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Friday, February 24, 2017

What I Learned About Yarn Winders

00  HEADERI love my winders. If you have not purchased one yet, and you use a lot of yarn, I suggest you buy the largest winder your budget will afford. I now have 2 because when I bought the first one, which was the only one I could find at the time, I got one that will only wind 4 ounces. I soon realized I needed a larger one. In this day and age of center pull yarn skeins, why do I wind my yarn ? Ease of use and ease of storage. Also I like to check it, before I begin, to be sure there are no knots or caterpillars in it. What is a caterpillar ? That is what I call those fat snagged areas where the yarn has bunched up and they just look like a fat furry caterpillars to me. Cute but annoying.

Before winding I place the yarn in a clean container on the floor. If it is a center pull skein I place it standing up with the center end on top and pull from the center. If it is not center pull I alternate pulling a few yards of yarn from the skein, then wind and pull a little more. Always winding at a steady pace holding onto the yarn to control the tension.

Next, thread a yarn needle with the loose end and run it through the side and out the top of the “cake”, at an angle, creating a *"top edge tail" or yarn end, sticking out the top. Giving a slight tug, on that yarn tail, will tighten and accent the strand you must pull to draw it back out again.

11When your cake is ready to remove, loosely roll the label and hold it atop the spindle so as you lift the yarn from the spindle you are sliding the label inside the cake.

Please read the caution before 
you use this next method. 

Yarn winders do not readily accommodate very small amounts of yarn. You need a fair amount of yarn for the “cake” to be solid enough to hold its shape. To resolve this issue you will need two (2) empty toilet tissue rolls. I chose those because most of us have a steady supply of them.

Cut about a half inch slash on the edge of the first roll and place the loose end of the yarn to be wound into that slash, with the short end inside. It holds the yarn like the notch on the spindle. You must do this first as you will not be able to do it when the roll is in place.

3Place the roll on the spindle, with the slash holding the yarn at the bottom. The roll will probably be too big. Flatten the second roll then fold it in half lengthwise into quarters. Slide the flattened, quartered roll between the spindle and the roll. This makes a “shim” and tightens the first roll to keep it from sliding around.


When using a shim, please wind slower because winding rapidly actually creates centrifugal force. Centrifugal force will cause any shim to pull up and away from the center which can then become an airborne flying hazard. In my haste to try my idea I jammed a crochet hook between the spindle and the roll and started winding furiously.. Yep, the hook flew out the top, taking off like a rocket, flew across the room narrowing missing my TV. Lesson learned with no injuries.

Then thread the yarn strand through the yarn guides and slowly wind holding the yarn to control tension.
Secure the end using a * "top edge tail", as noted above, and write the yarn "info" on the roll.

If the amount was small enough, and since the yarn winds at the bottom of the roll, you can turn the roll over and use the same method to wind another color on the other end.

I always work from the outside of my yarn cake. The reason for center pull skeins was for convenience over yarn "hanks" as it ended the need to wind or "ball" your yarn. The skeins do not roll around when working with them but the disadvantage to center pulls skeins is they collapse into themselves and tangle as you deplete the yarn. You can see how the center hole widens and this one is on the verge of collapse. 

I hate yarn barf. I do not mind untangling it, I do mind losing the time it takes to untangle it. Since the yarn winder creates “cakes” which will stand in one place and do not roll around, I pull from the outside of the cake. I never work from the center of the “cake” as that will cause it to collapse into itself the same as a center pull skein. Also constant rewinding of collapsed yarn, will cause it to twist and curl and the more often you rewind the tighter the twist and the more it will curl when you try to use it.

Winding 7 oz. on a 4 oz. winder, of course you can.
This is a method for winding a 7 oz., “center pull” skein, on a 4 oz. winder, without cutting the yarn. Wind from both ends toward the middle. Wind from the outside first, to prevent the center collapse, until half the yarn is wound or the winder is as full as possible. Winding the spindle as full as possible will result in one cake larger than the other. Sliding your label inside, while lifting off the cake, without cutting the yarn, place it beside the winder. Start again and wind from the "center pull" strand to the middle. You finish with two cakes side by side, the outside strand is connected and running between the two cakes. Don’t cut it so there will be no knot. 

Winding this way puts both ends of the yarn into the center of the resulting cakes. Therefore, when you start a project, you must pull from the center of a cake. There is no worry about measuring because when that cake is expended the yarn automatically pulls from the outside of the second cake. If your cakes are different in size, my suggestion would be to start your project by pulling from the center of the smallest cake first, leaving the larger cake with label intact as long as possible. If you are working duel projects, from the same yarn, pull from the center of both cakes which will still leave the center uncut and you can rewind the remainder to store. This method also works for winding those One Pounder or 14 oz. skeins on an 8 oz. winder.

To store I slip the joined cakes into quart or gallon size plastic bags. I stock up on different sizes of bags at the “Dollar Tree”. I tried other ways but found the reusable plastic bags work best for me.

Thanks for visiting....Dorie