Ball Winder & Swift

Okay - I’ve never knit anything using yarn that is not in a skein or a ball. I’ve seen people buy yarn that needs to be wound. My question is - what supplies do I need to do this? A winder and a swift? And what brands do you suggest? How hard is it to wind balls yourself? Thanks in advance!

Sometimes I just wind it around my fingers!

My LYS is great!! They let you use their swift and ball winder whenever it’s not in use. This works out great for me, as I rarely buy yarn in hanks, so can’t justify the swift/winder purchase to DH yet!!!

You need a little kid with hands! lol Seriously, you can get a ball winder and swift, but lots of people use the back of a chair or someon else’s hands. Either way works pretty well! :thumbsup:

It’s nice if the yarn store does it for you but if they don’t, it’s not that hard to do yourself. I used the back of a chair,
Here’s a link to a blogger who has some good pictures of the process.
You just wind it in a figure 8 to get started.
Or goggle “how to…” and you’ll get lot’s of hits.

You can wind by hand, but if you have a lot to wind that can be a pain. I bought a ball winder/swift combo at WEBS ( and you can get the same thing at JoAnn’s website (often with coupons). You can also get some nice handmade ones on Etsy or some other sites I can’t think of right now.

They’re especially helpful if you’re winding very thin laceweight or something off of a large hank! If you don’t buy yarn in hanks very often though, it might not be worth the investment.

I had never seen a center pull ball until a couple of years ago when I started knitting like mad after many years away. My LYS did the winding and I then learned from Amy’s video how to make one of my own. But my husband had been with me when I bought yarn; he noticed the winder and swift. I have a rule that things I would never buy for myself go on my Christmas list. My racing friend got me the winder and my brother who doesn’t even know what yarn is conspired with my husband to get the swift from a LYS. Clearly, I don’t really need them as I can have the yarn wound when I buy it at the LYS, but it sure is nice to have at home.
So … put both items on your wish list and see if maybe you get some Christmas magic!

I do have to admit: my husband grew up winding yarn for his mother … maybe the winder was self-defense!

Here’s a tutorial using a paper towel tube, which I find a little easier than doing it on your thumb.