How Do You Wind Your Yarn?

By Rachel Choi – 23 Comments

When you purchase your yarn it can be wound in different ways, such as a ball, skein, cake, hank, or cone. Some crocheters have a preference as to how their yarn is wound and would even rewind the yarn to make it into their desired method. How do you wind your yarn? What is your desired method?

Personally, I love pull skeins. Pull skeins are the skeins that have the yarn coming out of the middle. This is my favorite method because the skein doesn’t roll around and move when I crochet with the strand of yarn that comes out of the middle. Most major yarn companies, such as Red Heart, Lion Brand and Caron, wind their yarns into pull skeins to be sold. But if I do purchase yarn that is not in a pull skein, most of the time I’m too lazy to rewind it, so I just use it as it is. However, if my yarn is a tangled mess, then I’ll definitely rewind it into a nice pull skein. If you need help crocheting with a pull skein and would like to know more about the “yarn coming out of the middle” that I’m talking about, you can learn more about it here: How to Find the End of the Yarn in a Pull Skein

What about you? What is your favorite way to wind your yarn?

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  1. deb says:

    When I buy yarn other than the pull skein, I wind it on my swift and ball winder to make cakes.
    Other times, I load the yarn onto my swift and then wind it by hand into a ball, which is the way I really prefer it, as it’s not as tight of a wind.
    I really love to wind yarn, as I find it very relaxing. Now only if I had some shelves to display the pretty yarn instead of billions of totes all around, lol, that would look so pretty.

  2. Ruth says:

    I usually make mine into a ball. sometimes I just leave it as a skein. Depends on the size skein that I get. I have a pound of yarn that is still the original way that I bought it. when it gets smaller and a bit of a pain to work with i’ll wound it into a ball.

  3. Kim says:

    I’ve recently decided I like my yarn in a ball. Lots of times if I can find the middle string I’ll use it that way. But mostly I like it in a ball.

  4. Panya says:

    I buy pull skeins and wind them into balls by hand just before using them. I keep my work and relevant yarn in a tote, so the ball doesn’t roll anywhere.

  5. Samantha says:

    I also wind my yarn into balls by hand. :3

  6. Anna says:

    I wind them by hand into centre pull balls – though the way I wind them, they’re not round. They’ve got a flat top and bottom, so they don’t try to escape on me.

    Lately, instead of starting the centre by wrapping a figure 8 around my fingers, I’ve been using a larger crochet hook, or even just a pencil, as a nostepinne.

  7. Mary says:

    So how DO you wrap yarn into a pull skein? I’d love to know because that’s my favorite. After a while, and there’s not a lot of yarn left in my pull skein, I’ll wind them into (loose) balls for future projects. My step-mom told me not to wind them too tight as the yarn will eventually lose it’s shape or elasticity (I think that’s what she said, anyway)

  8. Anna says:

    Mary, there’s a few ways to do it. The important thing is to make sure the end of the yarn from the middle remains accessible. One way is to wrap the yarn in a figure 8 around finger and thumb about a dozen times to start it. Remove from fingers, then continue wrapping the yarn around this as a base, making sure the tail is unobstructed. The other way is to tie or otherwise fix the end of the yarn to something like a pencil, crochet hook, or anything similar (even the core of a toilet paper role works, if you want a really hollow ball), then wrap the yarn around it. Untie the yarn and remove the core, and there’s your centre pull ball.

  9. Mary says:

    Thanks Anna! I’ll try that out next time I need to de-tangle a mess of yarn. 🙂

  10. Karen B. says:

    It’s the hank to swift to ball-winder for center-pull cake for me. I control the tension of the yarn with one hand while winding with the other. I find careful tension control keeps the cake from pulling the yarn too tightly thus losing its loft. That is why I never let the LYS wind my yarn.

  11. Candy says:

    I prefer balls. I wind them by hand

  12. Lisa says:

    I like pull skein yarn, though sometimes when I get it from the store both ends are out and the tail end always gets wrapped around and tangled. I didn’t know you could re-wind it in a skein, I’ll try that. When I have left overs I just roll them into a ball but then they roll all over the house and I have to fight the cats for them!

  13. Lindsey says:

    For ease of transport, lack of tangling, and stack-ability, my vote is always with the cones! 🙂

  14. Mayra says:

    What I do for the yarns that are very thin; the ones usually with a size of 1-3; is put them on a chopstick-we get thousands and the ones that we don’t use for our food, I recycle. So here is what I do: I place the stick on the head of a battery-powered drill, I place the yarn with a slip knot on the stick and away I go. It wind the yarn beautifully, i control the tension, and I never get tangles. When I ready to use the yarn, it just glides right off and I don’t have to put so much effort pulling the yarn off. It’s great-my husband did this for me because he got tired of helping me pull the yarn off the skein. Try it!

  15. Darlene says:

    Can’t imagine winding it into a ball any more since I bought a yarn winder. I’m on my second one. Wore out the first one. I control the tension as Karen B. described above. My arm gets way to tired and sore if I have to wind it by hand into a ball.

  16. Jenny says:

    I hand-wind my yarn into balls, then pop them into an old plastic coffee can with a hole in the lid for the yarn to come out – it doesn’t roll away and stays free of lint and my dogs hair!

  17. Bethintx1 says:

    I like using pull skeins, but when I need to, I make center-pull balls of yarn.

  18. Melissa says:

    I have a hand winder and wind into a cake before I use it. I find that much easier to work with.

  19. Sodie says:

    Let’s try this again. When pulling from the center of the skein and you get a messy bit, don’t pull from the end nearest your project. I lay my project aside and do a “reverse pull” from the skein-end of the knot – this will “generally” eliminate a tight knot but there still may be area that will result in the knot. Trick is to stop and pull from the “skein-end” plus it won’t take but a minute to use up all the extra yarn and you’re good to go!

  20. Sodie says:

    I learned to wind a ball from an experienced knitter – hope I’m able to explain. Curl your pointer finger and hold the yarn about 4″ from the end at the knuckle – hold your thumb up like Little Jack Horner. Begin wrapping the yarn around the nail of your thumb – after the little ball forms (8-10 winds) ease your thumb out A BIT and begin rotate the ball between thumb and pointer finger (okay to let the tail go – it will come out the center of the ball. Keep spinning and wrapping and you’ll end up with a ball that squatty – like a vidalia onion. At the end of the skein, just tuck it under/around the last twists. Now, pull from the center and the yarn collapes on itself. If the ball is not quite finished, I often rewind into a tighter ball. Hope this written well enough for you to geve it a try – like someone else said – it’s very relaxing and the ball doesn’t roll around as you use it and seldom untangles during storage. I’m not good like Rachel – you can’t run your mouse over this missive for left hand or clearer directions. Give me a shout out and I’ll try clear up any confusion.

  21. Paulette says:

    Great tips here – thank you all.

    I didn’t even know that you could wind yarn into a center pull skein or ball or cone or whatever until I read this. DUH!
    I’ve always either used the ones that are ‘ready made’ center pull, or else I would roll them into balls – roly, poly balls – NOT center pull. Occasionally I wouldn’t even wind them, but instead just use the yarn as is, deal with the annoyance and hope for the best.

  22. Lorene says:

    What kind of a yarn ball winder is the best. I have been thinking of getting one.

    Thanks and Blessings to all.

  23. […] of yarn into a loose hank so it’s not one big tangled mess on the floor. Like Rachel says in this post, crocheters have preferences when it comes to winding yarn into hanks, so it’s up to you how […]

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