Not Too Swift

Swift with BallwinderTwo years ago at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, I purchased a large capacity ball winder.  This was going to be great, I thought.  It would let me wind larger skeins into one center-pull ball of yarn, instead of having to divide it into two balls the way I had been doing it with my smaller ball winder.    Well, from Day One I started having problems with it.  The “belt” would slip and the yarn would start winding down further along the shaft of the ball winder or because of the slippage, I wouldn’t be able to get the swift to turn.  What a mess.  When that happened (which was more times than not), I ended up having to pull lengths of yarn off the swift and onto the floor and then turn the crank of the ball winder while I applied tension through the yarn guide.   This got tedious REALLY fast when I’d be working with a skein with a lot of yardage.

SwiftWell, yesterday (which happened to be the hottest day of the summer so far here), I was up in my guest room where I have these babies located and I was getting ready to wind up five skeins of Silky Malabrigo for my next project.  I wasn’t looking forward to messing around with the “pull off and hand guide” method in the 100+ degrees that it was up in that room.  I looked at the swift and had a moment of inspiration.  “What if I didn’t open the swift up as far as it would go?” I wondered.  “Would that make any difference?”  By golly, I put the opened skein on the swift, opened up the umbrella as far as it would go and THEN backed it down a tad and locked her in place.  I threaded the yarn through the yarn guide and onto the ball winder and started to crank.  Friends, it worked like a charm.  I couldn’t believe it.  For TWO YEARS I’ve struggled with this ball winder and cursed it every time I used it.  And here the solution was right within my grasp.  It was simply that I had the swift open too far which was putting too much tension on the yarn, causing the belt on the ball winder to slip.

Lest I got too prideful, fate intervened and gave me one final little jab when one of the five skeins turned out to be a tangled mass.  Good grief!  I don’t know why a skein would come from the factory like that but I’ll tell you, it was like trying to work my way through a maze.  I had to take what was left on the swift, find the other end and start winding it in reverse until I could take the little ball of yarn that I now had in my hand and slip it in and out of the twisted strands of yarn on the swift …finally releasing the whole mess.  Ugh!  Wouldn’t you know that there would be one bad egg in the bunch?  But I got it all done without felting most of it, despite the high temps.

IMG_4217And now on to my project.  I think I’ll be taking this along with me on our vacation.  It is called the “Vine Bolero” and it was designed by Emily Johnson.  It is sized to fit a bust 30″ to 46 “.  I’ll be making it in the suggested Malabrigo Silky Merino in the “Cape Cod Grey” colorway.  There aren’t any sleeves to sew in with this project or side seams to do so it should be fairly straight-forward.  And there is a lovely little lace pattern on the front, sleeves and center back.    Then again, maybe I’ll pick some other project.  Now that I have cracked the mystery of the balky ball winder, I’m actually looking forward to winding up more yarn.

  • skoots1mom

    love that pattern and yarn…
    answers are wonderful especially when they help you with a task like this

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