25 March 2008


There are several tools for winding your finished yarn - the first decision to make is whether to wind into a skein or a ball - and this is determined by what you are going to do with it next.

If you want to dye your yarn you will need a skein. If you are planning to knit or crochet your finished yarn you will want a ball - ideally a centre pull ball as this won't then roll all over the place as you work. If you are planning to weave then you might possibly want both a skein and a ball at different stages of the preparation process.



I just love the name niddy noddy and it is actually quite apt for this tool - when in use it nods up and down as you wind your yarn onto it. It is shaped like a capital "I" except that one of the cross bars is at right angles to the other. Niddy Noddies come in many sizes including a tiny one by Ashford that slots together for use and comes apart for easy carriage - great for portability. There are different sized fixed ones and also adjustable ones for different sizes of skeins - although these can slip when winding once they've had a bit of use.


There are several designs of swift - they're basically tools that spin around a central shaft and wind a skein. My favoured style of swift is an "umbrella swift" as these are adjustable for different sizes of skeins - and anyway I just love the way they look! With an umbrella swift it is quite easy to measure a length of yarn and then adjust the swift to create that size of skein. They're quite big though and not terribly portable.



These come in many designs - the most commonly available are the plastic ones - cheap to buy and do a perfectly adequate job. Occasionally bits fly off mine and I have to put it back together again but all in all it does what I want it to do. It is also possible to buy a variety of hand made wooden ones - which I would imagine are better quality - but come with a substantially higher price tag.


This is in essence a fat stick turned and marked on which a ball can be wound by hand - I've not used one - indeed I've not actually seen one in the flesh - only in photos. They are very portable, have no mechanical parts to wear or go wrong and can be very beautiful. However I imagine it takes a little longer to wind a ball on one of these by hand than it does on a mechanical ball winder where you just turn a handle - although carefully winding a ball by hand may be quite rewarding in itself.

I would like to add a few photos - but am having a few problems with my computer at the mo' so will add them later - along with some useful links.

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