How to Use a Niddy Noddy


Introduction: How to Use a Niddy Noddy

About: I am a Professional Knitter with hobbies in drawing, chain mail, sewing and any other craft I can get a how to book on :)

Most of you are probably wondering “What the heck is a Niddy Noddy?!” At least that is what I was like until I learned how to use one for the first time. To satisfy your curiosity, a Niddy Noddy is tool used to wind yarn into a skein and can also be used to get an approximate length of the yarn. For example: you have a stash of half used skeins of yarn and you want to use some for a project. If you are like me, you have no idea when you last used that yarn or how much of it is left. So instead of starting the project and hoping you have a enough to finish, you can just whip out you Niddy Noddy and see if you have enough yarn to meet the length requirement for the project before you start or if you are a spinner and have some yarn you want to make into a skein you can use the Niddy Noddy to quickly make a skein and find out how much yarn you have spun!

Step 1: What You Will Need

Niddy Noddy

Tape Measure


Paper tag

A piece of tape

Step 2: Getting to Know the Niddy Noddy

There are a few steps that need to be taken before you can begin winding your yarn. First you will need a Niddy Noddy and second is to figure out how to wrap it and third would be to measure how long one full wrap is, this is particularly important if you have bought your Niddy Noddy used (as I did) and the measurements are unknown. In general, Niddy Noddies come in two flavors an 18 inch and a 36 inch. When using the Niddy Noddy the skein is wound by making a wrap twice its length. So an 18 inch will wind a skein that is one yard in length and a 36 inch will wind then skeins that are 2 yards long.

The Niddy Noddy itself is made up of one long central bar and two cross bars that are typically at right angles to each other.

Step 3: Getting Started

First- tape down one end of your tapemeasure to the top of

one of the cross bar. Following the picture, wrap your tape measure around your Niddy Noddy. You want to keep the wrap tight, but not so tight that the tape comes off.

Then overlap the beginning and the end of your tape measure wrap and note the measurement (if your tape measure is not long enough to wrap around your Niddy Noddy then mark the distance it is at when it has made half a wrap as shown in the picture and multiply it by 2 to get the measurement of a full wrap). This is the approximate length of one wrap of yarn. Note that this measurement will change slightly with the amount of tension you put on your yarn as you wrap it. So the measurement is not 100% accurate, but it will get you in the ball park so you can be more confident about having enough yarn for a project.

Step 4: Wrapping the Yarn

Removing the tape measure and grabbing your yarn. Wrap the yarn around the central bar of the Niddy Noddy to hold it in place. Then begin wrapping your yarn keeping track of how many times you make a complete wrap. When making your wraps it is important that you don’t wrap it too tightly as it will make it hard to pull off your loops when you are done.

Step 5: Math! Yes There Is Math.

Once you have finished wrapping your yarn. Take the number of complete wraps and multiply it by the length you acquired with the tape measure. Once you have the measurement write it down on your tag so you don't forget. This is the approximate yardage of your yarn! The next step will be making the skein.

Step 6: Tie Off the Ends

Taking the ends of the yarn tie them off around the full wrap .

Step 7: Get It Off!

Next, take one of the wrap bundles off the Niddy Noddy and keep the loop in your hand (this is why it is important not to wrap it too tightly) and gently lift the rest of the loops off of the cross bars. Take care to keep this in a loop so you don’t tangle your yarn.

Step 8: The Twist

Move the top loop off of your hand and onto your arm and grabbing the bottom of the loop with your other hand, begin twisting the loop with your hand that has hold of the bottom. Once you have twisted the loop so that the ends are tight against your wrist and hand, fold the twist in half and you will see it start to twist on itself.

Step 9: Locking Your Skein

Then using the hand that is through the top loop start bringing your hand through it while grabbing the bottom part of the loop through the top thus locking in your twist.

Step 10: Attaching the Tag

Finally take your tag and attach it to your skein, and Ta-Da! You have made a skein and know its approximate length!



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    9 Discussions

    is it better to store the yarn in a skein rather than a ball?

    I was told that you should wind the yarn into a ball rather than try to work from a skein because the yarn will tend to tangle from a skein.

    8 replies

    Good Question Lorddrake. You are correct, it is easier to work from a ball instead of a skein and a ball does tangle less. However, I have received yarn from stores and presents that are neither a skein or a ball or I have acquired yarn that I did not know the length for. This is where the Niddy Noddy comes in, you can wind it into a skein and know the length of the yarn you have. Also if you want to use a Swift to help you wind a ball of yarn, it needs to be in skein form.

    i'm new to the great wide world of yarn (just started using it 2 weeks ago) but i have made several nice scarves as presents on the long loom that i have. I'm not yarn savvy enough to try knitting needles yet lol

    what is a swift?

    A swift is what is used to help wind a skein into a ball. You see them a lot in yarn stores and they look kind of like this

    Image result for yarn swift

    If you are just starting out with any yarn craft, I encourage you to visit your local yarn shop. I am sure the people who work there would be more than happy to help you with any of your questions :) and don't be scared of the Knitting Needles, they are fun to use and there is so much you can do with them :)

    very interesting. thanks for the tips. I am going to do a IBLE on the scarves I am making when i start the next one, hopefully i'll have it published before the new year :)

    @lorddrake, I was told to knit with the yarn in ball (or cake) form, but if I'm not going to use it for a while I should store it in skein form. Apparently the yarn is under a lot of tension in cake form, which could stretch out the yarn.

    what is cake form? I have not heard that expression before.

    It is the results of winding a skein on a ball winder. It's frequently called a 'cake.'

    IMG_2883 3.JPG

    You are also correct. In the yarn store I worked at a majority of our yarn was in Skein form with only a few in "ball" form (they really looked like doughnuts) but as to the amount of stretch in "cake" form, I can not say. I have personally stored my yarn in both forms.