Picture of 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.
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
knitting needle #9
masking tape

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

wooden dowel
plastic or metal rod or tube
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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.