Knitting yarn holder

A major problem when knitting is that depending on how the yarn is pulled from the ball it can twist and create biased fabric.  This is bad for large garment projects because the clothes will be all twisty and not fit right.  However, many knitters don’t even realize that this is a problem.

Twist isn’t really only a yarn knitting problem.  It happens to DNA, ribbons, tape measures, garden hoses, tubing, toilet paper, everything that is basically a long string.  Imagine if you took a roll of toilet paper and pulled from the center instead of unrolling from the outside, you’d have a twisty mess that is not nearly as useful :D.

Techknitting blog has a great series about yarn twist.

To combat this problem, there are various yarn lazy susan contraptions I’ve seen around, most of which are crafted out of beautiful wood, cost lots of money, and hold only one ball of yarn or the balls are stuck in place. They also have design features that make them prone to tipping or in combination with unnecessary features to combat tipping that make the devices more unwieldy.

Toilet paper yarn holders in action
Toilet paper yarn holders in action

Following up on the toilet paper analogy, I’ve actually been using toilet paper holders for the past year. They are mounted to a pieces of wood bases and yarn balls are threaded onto the spring loaded holders. Looks ridiculous, not very compact, but works.

Since I’ve started color knitting, I think I’m ready for an upgrade. I don’t need the beautiful woodcraft look, but something that:

  • Holds multiple colored balls
  • Colors are hot-swapable
  • Reconfigurable for number of colors in project
  • Easy to transport / is not unwieldy
  • Somewhat durable
  • Works on uneven surfaces (low center of gravity, distributed load)
  • Cheap and easy to make
  • Isn’t bathroom joke fodder

Being the engineer/scientist/whatever it is that I am, I’ve been thinking about this and about how these requirements are met for other twist-prevention applications.  And I have designed something I’m pretty excited about.

Well, my love built it and it is great! Almost perfect!

Materials used were:
5″x8″ piece of MDF, 3/4″ thick
3/8″ pex pipe, cut to 12cm pieces
12″ 5/16″ threaded bolt, cut to 4″ pieces
5/16″ threaded insert nuts
1.5″ washers and rubber bands

Yarn axels were made by inserting yarn ball onto pipe with washer held in place by a rubberband. Posts were assembled by screwing threaded bolts into threaded inserts in MDF board. Yarn balls on axels fit over bolts and turn very smoothly!

Nut placement was great for 2 balls at 5″ apart. Nut placement for 3 balls was totally wrong, needed to calculate spacing better. Also need better care in drilling straight holes for nut inserts.



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