Reds, Squirrels and Knitting Equipment


I have been waiting for this photo, wondering when the pile of red maple leaves would appear in front of my house.  This autumn, orange and red were not the colors that usually have been abundant.  I'd have to say yellow and brown grasped center stage this year.

I love when I grab the big camera to walk outside, Frodo does twirls and dances about because he loves photography as well.  Ever so patient, when I stop, he stops and waits.  We walk and crunch and notice nature.  He is secretly looking for the squirrels that evade him.  This week, Frodo almost caught a squirrel, but I yelled "Frodo, no!!!!!" and that split second of ignoring me and continuing the hunt gave the squirrel a fighting chance.


Here is a leaf bouquet for you :)  I knew you'd like it!


This oak tree will keep it's fall dressings until the spring.  I believe he wants to be a trendsetter when it comes to autumn and spring behaviors.


I love him :)

I received an email from a reader about knitting equipment, so I thought I would answer here for all of you to read.  She wondered if I owned a ball winder and a swift, brands, and recommendations.

I do own a ball winder, I inherited my mother's and she bought it at a garage sale.  It squeaks a bit when I ball up yarn but so far it has been a sturdy piece of equipment.  I have no idea as to what brand it is!  I do not own a swift, I lay the hank on the table near the ball winder and sometimes put a bowl in the middle and hope for the best.  I never desire a swift until I tangle my yarn, that is when I wish upon earth to own one.  Not to brag, but I am quite talented at NOT tangling my hanks :) Truth be told, I'd rather spend the money on more yarn.

My advice is to buy what you can afford.

So dear readers, do you own a ball winder and a swift?  what brands?  advice?

Comments

  1. Thank you for asking the winder / swift question! My LYS winds all the yarn that I purchase there, but I'm stumped on what to do when I receive yarn gifts of unwound hanks. I've decided to ask for a set from my family for Christmas, but was just wondering how common this is for a knitter to own these tools. And I'm not the most productive knitter . . . ha!

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  2. hee, hee....I love this question!!! yep...I have a ballwinder that my daughter bought for me used on ebay years ago. we a-l-m-o-s-t wore it out when i had the shop, but bought one for the shop before this one kicked the bucket, so it still works----but i never use it. i have an antique swift that i'm afraid to use. I never thought to try the bowl in the middle of the skein trick....so next time i need to wind, i just may try that. i'm a....throw-the-skein-around-the-back-of-the-chair-and roll into a ball.....girl. (Those lace skein take FOREVER!!!!)

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  3. It's funny that you say your fall hasn't included much red or yellow - we seem to have an abundant of both colors swirling around our neighborhood - more than ever. Or maybe I am just more aware this year - enjoying the wonderful fall weather!

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  4. I do own a ball winder and swift, a gift from my husband the first year I learned to knit. Funny, I still have a problem with Malabrigo tangling so I guess sometimes it doesn't matter what 'toys' you have to use.
    Love seeing all the pretty colors where you are....I saw you may get SNOW next week!

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  5. I owned a winder for a good year or more before getting a swift, and I have to say I often lamented that I bought them in the wrong order! I don't mind winding balls by hand, but I find that hanks can be so complicated to manage even when they don't tangle, and it just takes so darn *long* to wind them without a swift!

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  6. I may be in the minority as I don't own a ball winder or swift. Skeins store easily and are squashable in storage bins. When I'm ready to use skeins, I drape the hank over the back or arm of a recliner, or sometimes I just hang it over my knees, and carefully wind a ball. It does take a while to do it without tangles, but it gives me a chance to 'know' the yarn and feel for knots, splices, etc. I'm with you; I'd rather spend the money on yarn than equipment I have to store someplace!

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  7. Frodo is a cutie! One of our dogs couldn't care less about photography and the other one is really afraid of the camera. No idea why, but she hears the little "ding" when we turn it on and she cowers.
    I do not own a ball winder or a swift. My "method" is wrapping the yarn around my knees and winding it by hand. Like you, I'd rather spend my money on yarn. ;-) Have a great, enjoyable weekend!

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  8. Awww...Frodo.
    I bought my mom a ball winder and swift a few xmas's ago. She stopped knitting after that, though. And I did too. SO now it's gathering dust in a closet somewhere. She's a good knitter though, soiI'm hoping she'll pull it out before xmas this year and get to work! My girls have some darling knitted skirts she made them a few years ago.....
    XO

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  9. I always love your photos, Karen. Our Sydney turns her head or walks away when she hears the camera being turned on. :-) I received a swift and ball winder as a gift from my husband several years ago and love them both.

