How to Wind Yarn Tutorial

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I’m Marie Segares from Underground Crafter, and I love to play around with new and exciting yarns. In the last few years, the availability of independent yarns has exploded. Every crocheter now has more access to hand dyed yarns, hand spun yarns, and yarns imported in small batches than ever before.

One thing that crocheters may find intimidating about buying yarn from independent companies is that it often comes in a hank and isn’t wound into a ball.

 

Yarn winding tutorial by Underground Crafter for I Like Crochet 1

 

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use a yarn swift and a yarn winder to transform that hank of yarn into a usable “yarn cake.”

Start with a yarn swift (at left) and a ball winder (at right).

 

Yarn winding tutorial by Underground Crafter for I Like Crochet 2

 

I use an “Amish-style” yarn swift. It’s made of wood and can be easily assembled and then put away just as quickly (which is perfect for apartment living). Follow the instructions for assembling your swift and winder, and set them up close near each other on a flat surface.

I use a hand-cranked ball winder. It’s much quieter (and smaller) than the electric versions, and I can control the tension and speed that I’m using to wind the yarn. Be sure that it is tightly clamped onto the surface you are using to wind the yarn.

Gently separate the hank of yarn by pulling it out from where it’s folded, being careful not to pull the strands apart.

 

Yarn winding tutorial by Underground Crafter for I Like Crochet 3

 

Place the hank on your swift. Most swifts have multiple pegs to adjust the size of the yarn hank. Use the size where the fit is snug, but not too stretched out.

 

Yarn winding tutorial by Underground Crafter for I Like Crochet 4

 

After you have the yarn positioned on the swift, cut the ties. Be careful because at least one of the ties is usually formed with yarn from the hank!

 

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Look over the yarn once more, and adjust it if necessary so that there aren’t any twists in it.

 

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Thread the yarn through the stabilizer on the winder.

 

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Stretch a small length of yarn over the top of the winder. (This will be the center pull strand once your yarn is wound.)

 

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Start cranking your yarn winder clockwise.

 

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Once you feel comfortable, you may crank even faster.

 

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Be sure to slow down periodically, especially as you get to the end of the yarn, to check for tangles.

 

Yarn winding tutorial by Underground Crafter for I Like Crochet 11

 

Once the yarn is wound, gently remove the “yarn cake” from the winder.

 

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I like to tie the label to the outside strand of yarn so that I can identify it later!

 

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Don’t forget that your “yarn cakes” can pull from the center.

 

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The flat bottom makes the “yarn cake” easier to use than a ball of yarn. It sits flat and you don’t have to worry about it rolling away.

Now that you know how to wind your own yarn, go shopping for some indie yarn! You can find lots of options in local yarn shops, at regional fiber festivals, or through online marketplaces.

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Comments
  • Thanks for this info. Definitely have this item on my wishlist. In the meantime, I use adjustable office chair with arms as swift and manually wind into a ball. Works great!

    Reply
  • Sharon Brown

    I love your yarn swift and ball winder pictorial. I don’t see where I can purchase these items anywhere on the site. I have crocheted for many years and have many yarns that need to be made into usable balls. Great tool! Please let me know how I can obtain these tools. Thank you.

    Reply
  • I don’t use any of these things to wind yarn.
    I just use a “STRAW”.
    With a crochet hook, lace the yarn through the straw
    and then wind the yarn around the straw,
    At the end of the yarn, leave enough to wind around the ball you have made, make a knot to secure it, and then pull the straw from the middle
    of the ball. You have made a ball of yarn with the feed coming from the middle. (No ball rolling around the table or whatever).
    Your only investment is a common drinking straw that you probably have in your house.
    One thing…turn the ball you are winding every four or five turns to keep the ball even.

    Reply
  • I do the same thing as Ann, except I use the tube from an empty saran wrap box. It’s very sturdy, gives you something to grip onto as you’re winding and gives a slightly larger centre pull area (yarn’s not so tight when starting) Hey! It’s recycling at it’s finest!

    Reply
  • If I get a hank I use my feet to hold it and wind in a ball with my hand, however, I do love the swift and and winder. Are they expensive and where do I find them? Thank you so much for the picture tutorial.

    Reply
  • Susan Yazluk

    Been winding yarn as my grandmother taught me since I was about twelve. All you need is your Thumb and two fingers on one hand to wined the yarn around with the other hand. Allowing you to make the ball that can be pulled from the middle. No other tools necessary.

    Reply

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