Winding Yarn into a Ball

Have you ever bought some gorgeous yarn that’s in a hank instead of a ball and asked yourself “How am I going to wind this into a ball”? Obviously, you can’t crochet or knit something with the yarn if it’s in a hank and not a ball or it would tangle uncontrollably! I bought some gorgeous lace weight bamboo yarn at the CGOA Conference in Manchester, NH this year and decided I’d better wind it into a ball so I can use it sometime soon. I love the colors that are in this yarn, don’t you?

Gorgeous bamboo yarn

Here’s a look at the tag that came on this gorgeous yarn to see how much yardage I got for my money:

Bamboo yarn tag

This yarn was sold by The Fiber Studio LLC in Henniker, NH. I think the yardage is great for the price and the fiber content (1,361 yards of hand-dyed bamboo yarn for only $16.20)! Anyway, I should have plenty of yardage to crochet something gorgeous, after I decide on the perfect item to make/design with it. I can’t wait!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t own a yarn swift yet. However, I do own both a manual and an electric yarn ball winder. I was blessed to win a Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder at Professional Development Day at the CGOA Conference a few years ago! What a treat! It’s a big time saver, as well as a muscle saver, especially when winding this many yards of yarn!!! But it’s not foolproof. You have to keep an eye on it and make sure nothing goes wrong, so don’t leave the room while it’s winding the yarn! I had a big mess of yarn once when the yarn slid off the winder while it was being wound! If I had been in the same room, I would have noticed it sooner and wouldn’t have had as big of a mess! The electric yarn ball winder does an excellent job of winding the yarn and I really enjoy having it. Here’s a picture of the box for the electric winder:

Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder

This electric yarn ball winder is available from many websites and at some local craft stores. You can watch a demo video of this yarn winder on YouTube here:

I use my manual yarn winder when I have small amounts of yarn to wind. It hooks onto the table (the table can’t be too thick, though) and you have to manually turn the handle to wind the yarn or crochet thread onto it. I will often slide half of a toilet paper roll onto the center of the manual yarn winder before using it to wind crochet thread so there is a “core” inside the thread when I’m done. It helps to keep all the neatly wound thread together later on. Here’s a picture of the manual yarn winder:

Manual yarn winder

Well, back to my invisible yarn swift (I’ll buy one sometime, I promise!). Since I wanted to wind this yarn and not have it terribly tangled, I had to improvise on a yarn swift. So I put 2 dining room chairs back to back in my kitchen and placed the hank of yarn over the back of the 2 chairs to hold it in place. Then I moved the chairs to the appropriate distance apart to support the yarn. Here’s what the yarn looked like around the back of the 2 chairs:

Improvised yarn swift

After I was satisfied with my makeshift swift, I removed the strand that was tied around the hank. Here’s what the ends looked like before freeing the tied ends:

Bamboo yarn ends

There was another 1 or 2 strands of yarn/thread tied around the hank that I removed, also. Then I started winding the yarn with the electric yarn ball winder. Since this yarn is somewhat slippery, I had to tie a knot in the end (to keep it from slipping off) before placing the end into the groove in the center of the yarn ball winder!

Guiding yarn from chairs to winder


Now a real yarn swift would have rotated and done most of the work for me, but I don’t own a swift, remember! So I had to become a “human yarn swift” and guide the yarn above the chairs (because obviously, my chairs don’t rotate)!!! I got a bit of a shoulder and arm workout but not too much!


It took me quite a while to wind the yarn, but it was definitely worth it. Now I’ll be able to use this yarn when I have an idea of what it wants to be (and when I have the time to devote to this project)!


Doesn’t this look nice and neat? This electric winder really does a nice job. I can pull the yarn from the center or the outside of the ball, whichever I choose.


Yarn on winder

If you use another method to wind your yarn into nice, neat balls, please share it with all of us here at The Crochet Architect! Or if you own an electric yarn ball winder, let us know how you like it!


Happy crocheting,


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