I don’t know a single yarn junkie who doesn’t rely on a ball winder to support their habit. But the ball winder is good for more than just getting your yarn into neat, portable, easy to handle skeins. It’s also good for adding twist to yarn. This is how you do it.
If you are separating a thicker yarn into thinner strands, you can use the ball winder within one section of the yarn and hand wind the other to end up with two separate skeins, or your can invest in two ball winders if you are ambidextrous to wind them both at the same time. Sometimes you may want to add twist from frogged cotton, since it tends to lose twist as you work with it. Here are two skeins, one with twist added after frogging and the other left as it came off the sweater:
See how the twist makes a tighter, rounder strand on the right skein? Here’s how you do it:
First you need to see what direction your yarn is twisting from. The chart in the upper left shows the difference between an S twist and a Z twist. You will take the pull skein you have and rewind it on the ball winder again. Attach the center pull strand to the ball winder. If you are looking to add S twist, you need to turn the crank clockwise. If you want to undo and S twist or to increase the twist in a Z twist, you will turn the crank counterclockwise. I ran the yarn through the winder 4 times to get the level of twist shown in this photo.
This technique can also be applied to combining yarns. When you put two strands together, both need to twist in the same direction. To then get them to hold well together, you need to twist the two together in the opposite direction. Thank means, if you have two strands in an S twist, you need to wind them onto the ball winder cranking in a counterclockwise direction. (Spinners, please correct me if I’m wrong…this is the technique I was taught, but it was a while ago).
I cannot live without my ball winder. If you don’t have one yet, consider some of these options below. Just be sure you get one that does not enter yarn from the side (sometimes called in-line). The products below will work for adding twist to yarn.
This one gets a pretty good user rating, but I have never used it before. If you have, let us know by a comment on this post.
This is the one I use. I just love it! Royal makes a really good winder.
This is an expensive winder. I drool over it often. Maybe someday Rewind Yarn will pay off enough for me to buy one!
I don’t trust the cheap price tag on this one. There’s no user rating. My past experience with winders in this price range is not good, but I wanted to include a low-price option. If you have had success with this winder, please let us know via the comments box. Thanks!