I'd also like to invite you all to our booksigning on Wednesday 6:30pm - 8pm at the shop. Naomi and I will be signing Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders. Naomi has two patterns featured in the book and I have one. I'll be baking something delish and we'll share some cider or champagne and talk knitting! Come!
Now for a little tutorial... recently Naomi and I have been discussing bringing in another line of looms and spinning wheels and one company also has really nice accessories including nostepinnes. They are fantastic little doo-dads that help you wind a center-pull ball. I know a lot of you know how to wind center-pull balls by hand, and some lucky folks have ball-winders and swifts. But there are a lot of things I like about my nostepinne. I love that it's small, and portable and I can put it away when I need to. I can tuck it into my knitting bag and therefore I can wind easily whenever I want, where ever I want. I don't have the space for a ball-winder and swift at my house. Since I'm only at the store a couple nights a week the one there is of limited use to me. But I love having center-pull balls and so I've been using my nostepinne a lot these days.
So let's get this thing going. First, you have to pick your yarn and put it on something to keep your loop from getting all funky. My first choice is always one of my dining room chairs:
I'm winding up a little madelinetosh tosh sock for a pair of matching socks for the girls. Colorway: Tomato. I'm in love, but that's besides the point. Now, grab your nostepinne and find the little ridge along the top and tie your yarn around it:
It's time to start winding! Start off in the center of the winding area and wind a nice big chunk of yarn. You need a bit to get started, but if you do too much the first few pulls from the ball will tangle, so don't go nuts.
You want to wind the yarn at an angle from the bottom of the ball on the nostepinne to the top of the ball. Each time you wrap, turn the nostepinne towards you so when you wrap your yarn around the next time you are going over a different part of the ball. The more you turn the nostepinne the more space you have between each wrap. I don't tend to twist too much each time because that makes the ball taller rather than fatter. Here's what it looks like just after you've gotten started:
And once you've gotten a good bit on there:
Now if you keep on going like this you'll end up with a ball that looks kind of like a football. Nothing wrong with that at all, but I was curious if I could get it to look more like the balls that come off the winder at the shop. So once I liked the length of the ball, I started to change the angle and wind a little more loosely to make the ball start growing outwards while not getting any taller. I found the most important part of this was to keep my tension loose. If it started to get tight the threads would slip and the ball would get messy. Here I am ready to change angle and tension:
And here I am making the ball fat and square instead of long and pointy:
One thing I love about the nostepinne is that I can get my center-pull ball without needing to keep the darn thing attached to my hand all the time. As you know, I have a couple of adorable babies and life is often not organized enough for me to, say, wind a ball of sock yarn all in one session. I love that I can do a bit, and set it down when things like this happen:
Then when all is better I can pick it up again and finish what I was doing. Winding around my thumb just doesn't cut it these days. When it looks like I'll be putting it away for a long period of time, I can just twist up the remaining part of the skein and put the whole thing in my knitting bag without worrying about it all falling apart or about the kitties throwing yarn raves with the parts left hanging about.
Now that things are all better, we can pop back over and finish winding!
Secure the end of your yarn back in the ball, and un-tie the knot at the top and pull it off the nostepinne:
Voila! Keep track of that little piece hanging out the top of the ball, that is where you will knit from. I generally pull out a bit and wrap it around the ball and I'm done! Which is a good thing because Zoë is trying to climb the stairs again! Fun! Hope to see you at the booksigning!