Review · Yarn

Yarn tools

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about a few things that have made my knitting – and crocheting – life easier. My yarn winder and yarn scale have made a huge impact in my productivity and I couldn’t be more grateful to have these two on my desk at all times. For those who haven’t invested in a winder or scale please allow me to persuade you to do so. :)

I bought my yarn winder about a year or two ago and haven’t looked back. It happened on a whim because I was fed up with winding by hand. It took such a long time and I wasn’t always happy with the result. And besides yarn balls don’t always stay put. Yarn cakes, now that’s where it’s at. They have flat sides and will, in most cases, stay still rather than roll around. You can use them starting from the center of the cake or the outside (my preferred method).

Anyway, back to the winder. I have a hand-crank type but I know that there are electric yarn winders available. I think the electric ones are best used with a yarn swift. I personally didn’t want an electric one since I like to unwind a skein by hand to check for knots and then wind it. If anybody has used an electric one please let me know what you think of it. I’m interested in hearing more about them. For some reason I have this fear that they will knot or break yarn while winding and I’m not sure if that’s just me being paranoid. Regardless, I highly recommend any winder that can latch onto a table such as this one.

The stability of the desk helps with keeping things even. It also helps keep my hands free to guide the yarn as it’s being wound.

As a small tip, if you also don’t use the yarn from the inside out I suggest tucking in the yarn tag into the center. I do this in case I don’t use all of the yarn on the project and want to keep the gauge/brand information for another time.

An added bonus to having your own winder is that when you’re buying yarn you don’t have to have the LYS staff wind it for you. They’ll usually give you a look of extreme gratitude. You’ll also have a chance to become acquainted with your yarn’s texture before using it, a good way to find out how it feels in your hands out of the skein.

The yarn scale was a more recent purchase but I wish I had gotten it a long time ago. I’ve been using it all summer while working on my various shawls and it truly has come in handy. It’s very useful when you need to know the percentage of yarn used and allows you to predict how much yarn you’ll need to finish off a project. I bound another shawl the other day and can tell you that I was able to get it done with a mere 2.5 grams left. I was able to cut it close because I was keeping track of how many grams each couple of rows took. Thankfully math was one of my favorite subjects in school.

I bought my scale from Knit Picks but I think any scale that can switch from grams to ounces will work just fine. Keep in mind, if you tuck your yarn tag into the yarn make sure to subtract the weight of the tag from your total weight. The above skein of Berroco Blackstone Tweed Chunky is actually 50 grams but it weighs 52.5g with the tag.

If you also keep track of your yarn stash a scale can help you determine how much yarn is leftover percentage-wise or yard-wise. I hope to one day record all of that information into my yarn database so that I can know exactly how many yards exist in my stash. I know it’s overkill but sometimes it’s fun to know the stats associated with a collection. Another number to take pride in, am I right?

Alright, I hope this post helped anyone who was wavering on whether to buy a yarn winder or scale. They are really useful tools whether you knit or crochet. Please let me know if you have any questions about either that I didn’t cover. I’ll be happy to answer them!

5 thoughts on “Yarn tools

  1. Hello.

    I used to have a winder about 20 years ago way before I knew the temptations that wool would present in my life and gave it away!! Well I was never going to use it was I?? Oh how foolish I was in my youth!! Now it is one thing on the top of my wish list!!

    Hope you have a lovely weekend.

    Colette x

  2. Hello,
    I found you through the Eat sleep knit yarnathon and clicked on your name. I too am a yarnaholic and love all the same yarns you do. I just spent the last hour reading your blog and thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you.

  3. I’ve tried to wind a few of those hanks by hand and it seems impossible to not end up with a tangled mess. I’ve had my eye on the yarn winder for a while, but I thought it had to be used in conjunction with the yarn swift and I don’t really have the room for that big thing. Now that I see that it can be used without the swift I think I’ll definitely get one now. -Nizzy

    1. Absolutely! I have a small space so a swift is pretty much out of the question. If you’d like I’ll be happy to post or send a long a photo or two of my winding “set-up” which is really a chair, the winder on my desk and something on the floor to catch the yarn (I use an old plastic tub lid) while I unwind it so it doesn’t get cat hair all over.

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