Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder – Review

I generally buy most of my yarn in the type of skeins that you see in your craft store, but once in a while I will buy yarn online or in a yarn shop and it comes in hanks.  Hanks generally need to be wound, as it is not wise to try to crochet or knit directly from them.  If you do, you end up with a big tangled mess.  One option is to invest in a swift and a yarn winder, but the total for the both of these can run well over $100.  Another option is hand winding, which is what I have done in the past.  I would usually place the hank around the back of a chair and then use a piece of pvc pipe to wind it into a cake.  This is a very time consuming process though and can be a strain on the neck and shoulders if you try to do more than one.

This week JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts had a scratch off coupon in the sales flyer.  I was one of the lucky ones who scratched off 60%.  I have had my eye on the Boye Electric Yarn Winder, but did not want to pay the full $89.99 for it.  Even a 40% off coupon was not enough savings for me.  But 60% off ($38.00), heck yeah!  I have read all the reviews on this item and it is about 50/50.  Some people like it, some people hate it.  Here is my take on it.

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Berroco Vintage (forest green), Berroco Weekend (pink and yellow), Berroco Vintage (chocolate brown)

I spent several hours this afternoon trying it out.  The set up is super easy.  You just basically need to suction it to a smooth flat surface and then feed the yarn through a few slots.  I do not have a swift, so I first tried hanging the yarn around the back of a chair.  The first yarn I tried was Berroco Weekend.  This yarn is a bit slippery.  I unwound some of the yarn and turned on the machine.  I didn’t find it necessary to use it at anything more than the lowest speed.  I let the unwound yarn feed lightly through my fingers for the slightest bit of tension and then feed into the machine.  I would turn it off, then unwind some more yarn.  It seemed to be working ok, but then the yarn got all caught up on itself (not in the machine) and turned into a big tangled mess.  This was not the fault of the machine, this was me not paying enough attention and needing instant gratification to see it work.  I spent way too much time trying to untangle the yarn and then just moved on to another skein of Weekend.  It went a little better this time.  I laid the hank down on the table and unwound a little bit of yarn at a time, but eventually that got all tangled too.  I was starting to realize that because the Weekend is slippery, this might not be the best way to wind it.  I then moved on to a skein of Berroco Vintage.  I did the same thing and laid it out on the table, unwound a bit and fed it into the machine the same way, feeding lightly through my fingers and then into the machine.  This time I was successful and winding the whole hank.  The process was: unwind a bit of yarn, turn it on, feed it through the machine, turn off machine.  Then repeat the process.  I had two hanks of Berroco Vintage wound in under 30 minutes.  Not quite as fast as a hand crank winder and swift, but not as slow as completely hand winding.  I had also read that it would not wind full skeins of worsted weight.  Berroco Vintage is worsted weight, 217 yards, 100 grams.  It wound the full skein without issue.  Another thing I had read is that it winds the cake very loosely.  I did not have this problem and it may be because I created the slight tension of letting it flow through my fingers.  The cake was definitely more firm than one I had wound by a local yarn shop with a swift and hand crank winder.

The machine is not the quietest thing out there, but I did not find it to be as noisy as some said.  It also gives a little bit of a whine if the yarn is not flowing through it properly.

All in all, I found this machine to be adequate for my needs.  I will never have more than a few hanks at a time that would need winding, so I won’t be a power user.  This machine is DEFINITELY a step up from hand winding.  I am also unlikely to be buying anymore yarn that is slippery, so that will not be an issue for me.  If I were to rate it, I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 with 5 being the best.

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Stash Down Final Tally

I know I was supposed to check in about mid-month, but it slipped my mind.  Sorry about that!

The final tally for the stash down ended up being 25 skeins.  I also used a lot of scraps also that were not in the original count.  I am happy with the results even though I did not quite make it through the whole month.  I caved on not buying any yarn and placed an order 3 weeks into the month.  The sale and coupon savings were worth it, though and it was all yarn for shop items, nothing for me personally.  The order did not arrive until yesterday and I did not use any until today, so I still call this whole thing a success! 🙂
I may try this again some time, but definitely not during the busy season. 😉  March was actually a good month to choose since it is the end of the busy season.

