Monday, January 19, 2009

Another needle bargain? Not so much. Good ball winder, though.

I reported on the bargain bamboo needles from the Stanwood company, available on The straight needles and the DPNs were fine, though a little polish would make them better. Pleased with these needles, I ordered a set of 24 inch circulars, 14 pairs for $25. Here they are:

Pleased? Not so much.

Why? Cheap, lousy joins. As it turns out, the cables are hollow silicon tubes and the bamboo points have been jammed into them. While the join is somewhat smoothed out on the larger sizes, take a look at the smallest size:

You can see why it would drive any knitter nuts to work with these. The clumsy join is visibly raised and would catch on the yarn loops like crazy. Run your fingers over these and the join feels rough.

Nope, most definitely not pleased with these. They're going right back for a refund.

On the other hand, the Yarn Ball Winder that I ordered at the same time delivered a decent bargain. It's plastic, and perhaps not the most solidly-constructed ball winder I've seen, it's in the mid-range for quality. I'm only winding the occasional skein, not running a yarn shop, so for me it should be fine.

Here it is just out of the box, set up with my tabletop swift, ready to wind a skein of 450 yards of sock yarn:

It's a big skein, so that should be a bit of a challenge. I wasn't looking forward to hand-winding it, and that's why I finally decided to get a ball winder. The end of the yarn goes through the metal coil and in the grooves at the top of the winder, and away we go, except, oops, I didn't pull the metal wire arm out firmly enough and it fell over:

Ah hah, it just takes a little more muscle to pull it firmly into position. Off and running again and voila, though 450 yards is quite a load for this little ball winder, it managed the whole thing:

And here's what it looks like when it's all done:


lunaticraft said...

Aww, what a pity about those circs. I guess what seems too good to be true usually is... =(

Lupie said...

Why would anyone make these needles?
I don't know what I would do without my winder!

D Louise said...

I have one of those plastic yarn winders that I've had 25-30 years, [altho I admit there were 15 or so years in there where it was little used] and it's still kicking along, albeit a tad creaky now. When I first got it, I had it permanently mounted on a piece of wood which I believe has helped its longevity because I always thought the clamp part was crummy. [Mine happens to have been a sink-sized oval cut out of a plastic-topped piece of 1/2" or so countertop, but fiberboard or plywood would do just fine I'm sure.] A small piece of wood was added to support/secure the guide. The whole thing slides on its edge into small spaces and takes less space than one might think. If mine goes, I'm replacing it the same day on the same board!

You're right about those circs being of questionable quality. I must have bought the same set! I'm keeping mine because I needed the 11's, 13's, 15's which are tolerable. At that price, I don't mind discarding the tiny ones if they prove unusable... I bought dpn sets at the same time, same reason, and they're OK, although not up to the standard of my beloved Brittany birch needles.


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