A SWIFT Solution: Five Tips for Successful Yarn Winding

Posted by Ladianne Henderson on

Sometimes we find ourselves staring in the face of VALUABLE, teachable information.  We know you love skeins dyed with gloriously deep, rich, and even naughty color.  We also know you do NOT love hot, tangled yarn messes.   Even with the best of yarns, you'll occasionally run into a skein that stares you in the eyes and issues an ultimatum.  "How much do you love me," it'll purr, and you'll be challenged to demonstrate your yarny adoration...by untangling.  And untangling.  And untangling... (You get the idea).

This is a good time to share with you some of the things we've learned from winding LITERALLY thousands of skeins of yarn in our shop and at home.   

Here are some tips:

  1. CHECK THE LOOPS! - Those twisted yarn hanks you see in our shop and other shops are big circles of yarn that are often held together with dye ties.  Those are the little pieces of string or yarn you see in a few spots on the hank when you open it up.  They are used to keep the yarn from tangling during the dyeing process.  Occasionally, one of the big loops of yarn will fold over.  When you open up the hank, look at a the dye ties BEFORE you put it on your swift (more on that in tip number 2...).  Make sure none of the yarn is crossed over the dye ties.  That's a sure indicator you will run into a problem!!  To fix the crossed over strands, gently put them where they go and check again.  You'll be glad you did!
  2. USE A SWIFT! - If there's one piece of equipment you would benefit from having, it's a swift.  Many people swear by their process of putting yarn on the back of a chair.  If you've been successful with it so far, great!  But we've seen more yarn carnage than anyone should ever have to...  Don't let yourself become the next victim of chair back yarn winding!  You can get away without having to buy a ball winder, but a swift will be life changing for you.
  3. If you run into a challenge, DO NOT TUG ON THE YARN! - This one is critical as well!  Tugging just make the existing knots angry, and they will spawn new knots.  Kind of like Tribbles.  Or Gremlins.  Also note that holding up the tangled mess to "see where that strand goes" allows gravity to do the tugging for you... 
  4. BE PATIENT!  - We know...you're ready to start your project, and this yarn winding business is standing between you and your maker happy place!  The bottom line is that many yarns are "grabby" - they want to kind of stick to themselves. That's normal.  But, if your hair's on fire because you JUST WANT TO ____________(knit, crochet, weave, etc.), the yarn will know it.  Trust us when we tell you yarn can smell your crafting desperation.  
  5. Let us wind it for you to begin with. - At Cheers To Ewe, we are happy to wind yarn you've bought from us for no extra charge.  HOWEVER, yarn that has been wound CANNOT be exchanged.  So, if you're good and sure that's the yarn you want to use when you buy it from us, let us know if you want us to wind it up for you!  If we run into a snafu while WE are winding your yarn, we'll fix it.  If you're shopping in our brick-and-mortar store and time permits, you can wait for yarn to be wound.  If we're screaming crazy busy and you've bought 30 skeins of lace weight mohair (thousands of yards of SUPER GRABBY, y'all...), then plan to come back and pick it up at a later time or date.  We'll get it set for you.  We can wind yarn we ship to you, but please note it is not eligible for exchange when it is wound.

If all else fails...you can get into zen mode and start detangling, or you can find a detangler.  We do not offer yarn untangling as a service.  We just don't do it.  At all.  But there are people who LOVE doing this kind of work.  Yes - for real!  There are even groups devoted to detangling.  Again, for real!  

We wish you all the best with your yarn adventures and we hope this is helpful!  We do sell yarn winding equipment, including swifts.  Here's a link if you want to check it out:  YARN WINDING EQUIPMENT


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