Winding yarn by hand can be time consuming for many, and frankly, a little annoying. A yarn winder can come in handy if you love to knit since it can save you a lot of time and make things easier.

There are plenty of yarn winders on the market ranging from models for those with a tight budget to rather expensive models. Before choosing a yarn winder, what’s most important is that you choose the right one that’s best for you and can last you a long time.

Top 12 Best Yarn Ball Winder 2018

PRODUCT NAMEQUALITY 
Nagina Nostepinne Yarn Ball WinderBest Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder Check Price
Yarn ValetBetter than by hand Check Price
Curtzy Hand Operated WinderBest Inline Ball Winder Check Price
Vktech Swift Yarn/Fiber/String Ball Wool WinderBest Compact Check Price
Knitpicks Yarn Ball WinderBest Designed Yarn Winder Check Price
Marywindix Bobbin WinderBest Affordable Yet Effective Product Check Price
Lacis Yarn Ball Winder IIBest for Winding Large Skeins Check Price
Stanwood Needlecraft Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder
(Editor’s Choice)
Best Yarn Ball Winder Check Price
Housweety Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball WinderBest for Small Projects Check Price
Windaze Yarn Ball WinderBest for Medium-Sized Projects Check Price
Stanwood Needlecraft Large Yarn Ball WinderBest for Heavy Use Check Price
Simplicity BoyeBest Electric Yarn Ball Winder Check Price

Best Yarn Winder Picks

I have a lot to go over with you today, so we’re gonna to talk about yarn ball winders.

Today I’m going to review 7 different types of tools that you can use to wind your yarn into cute little yarn cakes or as I like to call them “yarn muffins“.

Now before I get to talking about the different kinds of ball winders, let me first say that you only really need to use a ball winder if you’re using yarn in a hank format. In a hank the yarn is twisted like this and if you untwist it, it’s in a big circle, so it’s really difficult to knit from this format.

If your yarn is in a skein or ball like this then it’s not really necessary to use a ball winder. I mean you can if you want but you don’t really need to, anyway the nice thing about the yarn ball winders is that they create a center pull ball that will sit nicely in your project bag or on your table.

When you knit from the yarn coming out of the center of the muffin, it doesn’t roll around and fall onto the floor, it politely stays where you put it. Putting your yarn into a little muffin also helps it from getting tangled, so it’s easier to work with in that way as well.

So a lot of people prefer to knit from the yarn coming out of the center of the ball but can you knit from the yarn coming from the outside of the ball, well of course yes, absolutely. You can do whatever you want, whatever your preference is.

Nagina Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder – Best Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

The first ball winder that I’m gonna talk about is the low tech version and that is a special stick that is used to wind yarn into a center pull ball. And this stick is called a Nostepinne.

Nostepinnes can be very simple just a plain wooden stick or they can be a little fancier with some grooves and sometimes even more ornate decorations. I got this one from Etsy and it was around $20. It is handmade and I think it’s really beautiful, I will put a link below to the shop where I bought this one, it’s called Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder and you can choose what kind of wood you want: maple, cherry, walnut, and this one’s walnut and I really, really like it.

Now these day I don’t wind a whole lot of yarn balls using a Nostepinne but I used to do it a lot more years ago. But it’s really easy and inexpensive and it kind of celebrates the old way of doing things.

How to use a Nostepinne?

First you’re going to tie the end of the yarn to the Nostepinne, I usually use just a simple half hitch knot so it’s easily untied when you’re done.

If your Nostepinne has a groove you can tie it there or you can just tie it toward the top or bottom of the Nostepinne, keeping the middle of it clear.

Then take the yarn up to the middle of the stick and winding it around a bunch of times. It doesn’t really matter how many times you wind it around, this is just gonna form the base of the yarn ball you’re gonna make.

So, let’s just wind the yarn let’s say 15 times and make sure it’s relatively close together, the wraps don’t have to touch each other but you don’t want them to be too spread apart.

Once you have the yarn wrapped around the stick a number of times you’re gonna start the ball winding pattern and to do that you’re going to take the yarn from the top wrap down to the bottom wrap at a diagonal while you’re turning the Nostepinne with your other hand.

