Friday, February 20, 2009

Ball Winder

Continuing my "occasional series, introducing vital pieces of equipment" . . . mmm that does sound a bit grander than, "looking at my stuff" . . . here is my ball winder: The little metal arm with the coiled eyelet swings out to guide the yarn. The end of the yarn is held in the slit at the top of the plastic cylinder. When I wind the handle, the bit that looks like a flying saucer spins around and wobbles from side to side. It wobbles in a predictable patttern because of the angle at which it is set . . . and the result is a ball of yarn that looks like this:

This is alpaca yarn--that's it's natural colour. I have a darker grey, a chocolate brown and a caramel--also natural colours, just as they came off the alpaca's back, only cleaner--to go with it. The point about the ball of yarn, though, is that I can pull the yarn out from the centre of the ball. So the ball doesn't bounce around while I'm working with it. Believe me, that is a good thing!

I commented earlier that the "ball winder" has a rather unimaginative name. Since then I've remembered, and started to research something called a "nostepinde". That's a fancy name for something that looks like a nicely shaped wooden stick. It's the predecessor of the ball winder. All the turning and wobbling from side to side is done by hand. I admired one at the Guild the other day and one of my fellow students commented that she does exactly the same winding pattern on a toilet roll and it works just fine! So, why would I bother even thinking about a nostepinde? Well, the ball winder is a bit bulky, whereas a nicely shaped wooden stick, aka nostepinde would fit nicely into my pencil case. And besides, I just love gizmos and gadgets and nicely shaped pieces of wood, so I'd rather have one of those in my pencil case than an empty toilet roll.

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