Monday, July 17, 2017

This Month's Video - Silver Needles Cone Winder

I meet a lot of beginning machine knitters, and if there's a rookie mistake most people make, it's not preparing their yarn before knitting - rewinding it.  Sure, there are instructions in the machine's manual telling you to do this, but the instructions don't tell you WHY to do it.

Your knitting machine uses yarn at an absolutely furious rate, yards in minutes.  It pulls it right into the yarn feeder, generally much too fast for you to notice a knot or a tangle.  Your machine will knit a knot right into your garment (usually in a TERRIBLY) visible place, and you won't know until you're sewing it together or blocking it.

Alternatively, your machine might choke on a knot or a tangle, giving you an absolutely horrendous mess - unjamming the machine, getting the knitting picked out or put back on needles, and getting the machine back into pattern.

Another problem is your yarn might be intended for hand knitting.  Machine knitting cone yarns have usually been treated to slide through the machine better than skeined yarns.  While you are preparing the yarn, you can hold a cheap candle against it, and you'll see a marked difference in how well the machine runs.

We have yarn winders for this, and I do love my Jumbo Yarn Winder, which makes a large, cake-shaped ball of yarn.  Once you wind yarn into a "cake," you get to choose whether to pull from the inside or the outside of the ball.  The inside is a straighter shot up to the machine's upper tension unit.  The outside works best if you leave the plastic core in the yarn. 

You need to be careful with winders not to wind your yarn too tightly.  Winding very tightly flattens the yarn and removes its elasticity.

The general rule is, you want your yarn to feed absolutely freely.  The only tension added to the fiber feeding should be from the machine.

Cakes, set on the floor, feed into the machine fairly well, but the very best way to feed the beast is with a cone on the floor.  I recently invested in a Silver Needles electric cone winder.  Now this is a blessing!  It puts my yarn on cones, which feed extremely well into my knitting machine.  For my circular sock machines, having the yarn coned makes an even bigger difference in ease of use and the evenness of the knitting.  In addition, the winder is fast, which means I can spend less time prepping yarn and more time knitting.

Here's my little video:

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