How to Use a Yarn Ball Winder

This morning The Animator walked into the kitchen to find what he called the Amish doomsday device.


It was The Animator's Christmas gift from Grampo, and it was not a doomsday device, it was a yarn ball winder.

In the past I've talked about how to use a yarn swift and how to wind a center pull ball by hand, but I have yet to talk about the nifty little machine known as a yarn ball winder. If you're the type of crocheter who likes to buy luxury yarns by the hank, this device is a must.

There are many varieties of yarn ball winders, some more heavy duty than others, and they range in price from $20 to well over $200. The one that Grampo bought for The Animator's Wife is the Strauch Jumbo Ball Winder, which accommodates large balls and bulky yarns. Regardless of the type you get, they all work essentially the same.

Yarn ball winders are best used with a yarn swift to keep the yarn flowing smoothly and evenly, so please start with this tutorial if you will be using a swift with your ball winder. Then make sure your ball winder is clamped firmly to the table before getting started.


1. Begin by threading the end of your yarn through the yarn guide toward the ball winder.



2. Then secure the end of the yarn in the notch of the ball cylinder.



3. The yarn ball will turn out the most even if it is started halfway down the cylinder. This is done by using a finger to press the yarn down to the halfway point.



4. Slowly begin turning the crank to start the ball winding.



5. Be careful to keep your fingers out of the way of the cylinder as it spins.



6. After the first few turns of the crank, you can remove your fingers from the cylinder and let the ball winder do its thing.



7. If you are having trouble with the ball winding to loosely or too tightly, you can help adjust the tension by grasping the yarn on the opposite side of the yarn guide.



8. When you are finished, you should have something that looks like this.



9. To remove the ball, first pull the starting end out of the notch. Then gently pull the ball up off the cylinder.



10. And there you have it! One perfectly formed center-pull ball, ready to crochet.