Sometimes, the yarn you buy at your local yarn store comes twisted neatly as a hank, but you can’t knit with it like this. Before you can start knitting, you need to wind the hank of yarn into a ball. If you don’t do this, you will end up with a hot mess of tangles!
If you plan to use the yarn straight away, the best thing to do is to ask at the yarn store if they will wind your hank into a ball for you! They should be able to do it for you, no problem.
If you forgot to ask, you’ll need to do it yourself at home. There are several ways you can do this.
The best and easiest way, is with a ball winder and swift. As a beginner, you might not be ready to invest in this equipment. But trust me, if you’re going to be knitting a lot in the future, you’ll want to get these tools at some point.
Now that I have them, I couldn’t live without my ball-winder and swift!
(Tip: If you can only afford one or the other, invest in a ball-winder first. You can get a swift later!)
5 Simple Steps to Wind a Center Pull Ball of Yarn
Here’s a break-down of the steps:
Step 1: Untuck and Untwist the Hank
Untuck the twisted hank and open it out so that you are holding the big loops of yarn. It will still be secured by several ties of yarn.
Step 2: Find a Place to Hold your Loops of Yarn
Place the hank of yarn onto a swift, the back of a chair, or over the outstretched arms of a good friend, making sure that the loops are not twisted.
Step 3: Cut the Ties
The loops of yarn will be tied in several places to stop it from tangling. Often the two ends of the yarn are tied together. Carefully remove the scrap yarn that is holding the yarn together (You don’t want to accidentally cut the yarn from the hank).
Step 4: Secure the End
If using a ball winder, find the end of the yarn that unravels from the outside of the loops. Thread it through the eye of the yarn guide and secure it into the notch on the top of your ball winder. If winding by hand, secure the end in the palm of your hand.
Step 5: Start Winding!
Start winding your yarn into a ball (either by hand or using a ball winder) using one of the methods shown in the videos below:
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Video: How to Wind a Hank of Yarn into a Ball with a Ball-Winder and Swift
Check out this video by Chandi from Expression Fiber Arts. In it she demonstrates how to wind your hank into a ball using a swift and ball winder, and by hand. If winding by hand, check out the second video below:
Video: How to Wind a Hank of Yarn into a Ball by Hand
If you don’t have a ball winder, you can still wind your yarn into a center-pull ball by hand. There are several ways to do this and it’s good to know at least one method.
In this video, Johnny Vasquez from New Stitch a Day, demonstrate three ways to wind a center-ball by hand.