Planning to buy a yarn ball winder but don’t know which one’s the best for you? This yarn winder buying guide will help you choose by explaining all you need to consider when selecting a new yarn winder.
A yarn winder is a must-have tool in every knitting and crochet enthusiasts’ craft collection. There are many names for this tool – a wool winder, ball winder, yarn baller, or yarn roller. No matter what you call it, a yarn winder will make the time-consuming and annoying task of winding yarns much easier.
Yarn Winder Buying Guide
There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing a yarn winder. Starting from should you want one? Should you go for an electric one or a hand crank? Is it compatible with multiple yarn brands? Is the size of a yarn ball or cake a factor to consider?
Check out this list of 10 factors to consider when choosing the best yarn winder to match your requirements.
Why Do Need A Yarn Winder?
Sometimes, premade yarn cakes do not move or unwind smoothly and tend to flop around like a fish when you pull the yarn. To avoid this, you either need to hand-wind the yarn into balls or use a yarn bowl. Or, you can buy a yarn winder to make center-pull yarn cakes that will sit flat and won’t flop around. It’s just a 2 minutes job and will save you so much time!
Yarn winders can also help you preemptively identify any knots and weak points in the yarn. This way, you can fix the problems before starting your work.
This yarn tool can also prevent any yarn tangling if you start to pull from the center of the skein. Don’t spend time unwinding or untangling yarn, as it is very likely that there’ll be a need if you reach the end of the skein without winding.
Another reason why you need a yarn winder is because you can make your own yarn cakes from leftover yarn. It’s also easier to keep any partial skeins organized in cake form rather than half droopy skeins.
Well, you don’t have to have a winder, but if you want one to make your life easier, there are some more questions you need to ask yourself first.
Choosing a Yarn Ball Winder
1. Manual or Electric
It is more of a personal preference. Electric winders are generally pricey than manual hand winders. With manual tools, you get more flexibility and control. You can even place it wherever you want without being restricted by proximity to a power outlet or such. On the other hand, electric yarn winders are convenient and you just have to place the yarn to get the job done.
2. Hank or Skein
Well, what is the form of yarn you are starting with – a skein or a hank? Check out the differences between the different types of yarn packagings to understand your requirements. Hanks are usually the fancier type of yarn you can get from premium stores while skeins are what you get from craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
3. Yarn Swift?
It is another tool that goes with yarn winders. When you untwist a hank for winding, you get a large circle of yarn which you generally place on a back of a chair. Yarn swifter basically replaces the chair and spins in circles while the yarn winder does its job.
There is a large variation in price points for different yarn winders. You have to set a budget and then choose from the lot as all of them perform the same function.
5. Sturdiness of Winder – Wood or Plastic?
The base material of a winder plays an important role in the quality of the job done and for how many years it will last. If you have a winder with cheaper quality materials, the gears can damage the yarn itself if it slips underneath. In a better quality winder, the gears are better protected and the yarn does not move from its position.
Most yarn winders require the yarn to be held so that it provides extra tension while winding. There are versions where the electric yarn winder automatically controls the tension, but these models cost a pretty buck. You might just choose to go with a version where you can provide tension while the tool works on winding.
7. Size of Yarn Cakes or End Product
Before you finalize your choice, you need to figure out the size of yarn cakes you want. You need to research how much it can hold. Cheaper versions of yarn winders can hold about 3.5-4 oz of yarn while the largest in the market can hold 16 oz of yarn (think Caron One Pound). There are some which have an even bigger capacity, but they are so expensive that you would rather opt-out from this quest of choosing a winder.
So, the point is, you have to choose the correct size otherwise you’ll have to break a skein into two parts (the average skein is about 7 oz). It won’t matter if you are winding partial skeins but that’s not the case always.
8. Partial Skeins or Whole Skeins?
This is a similar question to answer like the previous one – what is the intended use? Are you planning to simply use it for partial skeins so that they can be stored in an organized way? Will you wind all the yarns before working? If you’re only going to use it for partial skeins, you can go for a small 4 oz winder.
It is in the lines of the sturdiness of a winder. Along with the base material, the table clamp should give the winder a sturdy grip. And, while being sturdy and grip-py, it should, at the same time, not damage the surface it is fixed on.
10. Crank System
If you are choosing a manual winder, the crank system should be smooth and have an even tension when it is not in use. It should not feel like it is going to come off as soon as you place a yarn and start winding.
11. Ease of Setup
You need a winder to make your life easier and spend less time winding yarn. So, a winder should be easy and simple to set up, not complicated that you need to spend time is just setting it up.
Next week, we will give you our recommendations for the best yarn winders that you can buy!
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