Monday, July 16, 2012

So about that ballwinder

I caved. I got tired of having to impose on my LYS to wind giant balls (like the Wollmeise Lace-Garn I mentioned in my last post, which comes in 1740 yd / 300 g hanks). And I'm a real big fan of using The Right Tool for the Job. So I ordered the Nancy's Knit Knacks heavy duty ball winder.

It took me a while to figure out where to put it (no, I didn't clamp it to the back seat armrest in my Subaru). It has much nicer clamps than my old Royal, so I wasn't worried about marring the surface of a good table; but most of the tables in the house have either a very shallow lip extending over a vertical panel, or a routed edge. And of course there has to be somewhere nearby to mount a swift. The kitchen island countertop worked great, but my family assured me that I couldn't leave it set up there.

I finally settled on a little bookshelf in my living room. Here's the whole yarn-winding setup, ready to go. The swift has to be taken down between uses because it's clamped to the table where we usually eat. That's my laptop in the background; this is also the table where I usually do any extended computer usage this time of year, since it has great light and a nice view.

The ballwinder is every bit as good a tool as I had hoped. Better, in fact, since it's much more versatile in terms of, mounting position than I realized. It came fully assembled except for the handle and even included the necessary nut driver in case I ever have to open the case to adjust or lubricate the inner works. It's well-designed for its function and well-crafted with a nice finish, so I'm happy to have it sitting out in my living room. The photo above is pretty much the last non-word on its usefulness.

Unfortunately, my swift doesn't work nearly as well. The screw that holds the clamp below the umbrella to the vertical post is wooden, including the screw threads, and some of the threads broke off. So it doesn't hold very well, and the umbrella has a nasty tendency to collapse mid-winding if I encounter a resistant spot. And of course, once a skein falls off the first time, it tends to have a lot of resistant spots.

Today I got fed up and consulted my household engineer. A woodworking clamp under the umbrella is pretty clunky, and orange, but very effective. And next time I go to the hardware store, I'll see if I can find a smaller, round clamp (perhaps in the plumbing department?) that will do the job.

By the way, speaking of using the right tool for the job: if you need to give your long-haired cat a lion cut, don't use your husband's beard trimmer. Just sayin.'

No comments: