Ball Winders Make It All Better

Ball winders for yarn are absolute necessities

I can’t stand it when my yarn looks like this:

messy yarn

Normally I push through minor inconveniences. I pride myself on being the kind of crafter, the kind of person in general, who can “make it work”. I can knit with pencils when I have to. I’m happy to use paperclips when I’ve lost all my stitch markers. I once did a week of blogging on a old¬†computer while sitting on the floor. Push on through! That’s me.

Except when the yarn is messy. Then I don’t push on through. Then I go get my ball winder.

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So I’ve been doing a little here and a little there on my Hue Shift Afghan. No really. I have. I’ve added a few squares since you last saw it. Its been traveling with me and becasue of that some of the yarn balls have fallen apart. Actually, nearly all of them have fallen apart.

Brava yarn in sport weight – all the colors in my Hue Shift Afghan

How sad. Who can knit with yarn in that state? Not me. Fortunately I have a ball winder!

Brava sport weight yarn for the Hue Shift Afghan

There. All better.

Now, don’t be fussing at me for wasting precious knitting time on making pretty little cakes of yarn. Firstly, I really have made some progress on that Hue Shift Afghan.

my in-progress Hue Shift Afghan

Secondly, making pretty little cakes of yarn is fun. I like to do that. I offer to wind up other people’s yarn. They think I’m doing them a favor but for me its fun. Winding up cakes is the epitome of playing with yarn.

I’m working on the knit version of the Hue Shift Afghan. Knit Picks, who sells the pattern and the kits to make the blanket, recently¬†published a version of the pattern in crochet. The crochet pattern is free, at least for now, and you should go grab a copy of it.

But getting back to the point….

Once I had the ball winder out, I hunted around for some more winding to do. Oh look, I’m almost done with my ball on the Pie Are Square Shawl. Better get another skein out and wind it up. Actually, I think I’ll make that two skeins.

my in-progress Pie Are Square Shawl in handspun yarn

I know it looks pretty much the same as the last time I showed it off here but I’ve put in a whole skein of yarn since then. Still, the shawl is no where near done. I’ll need both those cakes (maybe more). So that winding wasn’t a waste of my time either.

You would think all that would have satisfied my need to wind some yarn. You’d be wrong. I got two balls of Chroma in last week. I may not be ready to work them into something but I can turn those balls into cakes can’t I?

Left – Chroma worsted weight in color Dear Diary; Right – Chroma fingering weight in Manzanita

Yes, yes I can. And that was not a waste of my time becasue… I’ll get back to you on that.



You don’t need a ball winder to make a cake. You can make them by hand and sometimes I do that too. In fact I have a whole video tutorial on how to wind yarn into a cake by hand.

I really do like making yarn cakes.



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23 Comments on "Ball Winders Make It All Better"

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Can’t tell you how much time I can waste … uh spend … hand winding the most lovely cakes using my nostepinne. Every fiber lover should spend just a little of their fiber find on a beautiful stained and polished stick on which to wind yarn. That’s why I have 2 and no longer use my ugly plastic yarn winder. I love nice toys and spending quiet time fondling fiber. Nice to know I’m in good company!


I love my yarn winders! I have two different ones – one that will handle 100gm of fingering and smaller amounts of heftier weights while the second will handle up to 150gm of worsted yarn with ease. When I get “start-itus” I will pull out some skeins of pretty yarn and spend an evening winding the wonderful squishy yarn. It then gets pared with a project bag while I contemplate what it wants to become.


I also enjoy using my nostepinne. Thank you for the tip on the free pattern!


I don’t yet own my own ball winder, but I could! I feel such joy creating form, function, and structure to the unruly mounds of disoriented yarn going everywhere. Awwww, zen of yarn cakes. Pet the cake, love the cake, etc., etc..

I don’t yet have a ball winder but I use 2 home made nostepinnes. One is a cut off rake handle the other a cut off half inch dowel. I sanded both really smooth and applied a light finish of polyurethane. Beautiful and work like a charm. Yarn can talk to you about what it wants to be while becoming a beautiful cake. Thanks for the heads up on the crochet Hue Shift. I could surely crochet it faster than knit … although I am becoming quite addicted to knitting the more comfortable I get and the more I learn.