hey everyone! knitting guild tonight, so no Wegman's. Actually, rumor has it that there will be a knitter from our group there, but i can't reach her, so its up in the air. If you show up and no one is there, you might wait a bit and see if anyone else shows up. If not, feel free to come to the knitting guild at the hospital (ask the guy at the front desk where the community room is. Its not marked, and its a little hard to find).
I also have this ballwinder (they are the same company i'm pretty sure, as mine came from joanns but looks exactly like the knitpicks one--Royal is the only company that I know of that makes them in this price range). I love it to pieces, and it makes GINORMOUS balls of yarn. I would have to agree with DevaKali, though: you have to have a perfectly flat place to attach. All of the tables in my house wouldn't work, including endtables and nightstands. Luckily the kitchen counter is formica, and perfectly square. Other than that, its a great little machine and is well worth the $30 or $40 you will spend on it.
Keep in mind (and this is with any center-pull ball): it will only really work with wool, as the barbs that cling to each other are the only things that will keep the outside from collapsing in on itself and making a big mess once the inside is partially used up. The barbs, in other words, are the cement that keep the walls of the ball (or cake, in this case) together. Does that make sense? Of course you can try it with other fibers (heck, i've done so before and I'll do so again) but i can tell you its kind of a headache once you get so far. In that case I just find the outside end and wind it up again into an even teenier ball.
I do this quite regularly and with immense pleasure. I love it when people ask questions, I feel like breaking down barriers when I explain what I'm doing. I also demo'd spinning at my son's Co-op Preschool, where parents take part in the school's ...well...everything! I agree, kids are always fascinated by it, especially because my wheel (lendrum dt) doesn't really look like a traditional, fairy tale wheel, but all wierd and lean-y and somewhat minimalist.
I get a lot of strange questions, but for the most part people have been just curious. I've never gotten a negative look or comment. I think that seeing yarn being made isn't something you see every day, and it really draws people out of their shells. In my mind, everyone has a little bit of fiber-nut in them!
I've got lace to do, now that the Secret of the Stole has begun. I've got until tommorow--when the new chart is released-- to finish the last 10 rows or so. its been pretty easy so far, but i'm terrible about knitting lace when i talk.