Really Clear: How to Use a Swift and Yarn Winder (cc)

Yarn that comes in a fancy skein like this needs to be wound. The first thing you do is take the tag off. And then you unwrap the yarn. When you unwrap it, you want to be sure that you keep it exactly how the manufacturer or hand-dyer had it. So you want to keep everything together where there’s a knot. You put it over the swift, which opens and closes like an umbrella. I clamp mine to a TV tray–that just is the easiest way for me. You might have a good table at home that works. Then you look for the place where it’s knotted, to be tied together, and you untie it. If you’re impatient you can use scissors at this stage. I’m just about getting there! Now you can see that this place has about 4 ties so it’s hard to say exactly how this thing is knotted, which makes it a little, teeny bit dangerous to cut, so I’m going to open it up. I guess I’m losing my impatience. Okay. So that’s one end of it. We want to get rid of anything that’s wrapped around this yarn too. There’s a loose one, and then there’s one that’s like this. There’s one strand that’s going to be kind of on the outside, and one on the inside. The inside one I try to tuck in. And then I go around the winder the whole way and make sure that this is going to continue coming and pulling from the outside. I kind of make everything go like this. (If I leave the scissors on, they’re going to rattle off.) You want to make sure that your ball winder has the end out like that. And you go through the loop. You just take it and go up and through. Two little notches–you put the yarn in those, and you begin winding. There is no rush on the winding. I like to hold my hand out like this, because I find that when I do, I can catch knots that are in the yarn. If I find one, I clip that yarn at that point and just make 2 balls. And I can also make sure that it doesn’t catch onto the swift. Sometimes when you’re going like this… right now it’s working. Other times it will catch onto the edges of the swift. You don’t want to wind very quickly. ….See? That’s what happens. I was hoping it would! You don’t want to wind very quickly because if you do, the yarn can start kind of flying around…it gets too tense… you catch it in things… So you just want to gently go around. When you’re finished, you have a ball. These are called “cakes.” I like to use my cake from the outside. Some people use it from the inside. The problem with that is, when you’re pulling it from the inside–you’re using it and using it and using it–eventually, this outside collapses down, and you end up with a pile of yarn. And I prefer just having the cake the whole way through. So I prefer pulling from the outside And it pulls very nicely, as you can see. It won’t roll around on the floor. So it’s kind of nice. Some people like to roll a ball of yarn that’s already in balls into cakes just because of ease of use. So that’s how you use a yarn winder and swift. I recommend that you get them, and it’ll make your knitting easier.

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