By Jillian Moreno
Storage bobbins make my yarn better. I’ve been using storage bobbins and a bobbin winder for years, but only recently realized how indispensable they have become to my spinning. Having storage bobbins and a bobbin winder makes it so easy to rewind my bobbins. I used to tell spinners that they would get around to needing storage bobbins eventually, but now I tell them to just buy some right away. Storage bobbins are convenient for, well, storing yarn waiting to be something else, and since I’ve been using them regularly they have made my yarn better.
1) I need fewer regular bobbins to make the yarn I want.
I loaned out my Matchless (don’t worry I have multiple Schacht Spinning Wheels) to a friend who’s considering buying one and gave him all but two of my regular Schacht bobbins. Without storage bobbins, I couldn’t make anything but a chain-ply yarn on my other Schacht wheel. If I am in the mood to spin only singles for weeks that I don’t want to ply until later, I can do that with the help of storage bobbins. I just have to remember to label them. It doesn’t hurt that storage bobbins are much cheaper than regular bobbins. I can buy storage bobbins for less than $3.00 apiece, where Schacht’s travel bobbins cost $34 and their regular bobbins cost $43. A bobbin winder costs the same as 3 or 4 regular bobbins.
2) Rewinding makes plying smoother
I am terrible about moving to the next hook regularly when I spin my singles and I get yarn piled up in hills and valleys on my bobbin. When I ply from bobbins that are wound unevenly, they don’t unspool smoothly—they snag a lot and sometimes break. I rewind my singles evenly onto storage bobbins and they are much easier to ply.
3) Rewinding distributes twist
I don’t know about you, but most of my bobbins-full of singles are inconsistent from one day to another, due to how I feel when I sit down at my wheel. I’ve even noticed extra twist in spots when I’m watching a particularly tense murder mystery; I think my feet are trying to run away by treadling faster. Rewinding helps to redistribute twist in inconsistent singles.
4) Better color matching when I ply
When I spin variegated braids of fiber and want to match or mostly match my colors, I rewind my bobbins. I find that I am much more consistent drafting when I start a bobbin. When I start plying from the same ends that I started spinning my fiber, my color match up is better than when I ply from the ends where I finished spinning my singles.
5) Randomizing plies in a big project
This goes along with my mood changing my yarn. When I spin for a sweater-sized project or bigger, I store all of my singles on storage bobbins. When it comes time to ply, I pull randomly from my pile of bobbins, mixing up variations in size and twist to make a more consistent yarn overall for my project.
6) Color plying fun.
I use storage bobbins for intermixing colors when I ply. This sample is knit from 2-ply yarn interchanging all 3 of the colorways (A, B, and C, from the bottom up) as I ply: AB, BC, CA. Storage bobbins make it easy to do simple or complex color plying.
Now, I know that none of you will judge me harshly for enabling, so it’s safe to confess: I recently bought a whole bag of bobbins (100) so my students can use them in class. I’m sowing the seeds of storage bobbin love wherever I go. Call me little Jilly Bobbinseed.