Friday, July 29, 2011

Washing and then winding the wool.....

 20 Skeins of handspun were washed last week  - 
 This was an accumulated pile of hanks from a few years of spinning - I'm definitely not a speed spinner if that was what you were thinking!
 Then came using my new setup from Nancy's Knit Knacks:
The Heavy Duty Skein Winder is currently mounted on a table - but I also purchased the optional stand which is really great.

Heavy Duty Ball Winder
For years I've used the inexpensive plastic ball winders.  Sure they worked, and occasionally the plastic center cone would fly off while winding, but I didn't realize that there were bigger and better winders out there.  About a year or so ago - I sold off 3 used plastic ball winders and decided it was time to give Nancy's Knit Knacks - Heavy Duty Ball Winder a spin.  I had read good reviews on this winder, so the expectation was high.  After receiving it - and giving it a try - immediately differences were recognized compared to the past ball winders I had used.  First and foremost - the smooth operation in the winding process.  Next, the ability to wind large balls and finally last but not least, the visual beauty of this tool.  Two thumbs up for this one.

Then a couple months ago, when fumbling around with a wooden umbrella swift, trying to wind off hanks into balls for an up coming weaving workshop, I thought of Nancy's Knit Knacks once again.  Off to their website - I sat watching all of the product videos that Bob (from Nancy's Knacks) has produced.  A phone call with Bob, a delightful discussion on their products and my yarn winding needs - and another order was placed, this time with total product confidence since the ball winder has been nothing short of a great investment.

The next day an UPS delivery tracking email was sent to me with the tracking information.  Wow - the Skein Winder with optional stand, Electronic Rotation Counter and Electronic Yarn Meter were already on their way!  It was time to reorganize in the Studio a bit to make room for my new winding area.  I had 2 Schacht winding Stations, so I decided to put them side by side to line everything up.  

Last week when I began winding from a plied bobbin to a niddy noddy (knowing from the start that there was more yarn than the niddy noddy would hold), Jim asked why I was doing that when I could wind directly onto my new skein winder.  Duh! - So out to the Studio I headed with bobbin in hand.  I must say, this was a easy and slick way to wind a skein - it seemed much to easy and knowing immediately that there was 214 yards of plied wool (by reading the rotation counter) made this experience even more awesome.  

The real test was yesterday when I needed to wind from 20 handspun hanks into balls.  This would have been a lengthy task if I were using a standard umbrella swift, but with the ability to adjust the arms on the Skein winder to the size of the hank - the job was nothing short of simple and enjoyable.  Again noting from the reading on the Electronic Yarn Meter the accurate yardage immediately.  The only other tool that would have been a valuable asset during this process would have been The Motorized Power Base that can be added to the ball winder.  

A bit of an investment - but I must say - "you definitely get what you pay for".   I would highly recommend any of these noted products from Nancy Knit Knacks.  If you have questions as to what these items are capable of doing, the product video page and home page  will give you more than enough information via video, to make a educated purchase.  Also I should add that if ever there is a question, Bob is just a phone call away - the customer service it great!


  1. Thanks Dawn. You are too kind!

    We must have been reading each others' minds though, because the other day I had to design an ad for SpinOff in which I was advertising our new Motorized Skein-winder. Well, after discussing the potential applications with Nancy, I listed in the ad that using a skein-winder to remove the yarn from your spinning wheel's bobbin was a great way to integrate skein-winder use and spinning.
    Then your post said the same thing.
    Spinners need help to make their job easier when it comes to dealing with the yarn they just spun. We love niddy noddies and we love ball winders but we now also love skein-winders.

    So thank you for the confirmation that using this tool with spinning equipment works well.

    Now you need to motorize that ball winder!


  2. Dawn - I just reviewed the studio pictures. That looks like it was a lot of fun to plan and build. I am jealous! It looks like a perfect place to relax and work all at the same time.

    Good job
    Bob Shroyer

  3. Great equipment you are showing there, - sigh . I wish I was a little richer ;-)