A few years ago my wonderful husband gave me an exquisite nostepinne. Ever since, I have been trying to work out how best to use it. I think I have figured it out. I read about it and watched youtube tutorials but it really was trial and error that led to my success.
I know you are supposed to be able to use a film canister or a wooden spoon, but I couldn't figure them out and anyway this nostepinne is a work of art. (And it matches my rocking chair!)
So everyone's on the same page, I'll start by saying yarn often comes not in balls, but in skeins like this one.
In order to wind the skein into a ball or cake, the first step is to stretch it out. Some people have handy collapsible umbrella swifts, some people just turn a chair upside down on a table and stretch it out over the four legs. I have an Amish adjustable swift--another gift from Hubby. The advantage of a swift over a chair is that the swift turns as you wind. I tried using the back of a swiveling counter stool, but it just wasn't as good.
Once the skein is stretched out, I wind the yarn around the handle of the nostepinne, then several times around the shaft. For a nice flat cake, I started with 2"/5cm for a 50g, 100m skein. A skein with more yardage or more weight might need a longer initial winding.
Then I wind the yarn in a criss-cross pattern. I have seen both criss-cross and single direction windings recommended. The way that works best for me uses both.
After I build up some bulk with the criss-crossing I switch to single direction winding. How do I know when to switch? Well, eventually the crissing starts falling off the tidy little bundle of yarn and that's when I restrict myself to crossing.
I continue with single-direction winding until I have a lovely center-pull cake like the one at the top of this post. I also know how to wind the yarn into adorable round center-pull balls and elegant center-pull eggs. And if I'm using a slithery yarn like linen I don't have to pull from the center. It's just nice to have the option.
I enjoy winding my yarn by hand because it allows me time to get to know the yarn. Knots make themselves known, and color repeat patterns reveal themselves. When I have a deadline coming up, nine 250yd skeins can be daunting, but winding them allows me time to mull over aspects of the design or just take a break from knitting and computering.
It's all good.
Hi! I'm Kangath---
knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
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