Small ball thread winders are a good idea.
Can you keep the tension even? - You want items that can keep even tension, with a little help from you. You shouldn't have to constantly watch it to see that it doesn't end up super tight or loose!
Are the gears protected? - Thread catching and snagging on the gears halfway through the bobbin is nothing short of annoying. It could catch the gears and break the thread. You want ball winders with well protected gears.
Are the table clamps steady? - They are best when they are steady, clamped well and securely without damaging or leaving marks on the surface it is attached to.
Do you have the space to accommodate this model? - When combined with a rapier, thread winders become quite large, and can take up a lot of space.
Not everyone has generous workspace areas or an empty area to accommodate such a large configuration.
Consider the measurements before you buy! If you buy a rapier, the umbrellas can be stored folded, but still take up space when in use.