Being a bit tired of winding hanks of yarn by hand, some time ago I started looking for an umbrella swift and a yarn winder.
I wanted a wooden umbrella swift because I love how they look, to be honest, but they also seem to be sturdy and useful. I prefer to spend a little more money and get a more durable item that performs well, so regarding the wool winder it wasn’t at all clear to me which one to go for. I found a couple of great-looking ones, but the cost is a bit prohibitive for me at the moment. I wasn’t convinced by the little plastic ones that pop up often either. I am not a fan of plastic moving parts, and I read reports of them wearing off or breaking.
Several weeks ago I found a relatively local source for the umbrella swift (in the NL), and the price + shipping was good. I bought it from stormopzolder.nl/ (here, at the very bottom of the page, as “wolhaspel”) and received it promptly. Good service, I recommend it! The swift in particular is a Glimakra, made in Sweden out of birch wood.
There are a couple of wire girdles and the poles are tied with string, for the rest it is entirely and nicely made out of wood.
|Loki needs to inspect everything…|
When I received it, the finish was pretty good, but I still sanded the central parts where the wool would rest with a 600 grit emery paper (this is pretty fine-grained), since very thin wool was still catching slightly on it. I also rubbed a piece of white soap along the wooden parts that have friction to make movement easier.
|This project is an Ugh|
|The second (yellow), slightly better|
For a while I did wind by hand out if it, which was already an improvement from having the wool resting on some chair backs. I also tried an improvised nostepinne, out of a tool I use in the jewellery workshop, which admittedly is a little too short. This made nice(r) cakes, at least after trying a few times, but honestly, it was still a pain!
|This was epic, 875 yards of Drops Lace yarn. Gah.
By the end you can see I got kind of lazy… but I swear it is nicer inside ;P
So I continued researching yarn winders, and it wasn’t too easy to find reviews. Eventually, scouring German Ebay for “wollwickler”, I found an expired (sold) listing for a vintage yarn winder that looked pretty solid: Knittax wollwickler (wool winder). I also found a handful of mentions via Google searches and people seemed to be happy with this item. I found a listing on Ebay.com (from the US) for a reasonable price (including the shipping, more than a plastic winder, a lot less than a modern wooden winder), so I went ahead and bought it.
I received it just today! I am very happy with the construction. It is built around a sturdy cast iron body, with machined gears, other metal moving parts, a wooden handle and cone for the wool (smooth and varnished) which also has rubber ring at its base.
I impatiently put it to the test! first I wound was a skein of 50g of Drops Karisma DK weight (which totally didn’t need to be wound but I had just received it this morning and was thus very much at hand!). Next were a couple of partial (less than 50g) hanks of Cascade 220 sport-weight wool. All of them went like a dream.
|Winding the yarn a few times, then inserting it into the slit.
This way you will find the strand for a center pull cake.
|Tanhu and Marine Silk|