Saturday, 27 April 2013

Day 6: A Tool to Covet

Write about your favourite knitting or crochet (or spinning, etc) tool. It can either be a tool directly involved in your craft (knitting needles or crochet hook) or something that makes your craft more pleasurable – be it a special lamp, or stitch markers.

Is it an item that you would recommend to others, and if so for which applications/tasks do you think it is most suited. Conversely, do you have a tool/accessory that you regret buying? Why does it not work for you?

As soon as I saw this topic I knew that my ultimate tool, the one that I could never do without would be one of the ultimate triumvirate of knitting and spinning, the ballwinder, the swift and the niddy noddy.  While I can happily say that all three are pretty much indispensable to me, I've decided there can only be one winner, one ultimate tool that you can pry from my cold dead hands.  So, which will it be?

In order of acquisition the ball winder came first.  I can't be sure exactly what prompted me to buy it, but I wouldn't be surprised it if was attempting to ball 2 skeins of Filatura di Crosa Centolavaggi by hand that did it.  Phew!  Anyway, the ball winder arrived in my life around about the same time as sock knitting and was immediately put into good use winding skeins of lovely handpainted sock yarn into lovely cakes of handpainted sock yarn.  Of course it wasn't long until I realised that the ballwinder was good but it was not great without some way of managing the skein to be wound.  I tried to get by without a swift..
Photo from this blog post
..but I soon ran out of ingenious ways to manage and even sooner ran out of volunteers to stand with their arms out for me, so I gave in and bought my swift.  I loved it so much I blogged about it.  As with many such  useful tool I became complacent and started to take it for granted until a few months ago when, horror of horrors, I couldn't find it anywhere.  I think I thought I didn't wind yarn that often but as soon as I lost my swift it seemed like I needed yarn that was in a skein for everything I wanted to knit.  I got by by choosing other projects, by bribing my sister with handspun to help me and eventually by attempting to wind a skein draped around a chair back.  I think the resulting mess from that little experiment will haunt my dreams for a good long while!  It was at that point I started looking for a replacement.  Of course I couldn't find one that was anywhere near the price of the one I'd lost but I was beginning to think I'd have to splurge when, joy of joys, I found my swift.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I did a happy dance!

My most recent acquisition was my niddy noddy as it's not something I really needed until I started spinning.  I was almost tempted just to pick it outright as my favourite tool just because it's called a niddy noddy, but that would be silly.  Again this was a tool that I put off buying for far too long as I was getting by by wrapping my yarn around the legs of a stool.
This was kind of exhausting and took forever.  I'm not sure, but I suspect that I was pregnant when I finally broke down and just bought the niddy noddy.  I've no idea why I waited so long, that thing is magic.  Perfect skeins in about a tenth of the time.

So, verdict time, which one is my ultimate tool?  First, the ball winder is helpful but I could wind a ball pretty easily by hand if I had to.  I wouldn't enjoy it, but I could do it.  The niddy noddy is great and saves a lot of time, but there are other ways to make a skein.  Slower ways for sure, but ways nonetheless.  But my swift, as I have recently discovered, I just cannot live without and therefore can now be dubbed my ultimate knitting tool.


Vicki Yelland-Browning said...

You've really sold me the idea of getting a swift and ball winder - just the idea of being able to make cakes from my skeins - so pretty!!! Have a knitty weekend xx

Vera said...

Getting a ball winder and a swift was one of the best things I've ever did for my crafts. Love the photos of your improvisations.

Karen said...

I enjoyed your post so much. Now I know I have to get a swift:)

Triona said...

I feel the same way about my swift! I tried to wind a ball of sticky wool in the car once without one... the HORRIBLE mess of tangles that resulted cemented my love for my swift. :-)

Alittlebitsheepish said...

Lots of bloggers seem to have chosen their swifts (me too), I have to agree that it makes winding yarn so much easier!

Emily said...

LOL! I love your creative improvision pre-swift!

Voie de Vie said...

Love the cat photos!!!! Way too funny. :)

I made my own swift, which I absolutely also cannot live without. However, having attempted to wind by hand some of my own Centolavaggi, I'm starting to think seriously about a ball winder.

Kirstin Gallagher said...

All three of those are great, but I'll admit to being too lazy and being my own swift and ballwinder sometimes. I love my niddy noddy for measuring out mini-skeins of yarn way more effectively than trying to judge wraps around my swift. This just reminded me of my scale, though, which is really pretty indispensable.

Renee Anne said...

I, too, love my swift....but I covet an electric ball winder :)

Hanrahan said...

I never knew there was such a thing!