Tag Archives: ball of yarn

‘Round and ‘Round

I love getting a brand-new, squishy skein of yarn as much as the next knitter, but I also used to kind of dread it.  Un-raveling and balling-up a big (often tangled) skein is the absolute pits!  I used to have a whole system that involved two kitchen chairs, about an hour and a lot of swearing.

But then, for Christmas, my husband gave me one of my most favorite new tools!

My umbrella swift!  (I’m not sure which brand/model it is, but google “umbrella swift” and you’ll find a bunch.)

I always kind of wanted one, but never could justify buying one for myself.  After all, I didn’t need it.  I’d use it, if I had one, but not very often.  Also, they’re a little expensive- and I hate spending money.

So all that made this bad boy the perfect Christmas present.

And you know what?  I love it!  It’s the best!  It makes balling up yarn go so fast, and it’s super fun!

I undo the skein, taking off any scrap yarn that was used to keep the strands together, and put the big loop of yarn around the swift.  Then, I take the end of the yarn and attach it to the top of my ball winder, and away we go!  (Ignore the ugly avocado-green end table that I picked up from the side of the road.  It might not be pretty, but it’s very useful.)I get the ball winder spinning, and the swift twirls away, unraveling the skein without a single tangle!  It’s amazing.  This time, I balled 6 skeins of yarn in about 10 minutes.  That would have taken me hours without my umbrella swift!

Do you have a favorite not-technically-necessary-but-really-nice-to-have tool?

I’m a Baller: Part 2

Two weeks ago, I talked about how to roll a ball of yarn the traditional way.  A regular old ball of yarn is plenty useful, but sometimes they can be a pain.  You could be working somewhere with a less-than-sanitary floor (at a bus stop), or somewhere where going after a runaway ball of yarn would be difficult (on an airplane), or perhaps an ill fate would befall your yarn if it left your vicinity (maybe you have a vicious house cat or sticky toddler?)

A traditionally wound ball of yarn can get itself rolling (and unraveling).  But, a center-pull ball doesn’t have that problem, and it’s almost as easy to wind as a regular ball of yarn.

It starts exactly the same way.  Wind a good amount of yarn into a figure-8 around your thumb and forefinger.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemove the figure-8 from your fingers and wind your yarn around one end of the figure-8 until it gets nice and puffy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKeep winding and turning around that initial puff of yarn, just like you did the regular ball of yarn.  Change directions every so often, and keep a finger or two caught in the loops to keep the yarn from getting too tight.   Just remember that the end of the figure-8 is poking out the top of the ball, like a strange little tuft of hair.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, when you’ve finished winding all the yarn, tuck in the end  so that it won’t unravel itself when you throw your ball in your knitting bag.  When you’re ready to start knitting, pull out the whole tuft from the top of the ball, and get to work!