Help please! i need some opinions on ball winders

i’m looking to by a ball winder but i’m not sure which brand to get and some reviews i’ve read haven’t been too helpful.

which brand of winder do you have and how do you like it?
does it easily accomidate different sizes of yarn?


Mine is 12 yo. Although she will be 13 next year. Oh, wait, you said winder, not swift. That one is almost 43! :roflhard: Seriously, though, I’ve been looking for a winder myself lately and would like to hear other’s opinions. I’ve heard the one that is $49.99 that is sold at the JoAnn website isn’t a bad winder. I notice they sell out when they have a coupon promotion going on. However, I have heard people say that it won’t wind a full hank. That’s a bit disappointing to me.

I’m not sure what kind of ball winder they have at Jo-Ann’s, but I have a Royal that I bought on ebay for under $30 and it is a thing divine. It holds lots or just a little. Sometimes I even wind my yarn double so I don’t have to knit with two skeins. Good luck to you!

That is an awesome idea! Thanks…

Now you say winding little balls works out for you…I have done little balls on my Royal Ball Winder and they seem…I don’t know…weak…am I doing something wrong…??

I also have a Royal; only had it about a year and it works fine. I’ve wound lace weight wool of about 850 yds and sock yarn of about 360 yds. I even wound 1260 yds of silk thread - I put a empty TP roll (made a slit in one end) on the cone and it helped to stabalize the fine thread and give more height/space for it to wind. I still would like to get a larger capacity winder, but my next priority is a swift. I’m now using 2 chairs as my DH got rid of my lampshade!

I have the blue and white Royal one. I got it from (B&W pic on joann site) with a 50% off coupon. I LOVE it. I can wind anything on it, from lace to super bulky, and it holds a LOT too, I’ve gotten 2 hanks of malabrigo worsted (approx 430 yards) wound together on it. It handles 100g (360 to 440 yards) hanks of sock yarn beautifully. I love my ball winder.

I have the royal one as well. got it as a hand-me-down from my mom who didn’t use it. i’ve never used anything else, but you couldn’t pry my ball winder from my cold dead hands! I use my knees as a swift, but the winder is precious to me. Even my new knitter friend that I wind balls for is entranced by how lovely the cakes turn out!:yay:

I just got the Royal one for Christmas. So far so good. I made a swift out of tinker toys! It really worked!!!:woot:

I have the red and cream one currently on the Joann’s site that all the reviewers seem to dislike… They say it doesn’t roll right, it doesn’t hold anything and the arm doesn’t play nicely, and a ton of other things - all of which I’ve found not to be true. I got mine for a grand total of $22 shipped and it’s been fabulous. I’ve wound an entire 8 oz skein of worsted weight acrylic onto it as a test. Held it beautifully. I have no issues with the gears not spinning correctly or anything. I absolutely love it. I’ve wound every weight I have and have never had even the slightest problem with it - my 7 year old NEPHEW has wound stuff (from fingering weight to bulky) on it and had no problems. So I dunno. Personally, I love it, but there are a few who don’t seem to like it, so use your best judgment.

I have the white and blue Royal one too… I have had it for about a year. I really like it. The only downside that I have found is that if a have a large skein I have to split it and make it into two balls. I had bought some yarn that was 500 yards and it did not all fit on the winder so I wound up with 2 instead of one. Other than that it is great.

Crycket - when you say weak, do you mean they are loosey goosey and super squishy? If so, you can pass the yarn through your fingers with a little tension to tighten up the cakes. I like to do that to detect knots in the skein.

I also have the white and blue royal one. Same thing here, I have to split big skeins into two. That’s not too bad. The best part is, it’s so easy to use my 2-year old loves to wind for me. He cranks it while I feed the yarn and make sure he doesn’t spin the wrong way. He thinks it’s fun! :aww:

i got my royal from yarn and fiber with free shipping. i absolutely love it. i love the look of the cakes, and it’s loads of fun to watch yarns like felted tweed unwind as they’re wound into cakes. i can’t help it. it’s the little things that make me feel like a kid again. :teehee: even my mom thinks it’s cool. i’m currently in the process of consolidating my stash by winding it all into cakes. i don’t know if i can bring myself to winding my [SIZE=“1”]acrylic[/SIZE], though. i’m thinking that might defile it. :wink:

oh yeah. you might want specifics of what i’ve wound, huh? mmmmalabrigo winds great, laceweight winds great ([U]without[/U] a swift), patons classic merino, i think that’s pretty much it so far. as soon as i finish winding a hank of lace that i messed up by attempting with a swift (now i basically have to wind it twice - don’t ask :neutral:), i’m going to wind a gorgeous hank of sock yarn so i can knit some monkeys. :happydance:

What is a swift used for?

Yeah…loosey goosey…but I am talking about really tiny balls, you know…like you only have 35g left of a bigger ball, you don’t want to wind it up like you see in cartoons, and you can’t leave it all tangly…

Any Suggestions? I was thinking that they should manufacture a smaller tube for such occasions…just so you can get a little more wind for the smaller ball…

Oh…yes…I love winding balls between my fingers…especially pure wool…your hands are so soft afterward!

A swift is an umbrella like thing that will hold skeins of yarn properly for you while you wind. If you don’t have this, your skein just collapes into a tangled mess and is really annoying to deal with…

I don’t have one…I just use my DH as a swift…it is a slower process as he only tolerates 2 or 3 skeins in a row…but is functional!

thanks everyone for the great answers. i think i just might have to go with the royal!

I have a large handmade wooden one from It does HUUUGE centre pull skeins. It cost a pile but I love it. I have a plastic one as well, and loathe it.

I have the “industrial looking” one from Angelica’s, and would not recommend it.