How To Wind Yarn: The Fastest and Easiest Ways - Darn Good Yarn

How To Wind Yarn: The Fastest and Easiest Ways

Life's Tangles

Have you ever had one of those days where yarn leaves you in a jumble? Like life, sometimes our yarn leaves us is tangles! I don't know about you, but I am not one to walk away from life's many tangles. I may pause, grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and jump right in! Be it life or my latest yarn hank, I find great pleasure in finding a solution!

Jump In, Feet First - Winding Yarn By Hand

Can we talk feet for a minute? I love my husband's feet! Sound a bit kinky? Not at all! In fact, just the opposite. This is all about practicality! When I have a new skein of sari silk ribbon, chiffon, lace weight silk yarn, or whatever, I prefer to use it in a ball. So while my husband is reclining in his rocker, I use his feet to wrap my fiber around!

How, you might ask? (or not!) I take the skein, untie or push it out of the form it is in. I take note of where the end is. Then I put the skein over my husband's feet. He adjust his feet accordingly, so that the yarn is somewhat taught around his feet and I now take hold of the yarn end. From there, I wind the skein into a ball as described below. This works really well unless football is on tv because he can have zero distractions when it comes to that game!

So whether you have someone to hold your yarn or not, there are other ways to make your skein into a ball. I have also used the back of a chair where I can drape the open skein and unwind the yarn from there. One time while camping, I hung the skein on a low, dead  branch and wound a ball from there! Really, any where that you can drape the yarn and easily wind up a ball of yarn in no time!

How To Use A Yarn Winder & What Is A Yarn Swift?

Looking for super easy winding? A wooden yarn swift and/or a yarn winder is a speedy way to get those skeins into balls. Whether you have one skein or hundreds to wind, a swift makes the process quick and easy.

yarn winder laying on a wooden table, unassembled

Hanks of yarn are put on the swift and then the  swift spins as you wind the yarn into a ball. Compact and easy to store a yarn swift is an excellent way to make winding yarn super easy! Check out Nicole's video on how to use a swift:

How To Hand Wind Yarn

Hand winding your yarn into a ball is simple! I hold the end of the fiber in my hand and wrap the fiber over a couple of fingers. Once I have twenty or so wraps ( a guess on my part), I slide it off my fingers and continue wrapping around this lose inner ball. I always try to have at least one finger under the yarn being wound. Keeping a finger in the wrap helps to keep the tension not too tight which can stretch the fiber over time!

So why bother with putting your yarn into a ball? Personally, I much prefer the idea of easy access and doing the work ahead of time. I love my yarn wound into balls because then I am ready to dive in to knitting whole heartedly! I don't have to stop for a tangle and can just focus on the project.

Two ceramic yarn bowls, one a cat bowl, the other a chicken, with blue yarn coming out of their yarn holes.

And yes, the cats definitely prefer yarn in balls!

A black and brown speckled kitty laying on a wooden table, behind a wooden yarn bowl filled with handmade yarn.

In having the yarn wound in balls, I can also use my  yarn bowl which is a really sensible way to be able to use my yarn. The bowls are handmade and very artful looking and I really love to show that off! And yeah, there is something very beautiful in seeing a basket of fiber ready for the next dream to come true!

A close up of a piece of crochet work, made up of pink, purple, and teal sport weight yarn. At the forefront of the picture is an unused skein of the same pink-purple-and teal sport weight yarn.

Winding yarn is part of the process of creating. Once I buy the yarn, I am then well on my way to making my hand crafted project. The process of winding the balls gives me time to think about what I envision and also gives a meditation-like quality as I begin the process. Kinda like the first day back at yoga class, I can feel the beauty of what is to be! How do you wind your yarn and what tips can you share with the rest of us?