A couple of weeks ago, Barb Bankord contacted me and asked if I was interested in trying a Silver Needles electric cone winder. I have had a Simmet ball winder for years and was skeptical about whether or not I would use a cone winder, but I asked her to send it along so I could check it out. I am so glad that I did because right now I am going through yarn like “Grant through Richmond” working on The Book That Will Not End (TBTWNE) and all of the yarn, Cascade 220 worsted, comes in skeins that need to be wound into balls. Up till now I have been using the electric ball winder with a couple of little problems:
The ball winder requires me to tension the yarn through my hand and right now, in the dead of winter, the air is so dry that I keep building up static electricity that gets discharged when I turn off the unit. Ouch! The other issue with the ball winder is that it winds the yarn into a fairly tight ball and I usually have to re-wind each ball to get a working tension on the yarn. I still love my electric ball winder, but I am also smitten with the cone winder and here is why:
First of all, it is hands free so no more shocks! The unit has a sturdy, non-skid base that keeps it in place even when winding directly from the umbrella swift. You can increase or decrease the tension on the yarn depending on how you thread the guide and there is also a knot detector. I didn’t bother using that feature to wind the Cascade because I almost never find a knot in their yarn (really) and I was afraid that it might put too much tension on the yarn as it came off the umbrella swift, but I’m not sure I needed to worry about that.
There is a little guide on the side that makes sure the cones fill evenly from end to end. You can use that stash of cones you have been saving (sorry, no more donations to the local nursery school unless cones are the wrong size) or you can order re-usable plastic cones with the unit. There is no comparison between the way yarn knits off a cone or a ball. I’ll take a cone any day, but up until now, none of the yarns I use had that option.
This little video will give you a good idea how the winder operates. You’ll also get a look at my studio space, which is next on the list for a good spring cleaning now that I have finished the charts for all 160 swatches in the 2nd chapter of TBTWNE. Just have to finish winding the yarn for the third and final set of swatches…….so the end is in sight.
I am really happy to recommend these cone winders. There are so few companies out there who cater to machine knitters’ needs. Silver Needles is a small, family owned business that has managed to stay in business since the 90’s. The winders are not inexpensive, but this time I think you will get what you pay for.
Contact info: Barb Bankord, PO Box 2722, Carefree AZ 85377-2722
Email: SilverNeedlesWI@aol.com Phone: 480-488-2620