The Bottom Line
The Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder is not a perfect solution to winding yarn into center-pull balls with ease, but it might be a better choice for some people and some situations. I wanted to be able to recommend this as a great way for people with arthritis and repetitive motion problems to be able to wind balls of yarn without much use of their hands, but I was never able to get the winder to work properly without feeding the yarn by hand a little bit.
Still, it does make faster work of yarn balls than making them by hand or using a crank winder, so it could be a good choice for people who need to wind a lot of yarn at one sitting or who are obsessive about working with center-pull balls. (Boye notes, however, that it's not intended for professional use.)
- Makes winding a center-pull ball faster and easier.
- Lightweight and easy to transport wherever you should need it.
- Setting up yarn to be wound is pretty intuitive once you've done it once.
- Suction cup on base helps hold the machine in place while winding.
- Feeding from a hank to the ball winder is not always that smooth.
- You may have to help feed the yarn, which can put strain on your body.
- Seems to work better with lighter weight yarns.
- It's noisy, particularly when the yarn isn't feeding well.
- Electric yarn ball winder is a less labor intensive way to wind a ball from a hank or skein of yarn.
- Carrying handle makes it easy to transport, while a suction cup adds stability.
- Adjustable power levels regulate how fast the ball winds.
Guide Review - Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder
The Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder is one of those knitting tools that you don't really need but that you may find yourself using a lot once you have it in your house. Less tedious than winding a hank into a ball by hand or using a ball winder with a crank, an electric ball winder makes a flatish center-pull ball with less work on your part and in less time than other methods.
The machine feeds yarn off of a swift (or you can feed it manually; I ended up helping it feed even when winding off my swift) and winds it onto a plastic rod, making a compact center-pull ball. These balls are easier to store and work with than hanks or skeins, and Boye even suggests winding messy balls or skeins on the winder to make them easier to deal with.
I don't think I'd ever go that far, but if I needed a bunch of yarn wound from hanks in a hurry, I might pull this out instead of the crank winder just because it's easier on the body, even if you do have to help the yarn along a bit.
After the first set up, it's pretty easy to get started with this machine. I wound sock yarn and a super bulky yarn with the ball winder, and had much better success with the finer yarn. It's possible to wind the ball without having it on a swift, but it's much easier to feed the yarn properly if you use a swift as well. When the yarn isn't feeding right the motor of the ball winder makes a very ugly noise that can't possibly be good for it.
The machine suctions to the table top for extra stability, which is nice, and has a carrying handle should you want to take it with you to a yarny event.