Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winding Yarn Before Knitting

I keep seeing discussions about rewinding yarn on the various lists, and thought I'd share some thoughts on rewinding yarn:

1.       Yarn fed into a knitting machine should not have any resistance at all until it goes through the tension mast; therefore, it should always be coned or rewound.  You can strip it (pull it out of the skeins and pile it loosely, in order, into a container), too, but you'd best use it right away.
2.       This is incredibly true with sock machines.  People who skip the rewinding step suffer with many more problems; some of them “get by,” but I like to be relaxed and confident as I work. 
3.       IMHO, cones are best, rewound second-best.  (Some circular sock knitters use paint rollers, and I consider them very unacceptable.)   Yarn feeds best from down on the floor, too, not up by the machine.  
4.       It takes extra time to wind yarn loosely enough.  I often wind my wool sock yarn twice, trying for an extremely loose “cake” of yarn. 
5.       I NEVER store a tightly wound ball of yarn.  If I ever receive a tightly-wound ball of yarn I rewind it more loosely right away.  It’s amazing how fast tight-winding can stretch and crush yarn so it loses its springy, fluffy attributes.
6.       I prefer freshly-wound yarn for knitting because as it sits around it become more “sticky,” tangled and difficult to feed.  We noticed in our shop that the longer skeins sat around, the more tangled they were when finally used.  Commercial skeins might have been wound a while ago in the factory, then handled as they were packed and shipped and unpacked, handled when picked up by customers and also handled each time we’d straighten the shelves.  Some ball shapes are more prone to tangling than others, as well.
7.       I’ve taken to using a jumbo yarn winder for even my small balls of yarn.  It’s not only fast, but the center core is bigger.   When you pull it off the winder, the yarn fills in the center which makes it looser.  
8.    I do often use "cakes" of yarn and pull from the center, but for really difficult yarn, I leave it on the winder core and pull from the outside.  

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