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  10. I have hands and usually there is someone around to wind my yarn. My LYS is also just a 10 minute walk away, and I've known the owner for years, so she will often wind a skein for me if I am in a hurry or desperate. Maybe the swift and winder will happen here some day... but not yet!

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  11. I have a lovely wooden swift that I picked up at a Mennonite farm in our area. The ball winder is plastic, about $35ish at many of the online yarn stores, and I hate it. So I guess that means I'm utterly unhelpful. The swift however is gorgeous and a lovely conversation piece ;-)

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  12. I love seeing pictures of Frodo.
    I bought my swift years ago from the LYS. It's a large wooden umbrella swift and I wouldn't be without it. The ball winder is one of the ubiquitous ball winders you can find anywhere and I'm on my second one (in 35 years of knitting). Luckily, I have a place for it to be ready for use at all times.

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  13. Thank you, Karen, for the leaf bouquet...especially thank you for the Oak leaves! My FAVORITE! ;) Hmmm....I wonder if that makes me a trend setter? lol

    Frodo is adorable! And your story about giving the squirrel a chance to escape Frodo's reach reminded me of when our daughter was about 10. Rabbits had been enjoying huge feasts from our garden and my husband went to get the gun to shoot it. Our daughter, knowing what her dad was going to do, ran to the door and yelled, "RUN, BUNNY, RUN!" :)

    I always wondered if knitters did actually ball up their yarn. When I crochet I remove the wrapper and just begin crocheting. At one time I did ball up my yarn (well, actually, my husband did it for me), but then I read somewhere that it tends to tear down the fibers of the yarn. That is when I started just removing the wrapper and crocheting.

    Lovely post, Karen!

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  14. thanks for the lovely walk today, Karen :)

    I own a ball winder & swift but only because my husband gave them to me as gifts ~ I'm a bit anti-gadget and like to make do with what I have but I have to say, although I would never bought them for myself I do love them so!!

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  15. I also love red maple leaves - they always "prove" to me that fall is here!

    Frodo is a cutie. Please give him a pat from me.

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  16. I have an ancient swift that I bought at a thrift store for........$3. I was very excited. It came in the original box made by nesco in NYC. It consists of a small square of wood with a hole and adjustable metal arms. Works very well I love it. I do not have a winder.
    I have tried to find information on-line about the swift but no luck. Anyone out there know?

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  17. Karen, I ♥ your Friday posts!
    Frodo looks so handsome. : ) I love the way you described your walk with him and the things you saw and the red maple leaf bouquet.

    I got a yarn swift and ball winder a couple of years ago for Christmas. I do love them, as they make quick work of winding hanks.

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  18. I think I am in the minority among knitters in that I do not own a swift and ball winder. I wind my yarn like my Grandma did, I drape the skein over the back of a chair or over my knees and wind the yarn by hand. I have very few problems with tangled yarn and it doesn't take that long. I guess I can't justify spending all that money on equipment that is really unnecessary.

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  19. Lovely pictures! I don't own a swift or a ball winder. I wouldn't mind it someone gave me one, but for now, I'm saving my pennies. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I put the yarn around my feet (while sitting on the floor) and wind the yarn by hand.

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  20. Beautiful photographs. Even though we are far away from eachother I have been noticing the difference in the leaf colours this year. I think it was the unseasonable weather (still snowing well in to April) and the fact that we actually had a Summer here this year.

    I don't have any gadgets for winding yarn. I place the hank over the back of a dining chair and wind by hand. I never waste a scrap this way and it doesn't take as long as you'd think (although I tend to do them one at a time).

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  21. Thank you for the lovely bouquet. :)

    No special tools here; I just wind by hand with the help of whomever happens to be close!

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  22. Beautiful leaves!
    I do own a ball winder and a swift. Both are Knitpicks brand. They have been stellar accessories for the last 5 years. They were gifted to me. While right now, I don't think I could live without them, I would have never bought them for myself. Like you, I would rather spend my money on yarn. :)

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  23. Great fall photos, Karen. Those oak trees are devious and wait till everyone thinks they've finished raking and then dump their leaves. At least around here, it happens in the early spring. I have a winder and swift and use both often, a gift from DH whose arms got tired. LOL

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  24. We had lots of yellow here, too. And not too much of anything left at all
    My knitting daughter and I share a ball winder (plastic, nothing fancy from craft store ) and a wooden swift that someone gave her from knitting group when they upgraded. Love them both and feel lucky to have access to them! Have a great weekend!

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  25. No ball winder and no swift...thanks goodness the yarn shop winds them for me. All our fall colour is done, but it was beautiful well it lasted.

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  26. Such beautiful leaves! Oh my goodness, to spend a day crunching through them:)

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