Saturday, October 6, 2012


This is a squirrel cage swift.  I find that it works much better than the more common umbrella swifts that are available.  The skein behaves better in this orientation, so even when I'm using an umbrella swift, I will mount it with the axle horizontal rather than vertical as seen in every ad for them I've ever seen.  :)  Notice that I am taking the yarn off the bottom of the skein, preferably from the outside of it.  The skein is placed as low down on the swift as possible.  If it is up higher there is a tendency for it to tip if a snag develops.

And this is a Silver Needles cone winder.  It's not as good as an industrial cone winder but actually works quite well for doing small numbers of cones.  If used for any length of time the motor tends to overheat, eventually shutting itself off until it is cool enough to run again.  But for winding off of a skein, it does work.  I do find that placing the winder in this orientation when winding directly from a skein it works better than having it come from the side as I would if I were winding off of a cone.

The winder should never be left to wind off of a skein unattended.  If the skein is a dense or slippery yarn, the upper layers of yarn can cut down into the lower layers and snag.  The motor will stop winding, but does not shut off and therefore the motor could burn out if left stuck like that.  For yarns like rayon it is sometimes necessary to help the swift unwind so that the motor doesn't labour unnecessarily.

When we got the cone winder it did not have a vent to help cool the motor, so Doug cut one into the top and filled the hole with a piece of screening to help prevent fibres from being sucked into the hole - or anything else, like unwary fingers.

So while I tend to put off coning skeins off, it is necessary if I'm going to wind a warp.  If I'm just winding from the skein for weft I will take the yarn directly from the skein onto the bobbins.  I got the skein onto cones and will wind the 'sample' warp for the Handwoven article sometime today, in between running loads of textiles through the washer and dryer.

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