The next day when the ball winder came, I was in awe. Serious, envious awe. I'd never seen a ball winder like it, and I've seen more than a few. It wasn't a Royal or a Knitpicks or a Boye Electric Winder - those are all plastic, and wear out fairly quickly. It wasn't one of the wooden ones: neither a Strauch nor one of Nancy's Knit Knacks commercial heavy duty ball winder. Both of the wooden ones I've used at several different stores: both the motorized ones and the hand turning ones.
No, this thing was hefty, made out of cast iron or aluminum, and geared in a way I'd never seen before. This thing looked like it could be thrown against a wall and still be OK. I fell instantly in love - and as soon as I got home I ordered myself one.
The ball winder, made by Stanwood Needlecraft (who I've never heard about), is absolutely lovely. Priced lower than the wooden ones, I'd say it's comparable in durability, and can wind up to 10 oz of yarn with no problem - more than double what most of the plastic models can handle. I've barely gotten to use the ball winder since I've gotten it, since each time I go to wind a ball of yarn, Mr. Turtle pulls it out of my hands and winds it for me - apparently the smooth running of the gears makes him happy.
It works differently than other ball winders - the little arm you see rising out from under the ball winder goes in one direction while the white center part runs in the other direction - creating a ball that winds very quickly and smoothly. Balls are much more regular, and perhaps even more densely wound - meaning they hold their shape better even when you've pulled the center out.
The gearing is wonderful: very precise and I don't see it wearing out anytime soon, since all the parts are metal. The only detractor is the running can be rather loud if you go all out and are really cranking away - but slow it down and it gets quiet again.
So where can you get this ball winder? It's cheapest on the website, but also can be found on Amazon. Seriously. I'm in love with it.
PS: I was not compensated in any way shape or form for reviewing this ball winder. I just love it.