Yarn Winder Guide

Do you want to know how to use a yarn winder, whether you are making a ball or a cake of yarn which will have two ends (which we usually call a center pull ball), then you are at the right place?

Yarn Winder Guide

This guide will give you all the information you need on how you can properly use a yarn winder to get the best results when winding yarn

If you ever knit, or crochet, or just spin yarn yourself, or just partake in any crafts which use fibers, then there is a good chance that you have heard of a yarn winder and are interested in learning how to use one.

You will find that the yarn which you are working with will end up getting tangled and you are going to need to end up using both ends of the yarn at the same time.

There is also the chance that you might only want to work with a smaller portion of your yarn for some reason, like you are travelling and want a lighter load.

In these cases, your yarn winder will make it so you are able to take just one hank, one cake, one ball, or one skein of yarn and keep it nice and tidy with 2 ends which are easily accessible in a center pull ball. 

There are plenty of different types of yarn winder and that is part of the reason why we have gathered some of our favorites into this guide so you can work out which type of yarn winder will be the best for you.

You can even use a yarn winder which has a yarn swift to turn a hank or skein of yarn into a ball even more effectively. 

So, if you are looking to learn how to make a yarn ball using a yarn winder, or you want to know what type of yarn winder will be the best choice for you, keep reading to get all the information that you need!

What Is A Yarn Winder?

So, you might know bits and pieces about yarn winders, but what actually are they? To put it simply, a yarn winder is a piece of equipment that you can use to make a cake of yarn. This cake of yarn can be used from the other side. 

You will find that certain knitting, or sometimes crocheting projects will need you to use strands of yarn.

So, instead of buying two different sets of yarn for this project, you have the choice of using your winder to make just one ball which from that you can use two strands. 

By using a yarn winder you will also be able to wind up your yarn in an efficient way which makes it so they do not tangle together, and this is something which is a common problem if you are using a hank or skein you use straight from the store.

What Is The Best Yarn Winder?

As well as instructing on how to use, and what is a yarn winder, we are also going to give you some information on what kind of yarn winder is the best.

There is not the most simple answer to which type of yarn winder is the best, since this of course depends on circumstance.

However, based on a few different categories and criteria, we should be able to surmise which type of yarn winder will be the optimal choice for you. 

We are going to go into each of our picks with a little more detail after this. But, for an overview, for the best overall yarn winder, you will want the Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder, but if you are looking for something a little more budget friendly, then the 3.5 oz Winder from Amazon is also a great choice.

If you need a yarn winder that will work for larger amounts of yarn, then we recommend the Large Stanwood Yarn Winder, but if you want a yarn winder that will look best amongst your collection, then we recommend the Wooden Ball Winder.

Finally, we have included the Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder as a bonus choice since for some people this is a great unique option to go with.

So, let’s look through all of these options in greater detail so you can see which one will work the best for you!

Overall Pick – Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder

We think this is one of the best options since it has a great price, while also being durable, and available in a wide variety of colors as well. 

This offering from Knit Picks lets you wind up to 3.5 ounces of yarn, which is not massive, but is the standard offering for yarn winders.

We love the purple and white color scheme of this winder which makes it a really beautiful pick compared to some other yarn winders that are available!

In spite of its great appearance, we also think that this yarn winder is also very durable compared to a lot of other yarn winders that are in a similar price range. 

So often with yarn winders you can find that they feel too flimsy, and the metal ones can often have bad balance making products hard to use, but neither of these issues arise with this yarn winder. So, if you want a great investment which you can trust to work well, this is the one we recommend!

Budget Option – 3.5 oz Winder

Now, if you are looking for something that is a little more affordable and maybe something you want if you are not planning to use it too often, then this cheap option is still usable.

For what you are paying, you actually get a few extra accessories as well, like plastic needles, as well as thread trim, and stitch markers too. 

This is also designed with the normal 3.5 ounce since so you are not going to miss out when it comes to either the size or the function of this yarn winder. 

