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Weavers and Weasels

posted Apr 18, 2010, 5:18 PM by Mary Powell
With a bobbin of thread spun and plied, it must be removed from the wheel and wound into a skein so that it can be handled and stored without tangling.
A handy device for this is called a reel. Or weasel if you are feeling poetic. The song "Pop goes the weasel" is reportedly derived from a little counter built into some reels that pops up after making so many turns, making it easier to keep track of the length of thread wound.

This reel is eighteen inches to a side, making one revolution two yards. Sadly, the weasel element is broken and doesn't pop, so I have to count in my head.

I simply tie the end of the thread around one post and then start turning the reel with one hand while guiding the thread with the other. Every fifty turns (100 yards) I tie a marker string around the thread, both to keep count and secure the thread. Each skein is about 500-600 yards.
It makes me so dizzy watching the reel twirl!
When it's all wound, I tie it off again, slip it off the reel and twist the skein up on itself. This can be moved around, stored, and even washed (with reasonable care) without damage.
Ain't it purdy!