So you’re totally intimidated by the ball winder at your local yarn store. Or maybe you just dart out of the yarn store in a rush, eager to get back to work before your lunch hour is over. No matter what your reason, we all find ourselves with hanks of yarn that need to be wound into a ball.
The good news? You don’t need one of those fancy winders! You can wind a hank of yarn into a ball at home — and you can do it while you watch TV.
Here’s how to wind those hanks of yarn into a ball that’s ready to be knitted.
Why you should wind hanks into balls
Most yarn you buy at your local yarn store comes packaged as a hank. If you tried to knit right off that hank, your yarn would instantly become tangled and be a real pain to work with. That’s why we wind those hanks into balls.
One word of caution: If you’re not planning to knit with your hank right away, don’t wind it into a ball. Winding yarn into a ball can stretch the yarn over time, pulling it out of shape. Before you start winding, read more about how to store yarn, including when it’s best to wind yarn hanks into balls here.
Malabrigo Merino Worsted waiting to be transformed from hank to ball
Winding hanks into balls
Ready to wind? Here’s how:
1. Untwist the hank of yarn so that it forms a circle.
2. Notice that the hank is tied together in multiple places. Carefully untie the knot from each of those ties, keeping the yarn in the circle. If you find it impossible to untie the knot, use scissors to carefully cut the tie.
3. Ask a friend to hold the circle of yarn with two hands, pulling taut to keep the yarn in place.
Alternately, you can also drape the circle of yarn around the back of a chair to keep it in place. I’ve also used things like coat hooks to keep the yarn in place as I wind. In one very desperate moment, I wrapped the yarn around my ankles and propped my legs on a coffee table to wind the ball!
The most important part of this step is making sure the circle stays in place, otherwise, your yarn could tangle and cause a lot of trouble as you wind it.
4. Find the end of the yarn. The end is usually just wrapped around as one of the ties you removed, so you may have already spotted it.
5. Begin to wrap the yarn end around your index and middle fingers, creating a base for the ball of yarn.
6. Once you’ve wrapped the yarn several times, slide your fingers out of the loop. Continue wrapping the yarn around, changing directions as you wrap.
7. Your yarn will begin to form a ball quickly. Keep wrapping the yarn around the ball, changing directions after a few wraps.
Once you’ve run out of yarn on the hank, you’re finished! Simple, huh?
Now that you’ve wound your hank into a ball of yarn, what are you going to knit? Nab some inspiration from a few Craftsy classes, like Plug & Play: Custom Scarves & Shawls with Amy Singer where you’ll learn to customize beautiful stitch patterns to make any accessory you can imagine. In the market for some stash-busting patterns? Go with One Skein Accessories: Chevron Collection with Aurora Sisneros can help you use those random skeins of yarn to make beautiful accessories.