Yarn, Hanks, and Ball Winders

Is there a particular type of yarn that comes in hanks or is it determined by the preference of the manufacturer/distributor?

I’m considering getting a ball winder for the many hand-rolled balls of yarn that I have from the several afghans that I frogged when I gave up crocheting. I’m very attracted by the idea of using a ball winder on those, but once those are finished, I’m not sure how much use I would get out of a dedicated ball winder.

(I wound a couple of center pull balls on my own and I ended up feeling I could have spent my time better knitting rather than doing that – it was very slow going.)

I think that at least for the next little while, I will be mainly using machine washable yarns, like superwash wools and cotton or acrylic blends. I have two small children and another on the way, and I would prefer to avoid hand washing things that aren’t children for the next several years. :wink:

Is it likely that I will run into yarn that is in hanks if I don’t use wool that has to be washed carefully? If I get a ball winder, will it just mostly sit on the shelf?


I think it’s worth the investment. I have some cottons that are in hanks, and some super-wash wool, as well. It also comes in handy for winding directly from something that you decide to unravel.

The kids like winding it, too.:lol:

It’s one of those things that will last forever, so I’d say it’s worth making the investment, now.

I’m one of those strange people who likes hand winding the yarn into a center pull ball. Gives me a chance to examine the yarn for knots as well as getting a good feel for the yarn.

I have a ball winder and over the last yearn I’ve used it almost weekly. My 3 yr old LOVES to make balls with it.

Its worth the investment IMHO

Hi, Katie! :waving:

When I started accumulating some wools that came in hanks I really saw the usefulness of having a ball winder. Although Mason has a good point, and there is something to be said for “getting acquainted” with your yarn by winding it into balls by hand, when I was faced with 8-10 hanks, I went running for the AC Moore coupon page on line! :slight_smile:

They have ball winders at AC Moore for $40.50 but I waited until I had a 40% off coupon in my hot little hand and then scampered over there and snapped one up.

It’s been very useful so far, both for winding hanks and re-winding pieces I’m frogging :frog: . Even though I mostly use it in “batches” (I like to wind hanks as soon as they come in the door so that I’m ready to rock 'n roll when the mood strikes) it has been useful.

But do look for coupons. Most Michaels and Joanne’s will honor AC Moore coupons. And I called ahead to AC Moore to make sure they had some in stock, which they did.

Good luck! And Happy Knitting:hug:


I think that most hand-dyed yarn comes in hanks because the colors show so much better. A ball winder is a great investment but if you can afford a swift, too, you will be glad to have one!

I got a Royal ball winder that I got for Christmas last year. I LOVE It. It’s currently on sale at JoAnn’s for $34.99. (see link)
I made a swift out of tinker toys.

Rewinding frogged projects – that’s a very good point that I hadn’t thought of! (Even though that is the current source of all my balled yarn. :blush:)

Thanks for the reminder! :thumbsup:

I spent some time last summer looking for a local store that carried Tinker Toys to make a swift – I love that idea! I see for Christmas they have a set aimed toward girls – the canister is pink, although I’m not sure what if the pieces inside are similarly colored. :slight_smile:

I have a ball winder and I was so excited when I got it that I took my whole stash and spun it into nice little cakes. They were all so pretty. The one thing I did do after my 2nd or 3rd skein, was to take a sheet of fabric softner and hold it in my guide hand. I was getting lots of little shocks of static and holding the fabric softner stopped all the zapps.

I enjoy winding the yarn by hand. I pulled the Lowes table leg trick to make my nostepinne; you can find them near the dowels. Although I am currently working on a motorized ball winder I am building out of a Lego robotics kit for the fun of it.
I bought my swift from Hornshaw Wood Works this swift is absolutely amazing, easily 14 millions time more wonderful than it appears in the pictures (slight exaggeration;)) it even comes with a 5th peg in case you loose one or if you spin your own yarn you can wind your own hanks. I just bought it recently and even thought I don’t have any hanks around just now I still pull it out every once in a while just to give it a spin. :smiley: New toys, right. :smiley: