Yarn Winder – Loops & Threads / Darice

Darice_yarn_winder

So I bought a yarn winder that arrived over the weekend! I’d been seriously thinking about buying one for a couple weeks and ended up getting the Darice yarn winder (which is the same as the Michaels brand Loops & Threads yarn winder).

I’d been looking at different styles and brands. I found this post which talks about different yarn winders and picking the right winder for your needs. I was actually thinking about Windaze knockoff or a Lacis yarn winder, but since my budget was limited and I couldn’t get the jumbo Lacis that I would’ve wanted, at the last minute, I decided to get the Darice / Loops & Threads yarn winder from Amazon.

I looked at a few youtube reviews and tutorials like this one. Initially, I was worried about the winder because there were a few negative reviews on the Michaels website. But after looking at youtube reviews and tutorials, I was fairly sure of what to expect and how to make the winder work for me.

Yarn winders operate similarly to the way a bobbin winder works on a sewing machine. There’s a tension guide that you feed the yarn through and you have to wrap your yarn around the shaft of the yarn winder a couple of times and then you just crank it and the little metal yarn holder/tension guide moves back and forth until the yarn fills up.

To use this winder, you need to 1. Put your yarn through the notch on the plastic brim of the winder. 2. Wrap the yarn around the shaft a couple times 3. Feed it through the metal holder/tensioner and then hold the yarn in your hand either up at an angle or parallel to the machine and let your hand control the tension (see the tutorial link above to get a visual example).

You’ve got to crank the yarn at a decent speed. In that respect, I agree with Laura Felicia’s review, where she says that the key to using this machine is managing the speed and tension so you don’t have floppy yarn. You want to go at a good clip, not too slow.

The Darice / Loops & Threads machine will hold about 4oz of yarn. It comes with a metal clamp that you slide into the back and then clamp onto a sturdy table. The clamp secures and stabilizes the machine as you’re winding.

I was able to make four yarn cakes on the machine and it was a lot of fun!! In the picture below, you can also see the little turquoise ball I made from leftover yarn.

Note: since this yarn winder holds 4oz, you cannot fit a large skein of yarn into just one cake. You will have to make two (more if you’re winding a one pound skein). The purple ombre yarn was too big to fit the whole thing on the winder, so I had to hand-wind the last bit of yarn. It was a partial skein, so if I was winding the yarn from the beginning, I would’ve made two balls of yarn.

Some people like to use the smaller 4oz yarn winders just for leftover yarn. Others prefer to wind entire skeins into cakes or balls so that it’s easier to use while knitting so they don’t have to worry about knots or unwinding a skein from the outside. The winder makes center-pull cakes.

The Darice winder is relatively small and portable and doesn’t have a lot of confusing parts. You don’t have to “assemble” it apart from sliding the clamp through the slot in the back so that you can attach it to your table. The box is relatively small too, so you could save the box it comes in for easy storage.

Note: the winder is not quiet. It makes a sound very similar to a sewing machine when it is running. The sound is not an issue for me, but it might be an issue if you have an infant or if you like to do your knitting late into the evening when family members are asleep.

Overall, I’d recommend the Darice / Loops & Threads yarn winder. You can find it at Michaels for around $29-$32 (less if you have a 40% off coupon). Amazon has it for around $23.

I’d give it 4.5 stars for ease of use out of the box and the sturdy quality of the machine. I wish it could hold more yarn, but overall, I’m happy with my purchase.

For those that don’t have the budget to spend on a yarn winder, but who want center-pull yarn balls, I did see this tutorial on how to use a hand mixer and a paper towel roll to make yarn balls. I’m not sure I’m brave enough for this one! 🙂

Happy Looming!

If you have a yarn winder you love, tell us about it in the comments.

 

 

New Looms! Weekend Shopping Trip

KB Looms & Clover Accessories – Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

Last weekend, I went with a friend to JoAnn to finally buy the Knitting Board Afghan Loom that I’ve been coveting. I have a Loops & Threads Long Loom (which you can read my review of here), but I’ve been wanting to get the KB Afghan loom because it will make a blanket suitable for a queen/full-size bed. You can make large blankets on other looms, but generally you have to work in strips or panels.

I also scored several skeins of yarn, another KB ergonomic knitting hook (my favorite), a Susan Bates digital stitch counter that goes on the fingers, and a smaller KB loom kit suitable for hats, scarves and making those cute little amigurumi-style animals. Oh, I grabbed a set of Clover pom pom makers, too. I tried making a cardboard one last month, but I don’t think it will hold up for long-term use.

So far, I am not fond of the Susan Bates stitch counter that goes on the fingers. It loses the count if I move around too much and randomly adds a number. It seems to work better on the thumb, but I may have to just lay it on the table instead of wearing it. I was tempted to return the stitch counter, but I’m not sure when I’ll make it back to JoAnn. I’m not convinced it’s much better than the counter I already had, which is the kind you have to wind up or down whenever you add a row. I probably should’ve gotten the more expensive red Clover counter that you can hang on the neck.

Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting
Photo by Venus – Adventures in Loom Knitting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll probably post a review later or maybe put up a comparison of some of my looms.

Right now, I’m still working on knitting the cover for the top of my office chair and I’m making a spiral knit hat for myself in purple. If you haven’t seen my other post about spiral knit hats and want to learn how to do them, click here.

I’m looking forward to trying out the bright purple and blue striped Red heart yarn.

This weekend, I’ll be visiting a friend and teaching her a little about loom knitting. She is a crocheter and also likes to weave. She was going to buy a loom when we went to JoAnn last weekend, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to make her own knitting loom in her woodshop. So I’m going to show her some basics and see if she likes it enough to try making a loom of her own.

Happy Looming!

Have you purchased any fun new looms or accessories? Let us know in the comments below.