Yarn Ball Winder

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Introduction: Yarn Ball Winder

Make a center-pull ball using a knitting needle, drill and masking tape. This photo shows the winder being used with my duct tape yarn swift.

Step 1: Supplies

drill
knitting needle #9
masking tape

Note: In place of a knitting needle, you could use a...

wooden dowel
plastic or metal rod or tube
pencil
bamboo skewer

...anything long enough to wind on that's rigid and will fit in the drill chuck. Here I used a size 9 needle. You could go larger or smaller as long as it seats properly in the chuck and spins without wobbling.

Step 2: Setup

Put your needle in the chuck and snug it down. Tape the end of the yarn to the needle as shown, about 8-10 inches (20-25cm) away from the chuck.

Tape the yarn again, right at the base of the needle, close to the chuck.

The tape doesn't have to be any particular distance apart; just far enough for your yarn ball to form in between them.

Step 3: Begin Winding

Grasp the yarn lightly in one hand, and start the drill SLOWLY with the other. As the needle spins, guide the yarn up and down the needle to form the beginning of your yarn ball. Then go as fast as you are comfortable with.

As it builds, start moving your guide hand back and forth a bit faster so the yarn winds on a diagonal. This is loosely similar to what a commercial winder does, and helps it hold together when it's finished. The diagonal winding will be evident in the next step.

Step 4: Finish

The finished ball of yarn.

Take the needle out of the drill, remove the tape and slide the ball off of the needle.

It is messier than a ball from a commercial winder, but just as functional. If the looks bother you, you can wrap the last few layers by hand to neaten up the outside.

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    34 Comments

    im a newbie at yarn stuff still. i was wondering does this work if you want to make center pull balls of yarn?

    This is a definitely must make. Thank you!

    I used to use the bowl method for placing my balls of yarn as I worked on a piece and then (silly me), I got a Cat. Mocha now owns several balls of yarn. However, I found another article in Instructables where one reader suggested using a coffee can with a grommet in the lid (you thread the yarn through the grommet).

    I love this site!

    Just a suggestion, but I "sacrificed" a few of my scrap balls of yarn from project left overs and gave them to my cat. She happily decorates the house with them every night and we gather them up and put them in a basket for her to play with again. She knows they are hers, and is interested in my projects but doesn't try to take my yarn when I am working anymore. Cats are pretty smart. Please tell me if you try it and have good results like we did. I am curious, too.

    Yes! Sounds like a great idea....I will let you know how it works out in a couple of months....or less.

    Here's a slight modification that makes nice ends:

    http://squirrelkingthemovie.blogspot.com/2013/05/power-drill-yarn-balls.html

    It's also just a fun VIDEO EXPLANATION

    Thanks for the idea! Might I suggest putting the drill on the fastest speed? That's what I did and I got a much neater 'ball'. Gotta love power tools! :D

    power tools and knitting
    genius

    Thanks for the idea!!! I'm trying it today. I think that if you use a nostepinne (or something like a nostepinne), you can avoid the potential problem of winding too tightly and stretching your yarn. The hole in the middle of the ball is larger at first, but then any "boing" in your yarn will slowly close up the hole and and your ball of yarn will be a little mushier, just like granny told me it should be.

    My nostepinne wannabee is three chopsticks (they are tapered and pointy at one end) taped together with electrical tape. Works well by hand but I am hoping it works better with a cordless drill! Or maybe my old hand mixer...

    There is nothing the matter with a hand wound ball yarn when hand knitting. I often put mine in a teapot with the yarn coming out of the spout to keep it from running away and picking up dusties and dog hairs under the sofa. I do the centre pull balls for machine knitting - a hand wound ball just doesn't work as well.