The one thing I can say in my favour is that I tend to buy affordable things. I mean, I'm not buying a fur coat. (Um, scratch that. I'm not buying another fur coat.) In general, I keep it to things that I use for my crafts, that I've carefully considered for a while, but haven't yet made the leap to purchase. And I try to keep everything within the $10-50 dollar range, though what help is that when one's shopping in volume?
But while we're discussing it, here are my prime stress-shopping categories:
- Potions: Etsy is great for these. I also love Sephora, truth be told. And the health food store.
- Treats: I love Whole Foods Market and the zillions of fab independent bakeries in Toronto.
- Patterns: Well, we've discussed these recently. I don't discriminate.
- Yarn and Fabric: Need we say more?
- Gizmos: That's what this post is about (see below)...
- Books: Sure, these days I borrow as many titles as possible, but sometimes a book is so instructive that I need to have my own copy.
A propos of this, I have a little story that I imagine many a knitter can relate to:
I buy a lot of yarn - ok, not a LOT of yarn, but I make a lot of stuff and I need yarn to make that stuff. I buy locally, often at EweKnit, for example, and I also buy online. Really, whatever gets me the yarn I need at the best price in the most environmentally sustainable way, is the option I choose. But often, when I buy, even at a TO shop, I don't wind the just-purchased hank. For one thing, I don't know if I'll use it - in which case I want the option to return for store credit. For another thing, I don't like to wind balls prematurely, leaving them to languish and, potentially, to overstretch. Sometimes the store doesn't offer the "we'll wind it for you" option - or they make you come back to get the wound ball the next day (totally inconvenient).
All this means that my husband has acted as a yarn swift on SO many occasions, it's not funny. And his urge to complain about this never gets old - for him.
For you non- or new-knitters. This is one version of a yarn swift:
It's used in tandem with a ball winder, one type of which looks like this:
|Also via Etsy...|
Though I've been knitting for more than 2 years, and though I've gone through a couple hundred balls of yarn at this point, I've never bought a swift and ball winder for 2 reasons:
- They can be quite pricey.
- You have to store them and set them up.
Anyway, I've seen - in stores and online - swifts that go for more than 200 bucks and ball winders (gorgeous, wooden ones) that cost upwards of $600.00. While I love them - and if I were going to keep them out all the time I'd consider them for their design, careful construction and longevity - I cannot justify them in my house with no room to display.
About Ball Winders
I've done quite a bit of research on this, and truly, a home-knitter doesn't need more than a good plastic ball winder. Even used consistently, it will last indefinitely. The best known brand is Royal. While I've linked to Knit Picks (which I've never shopped at because I can find what I need cheaper, given the shipping charges), it is a reputable online store. Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and local yarn stores also sell these. On sale, with free shipping, you can get these for under 30 bucks but they often cost more in the range of 50 or 60 after shipping.
It will not surprise you to learn that I have taken the plunge and purchased a winder - and a swift, (why not give the whole story away in one swoop?). The winder I purchased, photoed above / link to vendor is in the caption, is not a Royal brand, but has the same general structure. I suspect they're all manufactured in the same place, in China, and different companies brand them differently. Of course, I might be wrong about this... The one I got cost 28 bucks (reduced price) and then a mere 5 bucks for shipping. It was the most economic option - and I got to shop on Etsy, a preferred platform.
Note: An integral part of stress shopping is seeking out the best deal and the most desirable purchase scenario.
There are many brands and shapes of swifts, produced in different materials. Dharma Trading Co. and Knit Picks both sell affordable options (the Knit Picks one hasn't been highly rated in the scheme of things). Many are made by independent vendors or by mystery corporations. A propos of this, often, one cannot determine the brand of a swift when purchasing on Etsy or Ebay (or even on Amazon or through online big-bulk knit stores). Most seem to be brand free, which is not something I love. I like to be able to research what I'm thinking of buying.
I finally decided on an unbranded one, purchased (again), via Etsy - photo/linked to above. I figured, since I wasn't going to know which brand I'd be getting under any circumstances (the branded ones were more money than I want to spend), I would opt for birch wood and a Canadian vendor. Including shipping, mine cost 50 bucks which is MUCH cheaper than I could have purchased it in a shop or online (once shipping was factored in). I thought I'd have to spend more like 100 bucks.
There are some spatial factors to consider when choosing a swift:
- Height of swift (as space consideration)
- Circumference of swift (to accommodate the circumference of the hanks you will wind)
- Clamp height (the maximum span of the clamp which will determine which tables you can affix it to. This is a factor with the ball winder too, fyi.)
A duo that could have set me back almost a grand (if I'd gone high-style), or easily $150 - $200 (if I'd just purchased from any vendor without cost or delivery consideration), cost me 80 bucks, all in, for new merchandise (not that I would have been averse to "vintage") and it'll be delivered to my door.
Then there's the value of having occupied my mind for a few hours. And the fact that Scott is beside himself with happiness. Apparently, he's calling this an Xmas gift :-)
Today's questions: Do you own this combo - or a similar set up? If not, how do you wind your yarn? If yes, how much did you pay (sure, it's nosy but I want to know!)? Do you feel you got value? Let's talk.