Advice Please

Sometimes I think it’s me. Actually a lot of the time I think it’s me when things seem more difficult than they should be. I am known for getting in my own way. 

Anyway, I was in a hurry last night to wind the Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine. I had two skeins and I didn’t want to lose two hours of prime knitting time rolling the yarn into a ball by hand. That is what I’ve been doing lately. I lay the skein on my lap and roll it into a ball. When I have time I don’t mind and I haven’t got a great place to attach the umbrella swift and ball wonder. The inherited tables are in too good a shape to scratch them attaching stuff. All I have left is the kitchen counter. It works just fine but they are kind of close. 

The problem I’ve run into is with the skeins once they’ve been wound. They’re really tight. Way tighter than is probably good for the yarn. What can I do to prevent this? Is it just the nature of the beast? Is the ball winder too close to the swift? Is the swift not spinning fast enough or maybe too fast? Any ideas? 


About nothingbutknit2

I'm a wife, mother and knitter. Watch out for my pointy sticks.
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14 Responses to Advice Please

  1. I dont have an advise on the tension, but when i need to clamp something to my dining table, I use some type of cloth (mostly a dish cloth) to put between the clamp and table to prevent scratches….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have found this as well. The first wound cake seems to be pretty tight, and I think it may be because of the swift and the tension from the spinning umbrella. 🙂 What I then do is put the cake in a huge deep bucket, and quickly rewind it a second time, gauging the tension with my fingers and making sure its not as tight. This goes pretty quickly. I have been advised that a very tight cake is not good for the yarn, hence the giving myself double work. 🙂 I am not good at getting the tension right the first time doing it straight from the swift, but it feels better the second time. I am sure however with practice it will get better.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. salpal1 says:

    I wonder if you kind of help the yarn come off the swift, pulling with your hand while you slowly crank the winder? SO that the pulling of the yarn off the swift is not done by tension between the ball winder and the swift, but by your hand, letting it roll more softly onto the winder? Otherwise, littleblackdogsa’s way will solve the problem perfectly. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SusanK says:

    It looks like your swift isn’t able to expand as you wind because it would knock into your cabinets. As I wind, the hank of yarn naturally loosens somewhat through the spinning motion, the swift expands, and the tension remains rather loose, creating a nice soft cake. I think if you could put your swift somewhere more open, you’d have better luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think Susan K’s recommendation is worth a try. You could try attaching your swift and winder over a piece of fabric to protect the tables if that would give you more room to work.

    Also, maybe try oiling the swift if that’s possible? (I think the problem probably is about the swift than about the distance to the winder. I don’t have an umbrella swift–I have one of those simple four-armed dealios–but I wind very close to it due to space issues with no problem.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have probably the cheapest winder there is and the tensioner on it doesn’t work right — it simply collapses or flails around wildly when it chooses. Two things I have learned from fighting with my winder is that if you hold the yarn with the hand you’re not cranking it with, it helps you control the tension as you’d like it and the faster you crank, the tighter the cakes are wound. The balls may also be too tight if your swift doesn’t move as freely as it should, any resistance and it will pull and tighten things. Not sure if any of that helps in your situation. If all else fails, you can always rewind the cake a second time, but usually once they’re removed from the center spool thing, they collapse inwards and unless they’re way-way-way too tight, they loosen up a fair bit (at least from what I’ve noticed with mine). Good luck! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Meg says:

    You might also consider swapping where you put the ball winder in relation to the swift. With the current setup, it might be adding to the tension the yarn is on as it comes off the swift/onto the winder.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. madgeface says:

    You’ve gotten lots of great suggestions, I just wanted to chime in and second Meg. If you can move the swift to a lower place that might help and adding a bit more distance between them might help too. I have that same swift and used candle wax (just rubbed on) to get it to stop squeaking when I used it. It helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Olivia says:

    I’m no help at all I still use the back of a chair!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. YarnyDragonfly says:

    I always use my left hand to hold the yarn as it goes through the ball winder (and turn the handle of the ball winder with my right hand). This helps keep the tension looser and will protect your ball winder from getting too much strain on it and possibly breaking a gear inside. It also alerts you to knots in the yarn – you will feel it right away as it slides through your left hand! Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have recently given up on the winder. I end up with horrible problems well into the ball. I just wind by hand, it takes a minute or two, but I think it is worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I use small wooden folding tables that I bought at a hardwood stores many years ago. I tighten the swift just enough to hold my yarn with some wiggle room. I put the table several feet from my winder. It can either be screwed to a table or handheld with a knob that came with it. I really like the knob. I believe that I get better tension. And my cakes are always nice and swishy.
    Oh, hey! Thanks for the like.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. SDSue says:

    whoever said that the swifts arms are too close together has it! The swift arms should stretch out so that they can spin unhindered. Use the hand tensioning ideas and the cloth under the clamps also. It is best if the swift and ball winder have a straight line of yarn between them, not too high or too low or too tight. When you wind, if you feel the yarn tightening up, back the swift up and see if there is a kink in the yarn, that will make a tight cake also. Have fun experimenting!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ruthsplace says:

    I’m able to expand my swift fully and the yarn is still too tight when it’s first wound into a cake because it’s coming off the swift under tension. I immediately rewind the cake of yarn working from the outside the second time.

    Liked by 1 person

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