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How to Wind a Ball of Yarn

It's a question that has occurred to most yarn crafters at one time or another: "How do I turn this cone/skein/hank of yarn into something can work with?" Winding your yarn into a ball can be tricky at first, but with a little practice the process gets much easier.

With cones and skeins, you don’t necessarily have to make a ball before using your yarn. Cones like LB 1878 can easily unwrap along the outside, and if you prefer to pull it from the center, simply pop the cone out of the middle and pull the inside end up out of the top. Skeins like Vanna’s Choice and Homespun have one end wrapped around the outside, and the other tucked into the middle (click here to see our FAQ Article on pulling yarn from a skein). The outside end will unroll the skein as you work and the inside end will pull from the center in the process. Finding and pulling out the inside end can be tricky, and a little extra yarn tends to come out in the process. Whether you choose to pull from the outside or the center, both methods are perfectly fine and require no ball winding at all!

If you are working with yarn in a hank like LB Collection Organic Wool, winding the yarn into a ball is the best way to prevent tangling as you work. After unfolding the hank, loop it around a swift (or chair back, or the hands of a willing friend) to keep it stable as you follow the steps below to wind it into a ball.

Starting the Ball

Hold the end of your yarn around your index finger. Gently wrap the yarn around your index and middle finger. You can loop the yarn around both fingers in a tiny O shape, or wrap it in a figure eight between your fingers.

Taking the Ball Off Your Fingers

Once you’ve got several yards of yarn wrapped in a thick loop, gently wiggle it off your fingers. Hold the wrapped yarn in one hand, and wind the next few yards of yarn around the middle or ‘waist’ of the loop.

Winding the Yarn

When the center wrapping gets thick and bulky, begin rotating the ball slightly as you continue to wind yarn onto it. The fist time you do this, it should look like the yarn is forming a letter 'X' on top of the new ball.

Making the Ball

Now the ball will begin to get larger and more spherical. If your ball starts to make an elliptical or almond shape, don't worry, just rotate the center a quarter of a turn and continue wrapping.

Winding a ball isn't an exact science, and while it can be tricky at first, practice makes the process much easier.

Do you prefer to ball your yarn before working with it? Do you have any tips on winding a ball of yarn? Leave a comment to share.

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