Winding Yarn into a Center Pull Skein

By Erin Burger – 20 Comments
A center pull skein is a skein of yarn (or ball of yarn) that you pull the yarn from the middle while working on a project. This way ensures that the ball won’t roll around or get wound up with other yarns. Also, with a center pull skein you can stick it into your pocket and crochet while you’re strolling around. I do this all the time, mainly when I’m taking my kids to the park or even during their bath times!
Though this is one of the best and convenient ways to wrap yarn, if you notice that a yarn is easily knotting or are getting wrapped up in itself, it might not be a suitable yarn for a center pull skein.

A lot of crocheter’s (and knitters) I have met over the years each have their own way of starting a center pull ball, but it’s essentially the same regardless of what ‘apparatus’ you use at the very start.
The method described below are fine for starting from either a ball, skein, cone or hank.

1: Wrap yarn around between two pencils (or two fingers, two markers, or any cylindrical objects will also be fine), leaving long tail wrapped between the two and trailing away.

2: Wrap the yarn around both pencils 8-15 times, not to tightly, but not too loosely either.

3: Slide the wrapped yarn off of the pencils and hold the yarn with your forefinger and thumb. Begin to wrap yarn around in a clockwise motion around the held between your forefinger and thumb, all the while leaving the long tail alone to hang out the middle of the yarn

4: Continue wrapping while rotating the ball in a way that leaves the long beginning tail somewhat exposed. So wrap the yarn around 12-20 times, rotate, wrap again, rotate, wrap again. Try to keep the shape round and the center pull exposed.
See how easy?

Have any questions or tips about rolling a center pull skein? Comment here!

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  1. Wow, I never thought about making a ball that pulls from center like the skeins do, thanks! This is my new favorite thing, lol

  2. Bettysu says:

    AWESOME! I am (fairly) new to the crocheting world. I started learning around the age of 9, but did not continue. Just recently I wanted to pick it up again and have not been able to stop. I am currently 22. Since finding out about Center Pull skein I wanted to learn how to yarn my excess yarn this way, but couldn’t find how ={ This is why Crochet Spot is my favorite crochet website. It’s got everything!

    Thanks Crochet Spot team ^_^*

  3. tennyemaye says:

    I’ve always wanted to know how this was done. This is going to be very useful for me. Thank you!

  4. Jess says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I am extremely excited to try this since I always have my ball of yarn rolling ALL over the place!!

  5. Angie says:

    What a great, awesome idea…who knew you could walk and crochet at the same time? Although I’m barely talented enough to walk and chew gum at the same time. 😀

  6. Denise says:

    Oh thank GOD!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I get sooooo annoyed when my ball of yarn rolls off of my lap. (It’s then a free for all – who will get it first, me, the cats, my son, or the puppy.) Can’t wait to try this out!

  7. Leona Sewell says:

    Thanks for letting us know how to roll a ball of yarn, I always have to get a bowl or something to put my ball in , now I want have to, it is really going to come in handy this way …..thanks again !!!!!

  8. Janice says:

    How did all you August 31, 2010 commenters – comment so early? I only got this on September 6, 2010…..??????????

  9. gatyamgal says:

    Janice, I found out that the Monday email is a summary of different things that were posted on facebook during the week. Am I right?
    I have some ribbon yarn that is wrapped on the cardboard cylinder like Crochet Thread. I just made a ball out of it and I can’t wait to try it. It will be so much better than having it flopping around. And as Denise said, it won’t run away and turn into a cat toy…. sorry Maizy and Tabbers.

  10. John Hablinski says:

    I have a slightly different take on winding yarn with a centered feed. The principle is, of course the same, I mean how many different ways can wrap yarn and end up with a center pull? I use a large empty prescription bottle, I tuck the center length into the inside of the bottle, put the cap on to hold the center length in place and wrap. After wrapping the yarn open the cap, slide the wrapped yarn off the bottom of the bottle. You end up with yarn much like a ball that has already been used enough so the yarn no longer tends to be held by the friction you sometimes feel when beginning a new ball. As a rather interesting sidebar, when I woke this morning I had the thought I should share this method on some crochet site.

  11. Barb says:

    Best idea, John, since white bread!!!!!

  12. Effie says:

    With two kiddos this would make crocheting so much easier! Not to mention that I won’t drag the yarn through the mess that is my home. Thanks!

  13. Daria says:

    Excellent information! Thank you for sharing it, Rachel.

  14. eliska says:

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that. Thanks!

  15. RosaLinda says:

    Hi yea! My name is Rosa Linda I live in Puerto Rico. What I want to share with you is of the winding yarn When I have to go out on a long car trip ,I hate it when I go air trip can’t crochet.only when you get to to each to stop with the long wait! I fix my bag with the colors I need for my protect. Empty clean soda bottle,That I CUT the bottom of it, place the cup like with your favorita yarn. Makes it easyer to pull , even if it’s not in a small ball yet! But the whole skein fits nicely in the big bottle . For the doily crochet I use the small bottle. I re-cycle what I use and already have brought, plus it doesn’t cost me EXTRA . You have it right on hand !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have FUN Croheting and knitting. May God Bless youall always! RosaLinda in P.R.

  16. Francine says:

    Thanks for your tip on how to make a pull skein ball of yarn. I have been crocheting for 42 years and never knew how to do this. It works great!

  17. Alex Greif says:

    I tried doing this and my yarn wound up breaking within the ball. i thing i did something wrong. I might have wound it too tight. 🙁

  18. Natalie says:

    Thank you! Now my cat won’t be as tempted to play in my projects as often. I have been rolling yarn since I was about 7 with my grandmother and we never thought to do this. So thanks again for the great tip!

  19. Jean says:

    This will work for me when I have the small amounts of yarn leftover from projects.

    For my new skeins,, I got as a gift from my husband for Christmas a Boye Yarn Ball Winder that works just great!!! I recommend it. It makes loose center pull skeins. He got it from
    hope it was okay to add that.

  20. iluminameluna says:

    You can also use a crochet hook or knitting needle. Just use a bit of masking tape or painters tape to keep the long tail from getting rolled in and DON’T take it off the needle or hook until you’re done. I rolled it like this when I had to rip back almost an entire afghan (4lbs!) of cotton yarn. I made them into a daisy-chain of 1lb balls that pull out of the center with NO effort.

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