The yarn winder that I have is probably the least expensive one available. It’s not that expensive or not expensive really makes a whole lot of difference I suppose and at some point, I have to ask myself . . how much is too much to spend? I knit enough that I do need to have a decent ball winder and I think this one is no longer decent.
It slips and the yarn flies off and sometimes gets wrapped around the gears. I’ve researched and come so close to ordering several different ones and after spending hours trying to decide which one to get, I still don’t have a clue which one is best. I can wind one ball of yarn and my shoulder and wrist are aching.
If you’re a knitter and use a ball winder, which one do you use and do you like it? If you’re using your husband’s legs and arms and winding by hand, that doesn’t really help me because I AM going to get a new winder.
The ladies at String Theory Yarn use this electric one and it makes the nicest, softest cakes. They’re just barely tight enough to keep from falling apart so I don’t think the yarn is being stretched at all with this winder. It’s probably the nicest cake I’ve ever seen. But, I just cannot justify spending $500+ for a yarn winder. Last night after winding one skein of yarn, I had my credit card out and was just about to order it and the I said . . I just can’t. I might wind 30 skeins of yarn a year . . probably more like 20. It comes with a one year warranty and I just can’t see buying it for the small amount of yarn I wind. But, it sure would be nice! 🙂
Those same folks also have one that’s not electric but it’s $219. How much better can it be than a good plastic one that costs $50 . . especially for the amount of winding I do.
This one was in the running but when I look at those pictures and where the bar is that attaches it to the table, I can see me hitting my knuckles on that bar and I’m using my right hand which has the finger that had the cyst removed .. the cyst that came back bigger and more sore than before. Gently touching that knuckle is painful and I surely wouldn’t want to bang it against that bar.
The most highly recommended winder is the Royal Ball Winder. I question whether it’s that much different from the one I have but I guess for the price, it’s worth a try. It’s kinda hard to believe that (1) I’m struggling so much with this decision and wasting so much time with it and (2) as popular as knitting is these days, there seem to be so few choices.
I’m anxious to hear what the rest of you use.
Kathy R in BC says
I have the Royal Ball winder. I haven’t had any problems with it, but I’ve only had it a year. I’ve wound probably 20-30 balls with it. I agree it does look similar to the one that you have. But my shoulders and wrist don’t hurt. How can they be different??
I also have the Royal ball winder. I just finished winding 50 balls with it over the past week and had no problems. I think I bought it at the Kirkwood Knittery or the yarn shop in Lawrence. I decided to get all my yarn wound – oh my! – didn’t realize I had that much. I also stored it on open shelves in my sewing room – as a deterrent to buying more. Not sure if that will work – it sure doesn’t with fabric.
I don’t own this but hobby lobby has a Boye electric winder for $76 and they have a 40% off coupon. Just an option to consider.
Eve in GA says
I do own the Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder and I love it. I got mine at Michael’s with a 40% off coupon. It has been worth it’s weight in gold—especially since I convinced Don to gift me with Paradise Fibers’ Super Swift II. Love them both!!!
I’m afraid I can’t help since I am still doing it by hand (and using my own feet to hold the skein. I will be checking back in though because after winding a couple skeins the other day, I think it may be something I want to have now. While I was teaching myself to knit, I was using cheaper yarns that already came in ball form, but am now moving on to better quality yarns.
Judy Whitehead says
I have a Royal ball winder, but find I like to put a thread stand between the swift and the winder to help with easing the tension issues if I hit a snag in winding.
I like how the metal one has the 2 guides, that’s exactly what I do with my tall thread stand.
Oh and my Royal was gifted to me without the center cone section, so DH cut the bottom off of a plastic cone from a used cone of Sew Fine thread and fit it down in. Cut out 2 slots in the top for the yarn to sit in to start the ball and it works perfectly!
This is how I do mine. The only thing I do different is when I drop the yarn through the tube I let it go all the way to the end of the tube and paperclip the yarn to the tube.
