Need advice on getting yarn wound

Hi all:

I have a question re. getting skeins of yarn wound into a “cake”. I do not own a swift or ball winder and I am thinking of purchasing some yarn online that comes in a hank. How would I get the yarn wound into a ball or cake so that I could use it? Do LYS do this for a fee?

I’d appreciate your advice. Thanks!


I’d suggest asking the company you buy the yarn from if they’d wind the hank for you.
I know of one LYS that has a swift and ball winder open for public use, but, most of the other LYS’s I’ve been to prefer that you buy your yarn from them in order to use the tools. You could probably work out a deal though. Maybe, buy yarn from them in order to be able to use their winder or something.

That’s a good idea to ask the company I’m thinking of purchasing it from to wind it for me. It’s just that none of my LYS’s carry the particular yarn I need. I would much prefer to get it from them, but if they don’t carry it…

If the online company doesn’t do it, I guess I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way and get a friend to hold the hank between their hands while I wind them into balls!

There is a video on here showing how to wind into a ball. Well, I ordered a ton of hanks and after #1 turned into a tangled mess that I had to throw away, #2 DH tried to help with and half ended up tangled in the wastebin, #3 was a success but took 25 minutes, and #4 took close to an hour (baby trying to get into the yarn), I took a deep breath, examined my constitution and number of hanks remaining (16) and decided to go buy a ball winder at LYS. Takes less than a minute :thumbsup:

dagny, I’d have to agree with you. The ball winder is the way to go. After doing multiple big projects for Xmas last year (afghans) I bought one in Jan as a belated Xmas present to myself. I haven’t regretted it once! And everyone who has seen it since went out and bought one. It’s worth every penny!!

[COLOR=DarkOrchid][SIZE=3][FONT=Comic Sans MS]IMHO, a swift is more important than a ball winder if you’re working with skeins of yarn. You can wind a ball by hand, but you have to have someone or something hold the yarn for you to be able to wind it.

Things can be substituted for a swift, like a lamp shade, two chair backs, someone’s hands, or anything else that you can stretch the skein around so that it can be wound into a ball.

Bottom line, in order to keep the yarn from tangling, it must be held out while being wound into a ball.

[COLOR=DarkOrchid][SIZE=3][FONT=Comic Sans MS]IMHO, a swift is more important than a ball winder if you’re working with skeins of yarn. You can wind a ball by hand, but you have to have someone or something hold the yarn for you to be able to wind it.[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]

I totally agree with YarnLady on this one. Hand winding a ball can be very relaxing, if you have a swift to keep everything from getting tangled up. Using a ball winder is fast and fun, but without a swift there really isn’t any advantage.

I was in a pinch the other night and I used my feet…winding the ball took almost 45 minutes doing it this way…QUITE annoying. My DBF didn’t like the souns of holding the hank between his hands, but he’ll get accustomed to the idea.

Thank you all for your suggestions. I may hold off for a while on getting this particular yarn if I can’t find it at a LYS - I don’t have the extra $$ to spend on a swift and a winder right now.

Thanks for all your advice. I really appreciate it! :muah:

I use the back of a chair ( i really want a swift) and this website for knowing how to wind it. My cakes really did turn out well this way.

Hope this helps

That actually looks doable and not too bad - I may end up giving it a try!

You don’t have to have a swift and ball winder. I drape mine next to me over the arm of the sofa and wind by hand. Doesn’t really take that long and doesn’t tangle up.

I tried using things around the house as a yarn swift and got pretty frustrated. I found this posting, went to wal-mart, spent $20 on 2 small cans of tinkertoys, and made a yarn swift in just a few minutes.

the wonderful thing is that my swift can be taken apart and fits in a small can when I want to store it. A plus for me because I live in a small 1 bedroom apt.:happydance:

Just a thought…

Very ingenuous! :cheering:

I have a swift and winder. I use the winder all the time, but rarely use the swift. I often find myself winding yarn on public transit, so I just put the hank over my shoulder like a purse and wind into a center-pull ball. I do agree that using a winder from a hank w/o a swift is a challenge. I usually only use the winder w/o the swift when the yarn is in some sort of ball form, either a center-pull that was started, then frogged (so I’m re-winding) or a ball of yarn given to me that someone else wound into a regular ball.

This is how I wind my balls too. I sit on the couch, put my feet on the edge of the ottoman, and put the hank on my knees. I usually like it because it is more time for be to admire and play with my yarn.

ADAllen, thats what I do too. Everyone around here likes watching me knit, but no one wants to help me wind the yarn.


Little Red Hen, baking the bread, thats what I feel like. :roflhard:

I was able to purchase the four hanks of yarn at a shop yesterday, so the lady wound them for me. I do have a shawl that I’m ripping out today, so I’m going to give this technique a try. I usually just wind the yarn back into a ball, but I’d like to have a center pull cake this time. I hope it works! I’ll let you know! Crossed Fingers

Thanks to everyone for their great suggestions - you guys rock! :woohoo:

It worked great, except I need practice in winding to make it look nice! But it will serve its purpose and that’s great! Thanks everyone!:muah:

Thank you to whoever posed the link about the homemade swift made from Tinkertoys. I showed my 9yo son the picture and asked him if he could make me one with his Knex pieces. He did, and it works great! I’ll try to get a picture posted.