One of my birthday presents this year was a Woolee Winder from my husband. I have seen all the cool kids online posting pictures of theirs for years now and I thought it was cool but I was still intimidated. I wasn't able to try one out in person so I relied heavily on the guarantee that if I didn't like it I could send it back.
First I tried a basic 2 ply yarn. It was difficult to get used to initially. I had to really oil it up and play with the tension but by the time I finished up plying it started to feel good. It is a little louder but it's a constant whooshing noise so it's not distracting. I wasn't sold though at this point.
Next up was a skein to Navajo ply and this is the one that sold me. At this point the bobbin was well oiled and I had found the sweet spot for my tension. I initially tried my largest drive but that didn't feel right so I went back to my normal one. Once I got started and found my groove it was amazing. When you're plying with both hands like that it's a pain to have to stop and switch hooks all the time. This was so smooth and easy. Absolutely the best way to go. I do need some more practice though at getting my plied yarn balanced. I tended to really, really under ply but when I tried to fix it I would over ply. That may be because I'm still getting the hand out of Navajo plying in general. By far the Woolee Winder made it so much more enjoyable to spin.
Last for the test was spinning singles. I've read on blogs and Ravelry threads that the Woolee Winder can tend to have a lot more take up than your regular wheel. I adjusted for that with barely having my spring engaged for tension and just dove in. I also wanted to see how much fiber I can pack on one of these bobbins because the Navajo plied fiber was well over 5 ounces and I had lots more room. I decided on Jill Draper's blue/orange (SU colors) fiber since I got about 6.75 ounces on my home scale. This is the original fiber:
After 2 nights of spinning this is what my bobbin looks like:
Isn't it the coolest thing ever? The singles do seem to build up a little on the ends of the bobbin but overall I am just so happy with this. I have to stop myself occasionally to stretch out my hands because it's so easy to just keep spinning and spinning. I plan to Navajo ply this when I'm done and knit up a hat or two for my son since he picked out the fiber at the Yarn Cupboard and demanded that I buy it for him. Just last night we had this conversation:
Me: After you go to bed, do you think I should spin or knit tonight?
Son: I think you should knit my hat.
Me: But I haven't finished spinning up the yarn yet.
Son: Then you need to do that now!
Keep in mind that we bought this fiber back in January and haven't talked about it much since then.
My goal is to have this fiber spun up and drying before I leave for my work trip on Monday. It's not too much pressure but it is more fiber than I normally spin at one time so I'm just going to keep at it.