Tools Of The Trade 06-26-24 01

Tools of the Trade

Most knitters know the two useful tools of the trade are a yarn swift and a ball winder. But which ones?

Which Tools of the Trade?

Ball Winders

I did a YouTube video comparing three different kinds of ball winders. I ended up recommending the Stanwood Ball Winder at around US$79. But recently, I found a generic version of this very sturdy, jumbo ball winder for US$50.

Generic Jumbo Ball Winder

Comparing the the Stanwood to the Chinese generic version, I noticed four small differences.

  1. There is no Stanwood label (obvious, but wanted to point it out).
  2. The proximal yarn guide is attached to the left side of the mechanism on the generic and the right side of the Stanwood.
  3. The distal yarn guide is anchored with a raised metal bump on the generic version versus a small screw on the Stanwood.
  4. There is a double curlicue guide on the generic proximal guide and a single curlicue guide on the Stanwood (which makes it a little more difficult to thread the generic model)

From what I could tell when I wound yarn, there is no difference between the two ball winders. If you’ve been holding off replacing your cheap plastic ball winder because of the US$79 price tag, you may want to reconsider the US$50 model.

Yarn Swifts

Wooden Swift

Beautiful wooden yarn swifts have gotten very inexpensive over the years. I owned two of them. A larger birch swift for bigger hanks/skeins of yarn (also from Stanwood). It goes for about US$65. And a smaller 24” version made of some unknown wood and made in China. It goes for under US$30.

Honestly, I pretty much only use the 24” version unless I’m winding a very large and heavy skein of yarn. However, just be aware that if you use your swift a lot, you may want to pay for a harder wood version of the swift. The wooden screw that holds up the umbrella arms of the swift can wear out after a while. I’d suggest the Stanwood Birch swift in medium size (which goes for under US$60). In addition to being a harder wood, you can also replace some of the parts of a Stanwood swift.

Current Knitting

I finished the first sleeve of the Green Mountain Wool/Kid Mohair cardigan and started the second.

Fortunately, I was diligent in documenting the number of stitches, the needle sizes and the increases and decreases for shaping on the first sleeve. The second sleeve is going quickly as a result.

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