How a Ball Winder Works
The ball winder turns the wool around and around a spindle, creating a pretty, perfect doughnut of untangled wool. You simply slide the end of the yarn through a tension pin, then through a slit in the centre of the spindle. Then you turn the crank, and the cone spins. It couldn't be easier.
These tools make the front end of the knitting process a breeze. Instead of days, it took me a couple of hours to turn this:Into this:
I learned a couple of things as I was getting to know my new favourite tools. Here are some hints to help you make the neatest balls of yarn.
5 Tips for Using a Ball Winder and Swift
- Make sure your tools are far enough apart. My first ball was slumped and tangled because I set the swift and ball winder too close together. If you have room, clamp them to opposite edges of a table to make sure there's proper tension as the yarn winds.
- Untwist the hank on the swift. By turning the hank so the winding yarn is pulling off the outside, you'll prevent snags and frustration as you wind.
- Snip the ties carefully. Hanks are tied to keep the loops from tangling, sometimes in more than one place. Use small, sharp scissors to snip the ties close to the knot. Keep your eyes peeled as you snip so you don't cut into the hank (totally frustrating!).
- Turn at a moderate speed. Turning too fast or too slow can create a lumpy result, so get into a smooth, moderate rhythm as quickly as you can.
- Guide the yarn with your free hand. Let the yarn run through your free hand as you wind to ensure it's guided properly into the tension pin. This will keep out snags and give you a smooth ball of wool.