My first attempt at making a PVC niddy noddy (with 18" center) created a skein that was too long for my swift. At its fullest extension, the swift holds 70", just short of two yards. When winding out to the very ends of the arms of my niddy noddy, I was getting a significantly longer skein than a mere two yards. In my mind, 1.5 yards ought to be just the right size, and great for recalculating yardage later (since 1.5 * wraps is easy).
Because I was winding along the ends of my niddy noddy, rather than right next to the cross-piece, I was making a long diagonal length from end to end. Feeling smart, I got out my pen and paper and applied a little basic trigonometry to the problem and arrived at what I thought was a proper length for the center bar. Intuitively, it seemed awfully short. However, I'm rarely one to trust a gut feeling over a properly calculated answer so I sat hard on that little part of my brain saying, "Hey, there.. not right! Not right!". Hack-saw in hand, I obtained a properly short piece of PVC. When done, I measured the skein and that half-squished part of my brain piped up again. "Hey! That's too short for a 1.5 yard skein! Too short! You did the math wrong!"
So I futzed with the niddy noddy, holding it in odd contortions and trying to wrap yarn around it while wishing for a third hand, and estimated without math. This added 2 inches to the center bar and produced a longer skein that matched what I thought it should be.
The problem is that my BASIC MATH SKILLS failed me here. Oh, no. Not the Trig. THAT, I did right. For some reason, when I checked the skein length the first try my traitor brain said, "54 inches? No WAY that 54 inches is 1.5 yards..." Um, Brain? Heh-LLO! 54 inches is exactly 1.5 yards! When I extended the center-bar, I ended up with a 66" skein. I don't know why my abused, sleep-deprived brain settled on this as the CORRECT amount for a yard-and-one-half. But there it is. A 66" skein.
Not all is lost! I still have the shorter center-bar so I can make a 1.5 yard skein. In addition, the skein I wound off last night is not the 345 yards I believed I had, but rather a full 400 yards (I checked, twice)! The yarn is a little rough to touch even after washing, conditioning and thwacking thoroughly. And while it's not dreamy in your hands like merino, the color is so amazingly beautiful that I'm not sure I can relegate it to my feet in the form of socks. I'm debating a triangular scarf/shawl of some sort I could tuck on the outside of my black wool pea-coat for decoration. It would be gorgeous!