Sarah Hartwell, 2014

The simplest yarn holders and organisers are bags, tubs and small boxes to separate the colours. Readicut's two layer box with the tray insert was perfect the job. Even simpler than a box is the “piles of coloured wool on a table” method or keeping the pre-cut wool in the original packaging. This hasn’t stopped people inventing devices to hold yarn. Some rug-making kits included a plastic “deep muffin tray” with 6 wells for 6 bundles of wool. Some rug frames include pigeon-holes for pre-cut yarn. Some inventors have created yarn holders to overcome the “problem” of loading yarn onto the latch hook; the hook is used to pick up a folded length of yarn. These are only suitable for latch Hook Method 1 and the lack of uptake suggests that there wasn’t any problem in the first place.

Firstly a fold-up triangular holder. The pre-cut pieces are laid along the device and when the holder is folded into shape, the folded yarn protrudes from the slot, ready to be picked up on the hook. The rug-maker could have several of these loaded with different colours. It might save time in picking up yarn pieces, but it takes time to load the yarn and fold the holder.

Next is a portable yarn carrying device. Instead of being packed in bundles or pouches, the wool is supplied pushed through a flexible sheet of plastic or card. The yarn carrier can be rolled up or loosely folded for storage. In effect, the user is unpicking a factory-made rug in order to make a latch-hook rug! To my way of thinking, if you’re going to load a sheet of something with yarn pieces, you might as well go the whole way and make the rug in the factory and stick on a backing to secure the yarn. It’s possible that this wool holder was derived from that method of rug-making.

Juanita Carver's latch-hook rug wool holder invention, patent US4154384 (published May 15, 1979) was a polystyrene container with multiple wells for wool bundles, an optional hook for hanging the holder and a port large enough to admit a latch hooking tool through the wall of the container at a point intermediate between the ends of the strands of yarn inside the well. The strands are pulled out of the well through that port. e container wall by means of the latch hook and the remaining strands are held in place until needed. It was designed around 2.5 inch diameter bundles of pre-cut yarn and aimed to keep them organised and portable. The wells are deep enough for 2 bundles of yarn; the lower well having a smaller diameter so that a lid could be put over the bottom section and a second (different colour) bundle put in the top section. When most of a yarn bundle is used up. a new bundle is placed in the well.

This wool tidy/carrier/dispenser overlooked one important issue - when enough strands are withdrawn, the bundle sags and the strands can't be pulled out through the port. Poking a latch-hook through the port is fiddly, won't always hook a strand and aids in this sag. Because of the curvature, it won't be much help to have a spring-loaded section to press the strands against the port as the volume of wool inside the dispenser decreases. Personally, I don't see many advantages over the "bundles in a shallow box" method.


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