There are hundreds of solutions for keeping your stranding yarn untangled. As a person who struggles with the tangling disease, I've tried many and varied reported solutions. None of the methods I have tried work. Bobbins only make it worse. I don't enjoy little bits of strands on plastic floating bits of confusion. Stranding for Fair Isle is different from running two balls of yarn together to make a chunkier yarn, which I seem to do a LOT, but the similarity is, you have to keep the strands untangled. For double stranding, I have tried winding the two balls (or cakes) into one ball/cake, but I've noticed that one strand tends to get ahead of the other, so that I have a floppy loopy thing wagging around begging to get tangled at the first opportunity.
One solution to these issues is beautiful, hand carved yarn bowls, which are either gorgeous, or ugly(on purpose), or maybe they are dipped in gold, because I can't currently afford such a luxury. I understand hand crafted stuff is worth it's price, but until I'm richer or famouser (misspelling on purpose) or both, I will have to figure out another way.
I happened to be feeling very much like a pretend carpenter a few weeks ago, and in a creative spurt of nervous energy, I repurposed one thing into another. I have lots of boxes lying around, and some cardboard tubey things and my brain said, "HEY! Lets build a yarn separator box thingie!" So I did.
- 1 medium sized box -- Mine measures H-4", L-18", W-9"
- 1 smallish box -- Needs to have salvageable bits at least as wide and as tall as your medium sized box
- 1 or 2 cardboard tubes -- I used shipping tubes for my essential oils, but one can use toilet paper or paper towel tubes
- 1 box cutter or sharp knife
- 1 roll of box or shipping tape
Measure your box and divide it into equal compartments.
I chose 3 compartments for mine. Cut a small slice at your measured spots
that don't quite go all the way to the corners.
Divide your tubes into fairly equal length and line them up in the
middle of your compartments and trace around them.
Using your smaller box, cut out dividers slightly less wide and an inch or two
taller than your first box. You don't have to shape yours exactly like
mine, of course, but you need the lower bit to mostly take
up the width of your box, so your yarn doesn't escape from one
compartment into the other. (because that would
defeat the purpose of all this cardboard box cutting and taping)
Cut a few slices into your traced circles. You don't have to be too precise
to be functional, but if you want it pretty, you can do it
better than I did.
Pop your tubey thingie either up through the bottom or
down through the top. I did mine from below for ease of taping
and securing, plus I wanted to be able to photograph it for y'all. So if you want yours
prettier and more fumbly for taping, you can push it from the outside down.
Tape the bits to the tube thing.
Put your dividers in. I taped up all the edges on my dividers for durability
and ease of insertion and retraction.
There's my wee yarn ball all the way in the back. Remember to thread
the yarn through your tube things.
Put the divider all the way down.
Repeat the process of yarn threading and divider insertion until you have
all your wobbly yarn balls or cakes safely inside their own little
houses and not in danger of getting all tangly and wobbly.
I arranged a very taped up end of the box with a folded tape stick, unstick
latch thing. Very primitive and simple, yet quite functional for now.
I may do a nobby/elastic thingie in the future, and I may not.
You can probably think of something cute and crafty without my help.
I hope this tutorial is helpful to someone out there. If you do embark on your own version of a yarn separator box thing, please share it (or a link to it) with me in the comments.
Happy knitting peoples! =)