I have begun a new, large shawl – based on the Pi are Square shawl from E Zimmermann (I’ve made some of these before, they’re on my projects on Ravelry). I have some Fibrespates Luscious Wool, in a deep red, that came in a skein, and therefore had to be wound off into balls to use. So, when I was last at Knuston Hall, I got out my fabulous Mama Bear swift, which looks like this… and got winding. 🙂 To wind off a skein, one of the most important things (for peace of mind…) is to get the wool on the swift BEFORE you cut the ties that bind – let me repeat that – ON swift, THEN cut. Really. Your sanity may depend on this… You can see the ties in this picture… once the wool is on the swift, THEN they can be cut… That then leaves you will the wool, nicely spread out on the swift, and ready to wind… Take the end of the wool out, and feed it into the winder. I always worry that I won’t be able to find the centre bit of the centre pull ball, but somehow that’s never been a problem. And then wind… and wind… and wind some more. If you have people around who are interested in the process, let them wind, as well. Fun for all the family (and it saves your arm!). Keep cats OUT of the process, however, as mine, at least, finds it amazingly intriguing and she has to stick a paw in to check the tension…
Once you have wound what seems to be an ocean’s worth of wool, you end up with something very pretty and amazing, like this: Isn’t that fantastic? And all I had to do was turn the handle – all that fancy winding got done automatically! Lift the yarn ball (often called a cake) off the winder, drag the original bit of wool out of the centre, and you’re off!
If you’ve not got a swift, you can substitute a couple of chairs or a willing accomplice (ply accomplice with tea and cake but not too much tea – you don’t want them having to run to the loo part way through!). And no cake till after (crumbs – not a good look in a ball of wool). If you don’t have a swift and are thinking about getting one, I can’t recommend these people highly enough – the Oregon Woodworker.
And there you have it – from scary skein to useable cake in just a few minutes! 🙂
The shawl, predictably, will take a bit more time….