Edited to add:  The original starting count actually was revised to 102 skeins, since I sent 8 big skeins of cotton yarn to a friend.

March is National Crochet Month!

Yesterday, I posted this on my Facebook page…

March begins National Crochet Month. How am I going to celebrate it? Well, crochet of course! Not only crochet, I am also going to try some new patterns, design some things and the biggest thing I plan to do is use my stash for everything I make! My stash is not super huge, but it is by no means small. lol On March 1st, I will post a beginning skein/hank count. This will be full or nearly full skeins only, not scraps. As I go through the month, I will give the running total of skeins used. It will be fun to see just how much I have used at the end of the month! Let’s see if I can get through the month without buying ANY yarn! 😉 And no, I am not going to run out today and tomorrow hoarding yarn. 🙂

national crochet monthI am really looking forward to seeing what I can come up with using yarns that I already own.  This will include yarns that I use regularly as well as ones that I have had for a while that were more of an impulse buy.  I think it will definitely get the creative juices flowing since some of the yarns are a little different than what I normally use.  After the project I have planned for today, the beginning skein count is 110 skeins (full and nearly full).  Some of these skeins are larger skeins (over 6 oz.), so I hope to be able to attack a few of those!  I will check back in about mid month and then give a final tally of skeins used at the end of the month. 🙂

A Fun Diversion

Sometimes I get really wrapped up in creating items for my Etsy shop that I forget about having fun while crocheting.  Since my busy season is almost over, I have been having a little bit more down time.  I took advantage of a sale on classes at Craftsy and took the Design Your Own Monster Class by Stacey Trock from Fresh Stitches.  I really enjoyed the class and Stacey’s fresh approach to design.  Even after crocheting for over 4 years, there definitely were some new things that I learned.  Stacey is definitely a great teacher!

I could not wait to try out some little monsters of my own.  First I made this one which I adapted from one of the patterns included in the class.  I adjusted the pattern for the amount of yarn I had.  Her name is Penny and she came out so cute!

penny2Just looking at her makes me happy so I will definitely keep her around if I am getting stressed out or moody.

My son asked me to make a little monster for him, so I also made this as yet unnamed little fella.

IMG_20130217_124619The photo is a little blurry because I took it with my cell phone.  This guy is only about 3 inches diameter and was very quick to make.

I am looking forward to making more monsters in the near future.  They are great for using up yarn remnants and they make me smile.  And who doesn’t need to smile every once in a while? 😀

Live your life in color!

When my Etsy shop first evolved to Color My World Crochet, my intentions were to offer lots of hats and other accessories in a variety of colors.  However, as my shop got busier and more and more customers were buying the basics, like gray, tan and brown, I backed off a bit on the color.

Recently, a family member showed me this page from a magazine.

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This has completely re-ignited my passion for color!  So much inspiration here!  I placed a yarn order for a few new colors to add to my collection.

Alfalfa Lady SlipperSeashellCaution

I absolutely love these colors and they also will help get me through the rest of the gray winter days.  They definitely say Spring to me!  Time to get out of “neutral” and live my life in color!

Welcome 2013!

I know we are already a few weeks into the new year and I have neglected this blog for quite a while, but I definitely intend to post more often in 2013.  I had quite a busy holiday season in my Etsy shop that left little time for anything other than crocheting constantly.  I am very grateful for having such a great season! 🙂

As things slow down a bit, I am going to try and create some things for me.  In my last yarn order, I added some specialty yarns (hand painted merino and merino/cashmere blend).

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I get so busy creating for the shop sometimes that I forget that it would be nice to have some crocheted things of my own.  🙂  I am not sure what I am making yet, but I will definitely share here.

I am also branching out a bit on some of my designs.  I love making hats and coming up with new ones, but I had been really wanting to make some kind of neckwear.  There are plenty of cowls and infinity scarves out there, so I wanted to try something a little different.

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This neck warmer is perfect for wearing under a coat or jacket and not having the bulk of a regular scarf.  I will be adding more colors of this design to my shop.  Look for one in tan very soon!

I am really looking forward to 2013 and developing even more designs. 😀