Ive got the same one you already have and its the same one our local knitting shop uses too. Works ok for the small amount I wind. That stanwood one seems like a good one, dont think the bar sticks out any more than any other one.
I wonder if the online stores would wind the balls for a small fee… would be worth it to lots of customers I would think.
Im sorry your surgery didnt do what it was supposed to. Dr’s should have warrentees just like any other service!
If you look at the little red one I have, there’s a good inch between the bar that anchors it to the table and the knob I turn. The picture online looks like the other one has almost no clearance. I looked at all the pictures of it and couldn’t see much clearance in any of them.
The doctor warned me that the cyst might return. I think if doctors gave warranties, we’d probably have a real hard time finding a doctor. Medicine isn’t the type science that yields well to warranties. My fingernail had become deformed from the cyst and the doctor wasn’t sure that would correct itself but it has. Another couple of weeks and the ugly nail will be all grown out. The cyst has returned to its original location at my knuckle and so far, has not migrated down to the nail bed so in that aspect, it was worth the surgery.
I recently got this lovely piece of craftsmanship called a nostepinne. It’s a beautiful wood turned on a lathe and smoothly finished. I read about it, googled, ordered from Etsy ($12.00).
I don’t wind a whole hank of yarn at one time. While I have another project in the works, and when I need a different yarn task, I start winding a new ball with the nostepinne and the yarn draped over a wooden chair back. It makes a pull skein and with practice I should be able to make that cute little cake. Right now I make a lovely round ball, but since it pulls from the center, it sits still instead of rolling. http://www.etsy.com/search?includes%5B0%5D=tags&q=nostepinne&page=1.
Frieda Z says
I have the Royal Ball winder and love it. I think part of your problem is the swift and the winder are too close. Try putting more space between them. I ma sorry your yust has returned. I have would a lot of yarn with it. The only time I have trouble is when I wind large quantities of lace as the ball gets really big. I have wound up to 1500 yards though.
Judy Laquidara says
It’s about 2-1/2 feet from the swift. How far do you recommend? If I put it any farther, the drag causes the ball winder to spin without winding the yarn.
Frieda Z says
I have mine about 4-5 feet apart. I tend to hold the yarn though.
You’re not going to want to hear this, but I just have the shop ball it for me before I leave. That way, I don’t have to worry about it at all.
Judy Laquidara says
Doesn’t bother me to hear it. Some shops do it at no charge but some don’t and some charge for it. One online shop charges $1 or $2 per skein and I’ve already ordered over 100 skeins of yarn from them this year so it isn’t economically feasible for me to pay them to wind it when I can do it at home . . even if I have to pay for the winder.
Carol Victory says
A very generous friend gave me the Boye electric winder (I was only looking for a hand crank model). I have used it a few times and really like it. It came from Nancy’s Notions or Knit Picks I believe. I know that Knit Picks puts them on special sometimes. Good luck!
Judy Laquidara says
Thanks Carol. You’re the second or third person who’s told me they’re happy with that one. I had read the reviews and it didn’t seem like it was rating very well but I’ll watch for sales on that one and see how it works for me.
Kathy E. says
I have the yarn winder from Knit Picks. I think it cost $20 on sale. I love it… of course all I have to compare it to is using DH’s hands or trying to wind it by myself. Sometimes I wind 6-8 skeins at a time and have never had a problem with my knuckles hitting the table or my shoulder hurting. I have had it for over a year now and I have wound a lot of yarn with it. It is all plastic, very similar to the one you already have.
KAT in Tamale Land
Judy Laquidara says
I’m wondering if something on mine has gotten broken. I did order the Royal so we’ll see what happens.
You might want to consider getting the Royal ‘Jumbo’ winder – it will allow you to wind a full skein of Wollmeise silk into one giant cake. But the middle core isn’t so big that you can’t wind a smaller skein. They are not available everywhere – I actually had to order mine from Hong Kong (via ebay) . I also have the regular sized Royal winder (the blue one) – have had it for years and years and it still works like a charm.
