Instructables
Picture of Hand Wind a Ball of Yarn
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This simple tutorial will show you how to wind a center-pull ball of yarn without any special equipment. 

I have several hanks of really beautiful yarn in my stash that I don't even think about using because I imagine having to take them to a yarn shop so they can be wound into balls on their nifty little swifts and winders.  And really, when am I going to do that?

So one day when I was home sick, I decided to crack out a few hanks I'd just purchased for a summer project (missed the boat on that one. . . ) and wind them up by hand. 

It's easy! And it's a nice project to do while you're home doing not much else and watching silly television online. 

The advantage of wrapping a center-pull yarn ball is that the yarn stays neat and won't get tangled.  Also, if you pull the working yarn from the center instead of the outside, the ball will stay put and not roll around as you unwind it!
 
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Step 1: Prep your yarn

Picture of Prep your yarn
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Some yarn comes already wound into center-pull balls.  Some comes twisted in hanks, like in the picture here. 

If you purchase this kind, take the paper off and open the yarn up into a big loop. (See picture 2).

Drape the loop of yarn over two chairs or the edge of a desk, or between the hands of a helpful friend.  This keeps the yarn from getting all tangled up while you're winding it. 

Step 2: Begin the Ball

Picture of Begin the Ball
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You start winding from the center of the ball (obviously). 

Hold one free end in your hand and drape the long end around your thumb as shown in picture 1.

Make your hand into a gun, and wrap the yarn in a figure 8 around thumb and finger.

Continue in this method until you run out of room on your fingers!
jojojovich1 year ago
Oooh, wonderful!! I love Instructables! Thank you SO much for posting this here! Hopefully I'll be able to do it well. Just bought my 2nd hanks of, as another here, "expensive yarn," so I want to make sure it works okay. Thank you again, wonderful photos and text to explain it. :)
I always have the roughest time making these, and now I know why--I was doing it wrong! Thanks for your great instructable!
Thanks!!! I appreciate anything yarn rrelated and hadn't thought of this on my own! I must admit to a duh moment!
You made it seem way too easy.. I bet I will have to try a couple times. Great instruction.
I have always wanted to be able to do this. Me, thinking it has to be done by a machine. Thanks for sharing this great tip. When you have to carry yarn in a bag for travel knitting, this is the only way to go.
This is great. I will need to try this!
I can't wait to wind up my "so expensive I'm afraid to use it" yarn. :)
DragonSpike3 years ago
Every time I've done it this way it's cut off the circulation to my thumb :(. Am I doing it wrong?
scoochmaroo (author)  DragonSpike3 years ago
Yeah! You're pulling it too tight! :D

Member agthomas reminded me that I should include the warning not to stretch the yarn in the process.

So sit back, relax, and let the your hands guide the yarn to drape itself gently into a perfect ball for you.

Good luck!
::nods:: remembering to keep things loose in the beginning also helps ensure that the center where your pull-yarn comes from gives you a nice easy pull.
jenelope3 years ago
This is wonderful! Ever time I've wound yarn balls, they're not center-pull. I have a ball winder, but it's buried under stuff in my basement.
mozarella3 years ago
thanks alot and happy new year
ali2083 years ago
I work as a medic working 12 hour night shift we were stationed out of what used to be a physical therepy large excersise empty room that was owned by our hospital. I had some knotted up yarn and had to double it up for a project, and didn't want to do it as I went along. SOOO needless to say I had yarn strung out across the entire 300 square foot "room" my partner was secluded to a small 5x5 area now I'll never have to do this again.!
doxsys3 years ago
This is terrific! Thanks -- I've never created a center-pull ball, but I'll remember this next time I'm winding.

Note: Step one, in which you discuss looping the yarn around chairs/friends/whatever is VITAL -- If you just lay the yarn on the floor or couch, you're gonna get hosed by tangling halfway through (or sooner), turning a 20 minute project into a 3 hour ordeal. (I have direct personal experience with this.) One way I like to do it is to wrap it around my knees, which works pretty well (as long as you don't have to get up halfway through.)
agthomas3 years ago
Very nicely done! Thanks. One reminder: don't stretch the yarn in the process. :-)
CrLz3 years ago
Nice! St the Waldorf school my children attend we make these for simple toddler toys.
angelabchua3 years ago
yay for yarn!
Jayefuu3 years ago
Hey they look really professional! Wonder how many people don't know that you can do it easily at home.