This morning, I accomplished a task in about 15 minutes, owing to the introduction of knitting-related technology, that previously would have taken me several hours.
Non-knitters may not know this, but knitting yarn is not always sold in balls ready for knitting. A lot of the time, it looks like this:
That is known as a hank, I believe.
I used to unfasten the hanks, position them over the backs of two chairs at an angle to each other, and wind them into balls by hand. It took a long time, and made my arms ache. (If you want to know why yarn like this must be wound into a ball, I can tell you that if you try knitting from the unwound hank, you can end up with 800 yards of laceweight yarn to untangle! Guess how I know! But as a new-ish and solitary knitter, I had no idea...)
So, as I was getting tired of winding yarn by hand, I thought I'd invest in one of these:
That is a ball winder. It was pretty useful to me in February when I was working with laceweight yarn held double. For that, I needed to create two balls of yarn, and I did that from ready-wound balls, so to speak. The machine also gives you yarn wound to an even tension, which is good.
I'm still quite a solitary knitter, and I didn't realise until after I got the ball winder that you need two pieces of equipment to work together if you want to wind hanks into balls for knitting. You also need one of these:
This is a yarn swift, sometimes called a knitting umbrella. Mine arrived yesterday in the post. You put the hank of yarn on it, and then attach the end to the ball winder and turn the handle. The ball winds as the swift spins. The whole process is very smooth and easy.
I'm sure a lot of readers are wondering why I'm bothering to write about this, but *I* didn't know this, as a knitter previously, so I bet there are others who don't know it either.
Anyway, 20 minutes later, 3 hanks of yarn were three wound balls ready for knitting. I also wound 400 yards of fingering weight, but I didn't photograph that.
Ready for casting on!