We recently wrote an article for PLY Maganize's blog, showing how to use a power drill to twist skeins, as an alternate to hand-twisting. We talk more about why a yarn crafter may want to do this in our article found here:
It's helpful to watch this process in action, check out the video we made:
Hook the Drill
You’ll need a power drill with a typical 3-jaw clamping chuck and a hook. I did a survey of the hooks available at our local hardware store, and even though it’s a little smaller than ideal, I liked the metal one best, even better if you can find one with a pointed tip. I do NOT recommend a bicycle hook – the plastic coating on these isn’t slick enough and the yarn is more difficult to remove.
Clamp the hook tightly in your power drill, threads and all.
Note: It’s possible to use an electric screwdriver instead, but only if it has clamping jaws. Most have magnetic hex chucks, which won’t hold a threaded hook.
Rig Something Solid to Pull Against
The drill & hook is going to be in your hand, on one end of the skein. The other end will need to be firmly fixed to a table, rod, or shelf, enough that you can pull with 10-15 lbs of force against it. I settled on two main different ways of doing this.
Method 1: Clamp a post/peg to a sturdy table. I used both a wide paper towel holder (without a bulb at the top), and a PVC niddy-noddy (“release” arm pointed up). It’s important that your post or peg be at least 1” in diameter, because you want the skein to be held a bit open at this end, even after it’s twisted.
Method 2: S-hook to a very sturdy shelf or rod. This way isn’t bad either, I used the largest S-hook I could find at the hardware store, and also tried a large plastic hanger S-hook. This method tends to be a little fussier because the skein isn’t held as open at this end, and the ball at the end of the plastic S-hook dragged against the yarn a little when un-hooking it. I prefer Method 1, but wanted to give you the option to use other items that you might already have around the house.
I do NOT recommend having a friend hold the other end of the skein – with a power drill, it’s easy to overshoot and end up painfully squeezing their fingers. You have been warned!