Beth C says
I use the Boye electric winder. I had a 40% off coupon for Joanne’s. I haven’t used or seen anyother winders. This is all i know. Someone in a previous post mentioned used a thread stand which I think I will try. the cakes wind to tight if I don’t give some slack to the yarn.
Denise ~ justquiltin says
Judy – I had the same one as yours and exact same problems – mine went in the trash about 2 or 3 weeks ago. It started not winding (skipping sort of) and eventually a little nut on the inside loosened itself and fell off inside the casing. Trust me – you cannot get that plastic gadget apart to fix it. So I got a Knit Picks which I love. It was actually the cheapest one of 3 kinds at the local craft store and it winds so much more smoothly that the old one. The thread quide just swings off to the side when it’s not in use (instead of sliding in and out of the casing which I was always afraid I was going to pull out too far and break). I don’t know how the table attachment is because I don’t use it — my tables have an edging on them so you can’t clamp anything on them so I’ve always just held on to them as I wind the yarn. Bonus with the Knit Picks – it came with an ergonomic handle for those of us who hold them to wind which snaps in the bottom. Works like a dream.
I have the Royal ball winder and I don’t have any problems with it. It winds smooth and not too tight. Easy to use.
Marie Mann says
Not going to be too popular here, would Vince wind the balls for you? Sounds like you would only want about an hour of his time, max, each week, and he could do it while watching TV in the sewing room or in the house.. I’d rather spend the money on more yarn than a fancy schmancy wool winder. My sons loved winding the wool for me when I was using skeined wool for my knitting machine, way back when…
OK. Now, since I’m not in the market for a ball winder, here’s a totally different topic. What kind of iron is that sitting on your table? I need a new one. Thanks.
Jean S. says
I have the wooden Nancy’s Knit ball winder and it’s built to last a lifetime. Mine is not motorized. The key to this one is to have a swift that moves smoothly and does not catch on anything. My old swift was not well made and so every time it would catch and hesitate, the yarn would slip off the ball. I like the Beka yarn swift.
I have the same ball winder that you have and the only time I tend to have issues is when I get to winding to fast. I’ve decided that it is not the winder but the “windee.” It serves me well for the times I need it as many of the shops I buy from will wind my yarn before sending it if I request that.
Linda Steller says
I have the one from KnitPicks. I winds pretty smoothly, but I found that sometimes the yarn slips off when the cake starts to get big. My solution to this is I lay the yarn across the holder to start as I usually do, then I slide an empty toilet paper roll down onto the spindle. With the little longer post to ride up, I’m not having the yard spin off the winder, and it works much better.
It looks like you have already bought a new winder, but I’ll offer my two cents anyway. I bought the ‘regular’ winder from U-Nitt a 2 yrs ago. I don’t need to wind much, because I have most if it done at my LYS. But there are times I don’t want to wait or buy something online or at a festival and then I wind them myselves.
Here is a link to U-Nitt. http://u-nitt.com/c/56/u-nitt-yarnballwool-winders If I were to buy another, I would buy the ‘High Speed’ winder. It has an extra set of gears, so every crank you turn makes the winder go around more revolutions. After winding a big, big skein, it can save you from Popeye arms!!!
Good luck with your new winder!
Judy, if you would like to try an electric Boye yarn winder, I have one sitting idle that I would send to you. I am downsizing, a LOT, and if you like the Boye, I would give you a really, really good deal on it.
Let me know.
I have a Lacis ball winder and nearly the same logistical set-up as you, except my swift is on the other side and is attached to the kitchen bar while the winder is attached to a stereo stand below and to the left. This allows me to create another point of tension (and find any snags or knots, which thankfully has never happened!) with my left hand /arm held out to the left of the ball winder and crank with the right; the ball winder isn’t pulling directly from the swift. My biggest problem in the last couple I wound is winding too fast, creating wonky-shaped ugly cones instead of cakes.
The LYS I visit most frequently uses the same winder as me; if you moved your winder to the opposite end of where your swift is attached and facing your swift, that’s how theirs is set up. They also filter the yarn through the hand opposite the one doing the cranking.