Sunday, October 16, 2005


Ball winding

Okay, so I got six hanks of yarn that need to be wound into center pull balls. I do not own a ball winder. I was rather dreading winding them all by hand - there is, after all, 1080 yards of yarn. That may not be a huge amount of yarn, but it is still rather daunting to me. Think of all of the hours winding that could be put to better use like knitting. So, I noticed that a Royal ball winder has a spindle about the same diameter as a toilet paper tube.

I have toilet paper tubes. They are freely available and cost me nothing.

Then I started to think, how can I rig a crank mechanism? My DH the engineer commented that that is the expensive part of the commercially available ball winders. I agreed. I let the idea simmer on the back burner while I knitted.

It occurred to me that we own a Yankee Apple Peeling Gizmo. This has a crank. Problem here is that the shaft is threaded and you can turn the crank only until the threads last, then you have to release the lever and pull the shaft back to the beginning. Kind of like an old-fashioned manual typewriter.

Type, type, type, ding, return.
Wind, wind, wind, pull, return.

Tube set upThen inspiration struck! I own a cordless drill! This tool continues to rotate as long as I hold down the trigger.

I cut a small slit in the toilet paper tube. Next, I slid the yarn into the slit and dropped the yarn down the center of the tube.

Winding...Ta-da!Then I carefully pushed the tube onto the chuck of the drill. I used my left hand to guide the yarn up and down the tube as I held down the trigger. Upshot? I wound two leftover skeins that had gotten messy into neat, tidy, center pull balls.

PS - A paper towel or aluminum foil tube works very well for longer hanks. I just finished the first hank of yarn for my Kepler - 180 yds - and it went very well on an aluminum foil tube. Of course, winding the bit of foil that was on that tube onto a new, unopened roll of foil made the roll too big for its box and my husband found that extremely entertaining.

3 yarns:

JustApril said...

Genius of improvision! Cool - I have LOTS of toiler paper tubes and 2 cordless drills - lol

jb said...

How wonderfully clever!! :) :) Now if only I can borrow my dad's drill and not get the yarn tangled up in it!!

Thanks again

Vena said...

Thank you, so much! You not only saved me a few coins...quite a few coins, I was just wondering what to do with the old electric plug-in drill I've had forever! You just gave it new life! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!