This is alpaca yarn--that's it's natural colour. I have a darker grey, a chocolate brown and a caramel--also natural colours, just as they came off the alpaca's back, only cleaner--to go with it. The point about the ball of yarn, though, is that I can pull the yarn out from the centre of the ball. So the ball doesn't bounce around while I'm working with it. Believe me, that is a good thing!
I commented earlier that the "ball winder" has a rather unimaginative name. Since then I've remembered, and started to research something called a "nostepinde". That's a fancy name for something that looks like a nicely shaped wooden stick. It's the predecessor of the ball winder. All the turning and wobbling from side to side is done by hand. I admired one at the Guild the other day and one of my fellow students commented that she does exactly the same winding pattern on a toilet roll and it works just fine! So, why would I bother even thinking about a nostepinde? Well, the ball winder is a bit bulky, whereas a nicely shaped wooden stick, aka nostepinde would fit nicely into my pencil case. And besides, I just love gizmos and gadgets and nicely shaped pieces of wood, so I'd rather have one of those in my pencil case than an empty toilet roll.