One aspect of this yarn winder which a lot of customers do not like is the retro color scheme, as well as the slightly clunky feeder that can have the aforementioned balance issues.

However, if you can work past these, then this is a great product worth investing in!

Large Yarn Quantity Option – Large Stanwood Yarn Winder

If you know that you are going to need to be winding larger balls of yarn at a time, then going for a yarn winder which can take a larger quantity of yarn is a good choice.

This choice is of course a little more expensive than the other options which have a lower capacity, however, this is also why it can work great at wrapping large amounts of yarn

We love this pick because you can fit up to 10 ounces of yarn onto it being almost triple the quantity of our other 2 picks. So, if you know that you will need more yarn to work with, then this option is the one to go for!

Aesthetic Option – Wooden Ball Winder

If you want something with a charming and aesthetically pleasing appearance, then we recommend this adorable wooden yarn winder. 

This stands out since most yarn winders are made using plastic, so this one having a wooden appearance really makes it look a lot more classy.

This yarn winder works very similarly to other yarn winders, however, there is a bonus feature that makes it so you do not need to attach it to your table, and you can just use it as it is with no set up required. 

There is a drawback to this design decision being that this yarn winder takes up quite a bit of extra room on the table. However, even if it does take up extra room, at least it has a great look!

Bonus Choice – Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder

Now, we chose to highlight this bonus choice since it is a little in between with the categories it fits into.

This is a larger yarn winder, but not as large as our other large choice, however, it is significantly cheaper, so you do not have to worry about it breaking the bank. 

This one will wind up to 8 ounces of yarn, which is still more than double a standard yarn winder, and it does this at a cheaper price compared to the 10 ounce option.

So, if you want an alternative bigger yarn winder, then this choice is great!

How To Use A Ball Winder To Make A Center Pull Ball?

For most yarn winders you are going to need to start by attaching the yarn winder onto the edge of your table. 

For some, like the wooden yarn winder in the previous section, this is not the case, but for most other yarn winders this is a necessity.

There is usually going to be a piece of your yarn winder that sticks out of the bottom, and this is the piece which you are going to need to stick under your table, and then you just use the wheel on top of the yarn winder to tighten it into place. 

For some yarn winders the tightening process might work a little differently, but for most yarn winders this is not too tricky.

Once you are happy that you have secured your yarn winder in place, you want to lift your metal feeder and then lock this into place. 

To do this you usually just lift it up, and then pull it out, and this will lock it. If you are more coordinated, you will be able to just feed your yarn through your feeder, however, this is not always possible.

Luckily the feeders for most yarn winders do not require for you to be too coordinated to get them working. You can place the yarn under your feeder and then lift your yarn up and to your left. 

This should then pull the yarn between the two loops. Then you want to bring one end over towards the right, and then down, after this all you need to do is pull the yarn back and to the left, and then you will have yarn which can easily go through your feeder. 

Then you need to start attaching your yarn onto the winder. There will be a slit which is easy to see at the top of your winder. To use this you want to place the yarn over this slit, and then pull down lightly to tuck this in. Once you have locked this in place you want to start turning the crank.

 You want to hold the yarn using one hand up against the middle of your winder, so this way when the winder is turning it will easily secure the end in place.

Then all you need to do is keep turning the crank until you have simply used up all the yarn which you want to.

You will also want to ensure that you are keeping tension on the yarn while you are turning it to ensure that the yarn ball stays tight. 

Even if your feeder starts to fall down, you will want to ensure that it is secured and that it is locked correctly into place. The only other option for this is to hold it just using one hand.

Once the winding is done you can easily lift your yarn off your winder. 

Then if you want to get a center pull ball, you want to then grab the yarn that is across the middle post before you lift it off. Once this is done you will have your finished cake of yarn!


Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need on how to effectively use a yarn winder. It might be a little tricky the first couple of times, but once you know what you are doing it is not too challenging!

Adrianna Dune

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