After Kalan and I got back to Columbus from our Atlanta adventure for Spring Break, the idea occured to us that we could make a ball winder, easy. We had fiddled with one at Why Knot Knit and figured it'd be a snap to build one ourselves. It was hard to get internet at his house, so we shut ourselves in his father's workshop with only a tiny picture of a ball winder in a catalog as our guide.
First, we decided to make the revolving mechanism ourselves. We had four wooden wheels from A.C. Moore to use, so we cut and sanded and covered the sides of some of them in rubber. We cut up a knitting needle (not one of mine, thank God--one that Kalan had around for making links) and dipped it in liquid rubber to use as a handle, then hung it up to dry in the sun.
Well, after a day or two of this, we realized that it was getting a bit too complicated. I told Kalan repeatedly how one of his father's fishing rods would be perfect to use as the crank, but he was sure his dad would say no. He's an avid fisher, so fishing rods were strewn all over the workshop. We decided to comb the thrift stores around Columbus and found a nice fishing rod for ten bucks.
Back at the workshop, we gutted the poor thing; we cut the reel off the fishing pole, took out the line, and stripped the plastic covering off the top. We took one of those huge red vice grips and taped it onto the side of the reel, securing it will braces. The clamp was nice and sturdy, and it held the reel securely against a table edge.
As for the platform, we decided on two Cds and a piece of PVP piping, all held together with liquid rubber. It ended up holding a lot better than I expected. We attached the platform to some wood and secured it onto the reel. Finally, after days of working on this baby, we thought we had it; alas, we were very wrong.
Folks, this thing looked scary. It had a harsh, industrial look to it; it looked like it would be used as a form of torture rather than to wind up a ball of yarn. It was like something Jigsaw would use if he knit. Because of that, we affectionately dubbed it the Saw Winder.
Anyone who's had or used a ball winder more than once would notice a fatal flaw in our design--a flaw we noticed immediately when we tried it out. While the platform was spinning alright, it wasn't forming a ball of yarn, just sort of a blob of yarn. We watched videos of ball winders on YouTube when we finally got the internet to work and discovered what we had done wrong: the platform was spinning, but it wasn't revolving. The platform was supposed to moved in a planetary motion. D'oh.
So, after a day or two of trying to fix that problem, we finally gave up. It was getting to be way more trouble than it was worth, so we bid it adieu, and I ordered one online for 23 bucks. Best decision I ever made.
Isn't she a beaut? The shipping was crazy fast, and I had it in my possession last Saturday. As soon as I got it, I set it up and immediately turned this:
There have been a ton of people out there who have successfully made their own ball winder, but I am not one of them; and I'm okay with that. Like I told Kalan when we gave up on the Saw Winder: sometimes it's easier just to buy something than make it yourself.
Labels: The Saw Winder