The people at Union Bridge Labs have created a monster, in fact a Yarn Monster. This is a device which can be fed yarn or wool, and returns a neatly wound ball of the aforementioned yarn. One would use this when deconstructing an older woollen garment, as you need the wool respun into a ball in order to easily reuse it.
Although it sounds odd, the Yarn Monster simply consists of two parts – the Monster itself and the remote control. The monster contains an Arduino board and a stepper motor which rotates a spindle to draw the wool in and wind it in the usual pattern. The second part is the remote control, which allows speed and direction changes for the winding. You can see it in action through the following video:
The remote control sends the data using Xbee wireless data transceiver modules, which can often have a range of over twenty metres. Apart from being a fun example of a tool for an otherwise unloved task, the Yarn Monster has a sense of personality and has been made to suit the name. Plus by following the instructions, hopefully your Arduino knowledge will in improve. Finally, you can always mount the winder in a more conventional enclosure for simplicity and sanity’s sake. For the plans, notes, and Arduino sketch visit the Yarn Monster site here: http://unionbridge.org/design/yarn-monster