Introduction: How to Roll Up a Ball of Yarn

Wrapping your yarn into hand-wound balls or skeins (a skein is coiled yarn or thread) can be helpful for storing and using yarn. The main advantage of this is that it prevents yarn from being easily tangled. As a skilled knitter, crocheter and weaver, I have employed this method of storing and using yarn for many years and found it well worth the short time it takes to roll the yarn right when I get it. Often those who are proficient with this task can do it very quickly and it can look tricky, but the process is actually very simple.



— Scissors (Optional)

Step 1: Determine State of Yarn.

You should start by determining the state of your yarn. Is it in a store-bought skein or a giant tangle? This set of instructions will focus on the store-bought skein, but the methods are very similar. The main difference is that if your yarn is tangled, you will have to be continually untangling it throughout the process.

Step 2: Find End of Yarn.

The next step is to find the end of the yarn. If your yarn is tangled, this may take some digging. If your yarn is a store-bought skein— it is easier to work with the end of yarn that is inside the skein. Stick your fingers into one of the holes on either side of the skein. Locate the end with your fingertips. If you can't find it— you may have to pull a small clump of yarn out from the very center of the skein and look for the end in that. If all else fails, pull out the whole center clump.

Step 3: Wrap Around Non-dominant Hand Until Fist Sized.

Once you have located the end of the yarn, hold it between your thumb and fingers of your non-dominant hand. With your dominant hand, begin to wrap yarn around the fingers of your non-dominant hand until the loops form an almost fist-sized clump. If your yarn is in a tangle, you may have to pause often to free more yarn to wrap. A general tip for untangling is to avoid pulling hard on the yarn as this could cause it to knot. If you do end up with knots, don't panic! Approach them slow and steady— freeing yarn from one end to the other instead of just yanking at the whole mess.

Step 4: Pull Clump Off Hand and Begin Wrapping.

Pull the loops off of your hand, being careful not to drop it and let it unravel. Grip the clump in your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to wrap the yarn around the clump until all the looser loops of yarn are covered. You will move more quickly if you wrap in the direction that points away from yourself while going over the top of the yarn ball. (Use the video for a visual aid for this.)

Step 5: Continue to Wrap.

Keep wrapping new yarn around the ball. Rotate the ball to evenly distribute new yarn. Wrap until it starts to become uncomfortable to grip in one hand, or you run out of yarn. (Note* be sure to wrap at an even and comfortable tightness— wrapping yarn too tightly can stretch it out or squish the yarn toward the center. This is especially important when working with a yarn with elastic content.)

Step 6: (Optional) Cut Yarn and Repeat

If it is a large skein and there is more yarn left to roll— cut the ball free and repeat the whole process until all yarn has been hand-rolled.