I am so happy to share one of my all time favorite gifts: a skein winder and wooden umbrella! I looked into purchasing one last year, but was not sure if it was worth the money. The yarn shop I go to most often usually winds skeins into balls for me. After watching me wind a few skeins into a ball by hand, my husband surprised me with the winder and umbrella at Christmas. Here it is in action:
I have to say that if you knit or crochet a lot, it is definitely worth it to purchase a skein winder...or ask for one as a gift. This skein winder and umbrella are both made by Stanwood Needlecraft, but there are plenty of other options. The system is incredibly easy to set up and use.
All you have to do is make sure you put the entire skein around the umbrella, carefully cut the ties on the skein, put one end through the loops as well as top of the ball winder, and then turn the handle at a steady rate. It's super fun and satisfying to have well wound balls of yarn.
You may be interested in: