How to Wind Yarn With A Ball Winder & Swift

Winding yarn is so fun and satisfying.  I used to rely on my yarn shop to do it for me, and finally got some tools to do it myself when I ordered some yarn online and didn’t have that luxury.

The umbrella swift and ball winder makes makes beautiful yarn “cakes” or you can always wind it by hand using the just the swift too.  Here I’m winding some lovely sock yarn below, let’s begin…

A ball winder and a swift are amazing
tools to have of your knitting and crochet arsenal…they are able
to transform this skein…

to this perfect little yarn cake,
making it easy to pull yarn from its center.

Got both of these at Knit Picks by the way…

Lets get started…

First you’ll need to set up your
equipment. You’ll need a table with a sturdy edge for both clamps.
If you desire, place a piece of fabric in between to protect your
surface (my table doesn’t mind). My particular model ball winder turns to the right, so I
placed the ball winder on the right and the swift on the left about a
foot or so apart. Be sure to get these nice and tight onto your
surface, no wiggling allowed!

Gently unwrap your skein all the way so
it makes a large ring,

Using the knob on the side to raise and
lower the umbrella and the wooden screw to tighten, place the on the
swift. I like to put it on the partially open umbrella, then open
it up all the way so that the yarn rests comfortably, not too tight,
but not so loose that it is saggy. Be sure there are no twists in
the yarn either.

Some people like to snip the yarn
before placing it on the swift, I like to snip it after it is already
on the swift.

When snipping, it is important to know
that all yarn comes bundled/tied differently, so be careful with this
step and just snip the ties holding it together, not the yarn itself. Sometimes, you can even just untie it not even have to snip it.  The yarn shown here is a different color from the ties…

Now, if you don’t have a ball winder,
you can skip the next part and wind it into a ball with you hand, or
if you have a ball winder, keep reading!

Ball winders are really handy because
they save time and make a neat little “cake” of yarn with a handy
pull string in the middle, thus eliminating a ball rolling around.

If you model has a swing out arm, be
sure to do so and take one end of the yarn and feed it through the metal
ring on the arm, then place it across the two notches on top of the
center cylinder.

This ball winder indicates the
direction (to the right) and as I said earlier, I therefore placed it
on the right.

Begin gently turning the knob on the
ball winder, going at a pace that it neither too fast nor too
slow…you will be able to determine your pace as you begin to wind.
Both the swift and winder will both be turning as you turn the knob.

Important tip: Sometimes you will have
to gently guide the yarn from the swift to the ball winder so it does
not get caught on the swift’s “spokes.”

Keep going until all of
the yarn from the swift is on the ball winder.  Almost done…

When you are finished, carefully pull the center piece from when you began before lifting it off, otherwise it may get lost in the center (I speak from experience here!) Use both hands and gently slip the yarn cake from the ball winder.

All finished!

The nice thing about using an umbrella swift and ball winder to
wind your yarn is that you can either pull from the center or the
outside. Also, if you need to double up and hold two strands of yarn
together for a knitting or crochet project, you have both ends in one
place. Some local yarn shops will wind your yarn when you purchase
from their store, but I love to do it myself.

Free Knitting Patterns Here!

Free Crochet Patterns Here!

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