A few years ago I adopted this Antique Skein Winder at one of our guild sales. Originally there would have been a mechanism that would count the rotations and pop once a full skein was reached. But that part of the tool is broken on this one. However, it is still quite usable for winding up skeins of yarn.
I noticed that mine was looking quite dusty and the wood was quite dry. Winter in Ontario can be quite cold and dry so this is no great surprise that my skein winder was looking a bit tired.
I dug out my bag of wood cleaners and assessed the problem. I decided to use the Home Hardware Outdoor Furniture Wax.
Before I started to use the wax I wiped down the skein winder with a damp rag to remove the surface dust. Then I added a dollop of furniture wax and started rubbing it in. This wax is nice to use because it is very wet and easy to spread around. I also find it very nourishing to the wood.
When the whole skein winder was waxed the wood grain was showing really nicely and the whole thing looked amazing. It didn’t take long to clean and maintain my skein winder and it was very satisfying to do because the results are so impressive. Having tools that work properly is wonderful. Having tools that are also beautiful makes them even more enjoyable to use.
I do a lot of spinning and therefore this tool gets used all the time. I went to the Chesterville Spin In on Feb 4th and bough this lovely braid of Superwash Merino combed top from Karberry Farm.
After I spun it up I decided to take a few photos showing my skein winder in action. To get started I move my spinning wheel off to the left and release the brake tension on the bobbin.
Next I attach the end of the yarn to one of the arms of the skein winder and start winding. (I use an elastic hair tie on the arm of the winder and simply tuck the end of the yarn under the elastic to secure it, and then I start winding.) The yarn flows off the bobbin on the spinning wheel and onto the skein winder. I do hold the yarn as I am winding so that it winds on evenly and with a bit of tension.
After I have wound up the yarn onto the skein winder I have a nice neat bundle of yarn. (In this next photo you can see where I attached the initial tail of the yarn using a hair elastic on the left arm of the skein winder.)
Next I use scrap yarn to tie four figure eight ties on the skein, spacing them out around the skein.
I also like to secure both ends of the yarn into the nearest figure eight tie. I take the yarn end, flip it over the nearest figure eight knot, and then tie a light knot. This allows me to always find one of the ends of the skein later because I know it will be in one of the four figure eight ties.
Once the four ties are knotted and the ends of the skein are secured, it is time to remove the skein from the yarn winder.
My winder has six arms. One of the arms has a neat elbow joint that has can be bent. When I bend the arm to the side this releases the tension on the skein, making it easier to remove the skein off the winder.
After removing from the winder I twist the skein into a neat bundle for storage. This skein of chain plied yarn will go in the pile of recent handspun waiting to be washed. After it is washed and dry it will be ready for longterm storage or for use.
And just for fun, I’m going to end this post by including the before and after photos side by side. I love how it went from drab to fabulous with a tiny bit of elbow grease. This handsome Antique skein winder deserved the TLC.