How To Use a Yarn Winder Like a Pro? Super Easy

Not many people are familiar with a yarn winder unless you are a knitter or you work with a large amount of knitting yarn regularly. It is not a tool that is obligatory for knitting, but can help you immensely.

With a yarn winder attached to your work table or storage unit, you can work with a large amount of yarn in bulk without being engulfed by the chaos. 

A yarn winder is a simple tool really. It is usually manual and easy to understand, easy to use and easy to install.

There is only one function of any yarn winder: to wind your yarn down to a manageable ball, so that knitting becomes easy for you. With a smaller yarn ball that you can manage easily, your work table wouldn’t be a mess and you wouldn’t have to deal with tangled yarn. 

If this is your first time using a yarn winder or if you are considering getting your first yarn winder, here are some tips to help you use one. 

How To Use a Yarn Winder Easily

1. Buy the Right One 

First of all, you need to buy the right yarn winder for your knitting projects. There are a number of yarn winders available in the market, so finding the right one for you shouldn’t be too hard. The right yarn winder should: 

  • Be portable, because you don’t want to end up with an apparatus that’s too big for your table, and always stuck to the table. On the other hand, you’ll be more satisfied with a yarn winder that you can easily take off the table, and put inside a drawer or a cabinet. No one needs a yarn winder all the time, so if you have a portable one, you can simply take it off and store it someplace else.  
  • Be easy to install, because you don’t want to spend hours installing the yarn winder every time you need to use it. All yarn winders come assembled and finished, and all you need to do is to attach it to your work table or storage unit; the yarn winder should also be easy to attach every time you need to use it. 
  • Come with an adjustable clamp, because that way, you can attach it to any table top, storage unit or chair handle, or anywhere you are working. With most yarn winders, you get adjustable clamps that can be attached to furniture up to 1.5” thickness. 
  • Have a good holding capacity, because sometimes, you might work with thicker and longer strands of yarn. You can get yarn holders with a holding capacity of 3.5-ounce, 4-ounce, or 10-ounce. 
  • Have a good pulling technique, i.e. it should be able to pull the thread from the center of the yarn ball instead of from the outside. 

The yarn winder that’s perfect for you should have these features to be useful and to make your life easier. 

2. Attach it to your Table 

When you have your yarn winder, the next step would be, naturally, to attach to your work table, storage unit, chair handle, or any piece of furniture that you want to. As most yarn winders come assembled, they are easy to attach to any surface with the adjustable clamps.

Often there is a lever that you can tighten with your hands to stay attached to the furniture. It helps if you don’t need any help from any other tools to do this, because you might have to attach and remove the yarn winder more than a few times in its lifetime.

3. Get the Yarn 

You might want to use different types of yarns for different projects, but they have to fit the yarn winder you have. If you have a yarn winder with a 4-ounce capacity, you can only use it to wind a relatively smaller ball of yarn.

If you have a yarn winder with 10-ounce capacity, you can use yarn of any weight, quality and thickness in your yarn winder. 

4. Find the End of the Yarn

You have to find the inner end of your yarn. This can be difficult in some yarn skeins but easy in others, as no two yarn skeins are bound in the same way. However, it is important that you find the inner end of the yarn skein to attach to the yarn winder. 

5. Attach the Yarn End to the Winder 

This step will differ from model to model, but you need to attach the end of the yarn skein to the place in the yarn winder mentioned in the manual.

Usually, a little hoop is made at the end of the yarn that is attached to a hook in the winder, through various pathways and hoops. You can find all the details of the yarn winder you have in the manual that comes with the yarn winder. 

6. Begin Winding

Now is the time to begin winding the yarn winder. Usually, most yarn winders are manual and there is a handle or a lever that you have to turn with your hands; there are also yarn winders that come with a foot paddle that can help immensely.

Only a few yarn winders are automatic and run on electricity or battery, but they are expensive and come with various speed options. 

It is always better to start winding your yarn skein slowly, as different fibers react differently to pressure. With the thinner and finer yarns, you need to go carefully and slowly, while the thicker ones can withstand some level of pressure and speed. 

7. Continue until the yarn ends 

Continue doing this until the yarn skein in your hand ends; go slow if you are new to this or if the yarn you are using is thin. Always go the same direction for each skein of yarn to avoid confusion. For a manual yarn winder, you have to use one hand to turn the lever and the other hand to supply yarn to the winder. 

If your yarn is a longer and heavier one but you have a yarn winder with only a 3.5-ounce or 4-ounce holding capacity, you might have to divide your yarn skein in two separate yarn balls.

You can do this by simply using a pair of scissors to cut the yarn when it surpases yarn winder capacity, take off the yarn ball and repeat the process by starting another yarn ball. 

8. Decide on the Direction of the Pull

You can decide on either a center-pull or an outside-pull for your yarn ball. Most people choose a center-pull system as it keeps the yarn ball tidy and assembled better.

If you want a center pull yarn, all you have to do is to hold the end of the yarn that is coming from the middle with one of your hands, and gently ease it off the ball. 

For an outer-pull yarn ball, on the other hand, you have to put the thumb of your hand on the top of the yarm that is coming from the middle of the yarn, and gently ease it off the yarn ball. 

9. Remove the Yarn Ball from the Yarn Winder 

When you are done with winding the yarn, gently remove it from the yarn winder, and start on the next one. 

10. Put the Winder Away 

When you are done with all the yarn balls you have at hand, you can simply choose to remove the yarn winder from your table, and store it away for the next time. 

A yarn winder is an extremely simple and easy to use tool that can be very helpful when you are working with a bulk of yarn. This is not something you might definitely need for knitting, but a tool that is very much going to make your life easier, and save you a lot of time and effort. 

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