During this whole process of winding the ball you’re going to be slowly turning the Nostepinne.

So take the yarn down diagonally to the bottom of the wraps and keep turning the Nostepinne. Then bring the yarn back up diagonally to the top of the wraps, from now on you’re going to keep turning the Nostepinne and wrapping the yarn diagonally following that down and up pattern.

Very handy for winding center pull balls

Pretty soon you’ll start to see the yarn strands lining up diagonally and that’s the beginning of your little baby yarn muffin, at the beginning you’re probably gonna wanna take the yarn all the way up to the top and bottom of the muffin that’s forming so that the yarn touches the wood at the top and the bottom of the muffin.

This will make it easier to wind at the beginning but once you get going you’re gonna only want to wrap to the bottom and top of the yarn, not touching the wood.

If you keep wrapping so the yarn is touching the wood at the top and the bottom, you’re gonna end up with a football shaped muffin. Which maybe you want that but if you want a regular shaped muffin, once you get going you’re gonna wanna wrap so that the yarn rests on the yarn below it but doesn’t touch the wood.

That way you’ll create a little ledge and start building out the flat top and bottom of the yarn muffin.

Once you’ve wound all the yarn just undo the half hitch knot and take the yarn ball off the Nostepinne and it’s ready to use now.

Using a Nostepinne can be very relaxing and meditative, is it super fast, no but if you want to do something different, something slower, something more historical, something that keeps you more in touch with your yarn then using a Nostepinne might be something you would be interested in and you can make really nice center pole balls with it and that is how to use a Nostepinne to wind a yarn ball by hand.

Yarn Valet – Most Comfortable Yarn Ball Winder

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

This handy yarn ball winder is so compact and easy to use that you might not have to rely on other’s help when winding your yarn anymore. The ergonomic grip allows you to hold the device with one hand.

The tool is lightweight, so you can carry it with you wherever you need it. The device has a wind center to which you can spin the yarn which will turn into the compact and tight ball that you can carry and store.

The additional bonus to it is the compartment within the device that can hold your hooks, markers, pens, or other small knitting accessories.

To use the ball winder, place a yarn in the notch on the top part of the winder. It will hold the yarn in place while you spin it. Still holding your yarn end tightly, wind the yarn a couple of times around the main yarn to secure it. Twirl the winder towards you while you place the yarn down from bottom to top. Go from corner to corner with your yarn until you build up your layers. Once you are done, slip the yarn ball off.

While this product is easy to use anywhere, the lack of electrical powering means that you do the winding of the yarn manually.

tops, chairs, or counters while the hand-operated crank can be adjusted effortlessly.

This winder can make neat pull thread yarn balls and cakes with ease without using any sort of heavy equipment. You can make jumbo sized yarn balls smoothly since it provides even flow and prevents snags, bunches, or tangles so that you waste less yarn.

There are two swing arms integrated in the winder, and you can use either one but be careful not to use both at the same time. The second arm is used as a counter balance. There’s also a plastic shaft that comes with the winder for further convenience.

It makes low noise while it’s in use and can wind yarn balls or cakes up to seven ounces. Mind that this winder does come in pieces, and according to some users, it’s a bit tricky to put together considering there’s no instructions. Another user mentions that while it was their first time using a yarn winder, it was easy to figure out and use and is a nice alternative to more expensive wooden swifts.

Pros
  • Simple design to use
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Compartment for knitting accessories
Cons
  • Notch a little shallow
  • Manual use which requires some winding skill

Mechanical Yarn Ball Winders

Now I’m gonna turn to some mechanical yarn ball winders, and I’m going to be reviewing five different styles of hand cranked yarn ball winders. Each one of them has a handle and you turn the handle to wind the yarn ball but they all work in slightly different ways, so today I’m going to give you all the specifications and measurements of each to these yarn ball winders and we’re gonna actually see them in action and I’ll report on my experiences with each of them, things like how noisy they were or if they were hard to use both strengths and limitations.

READ  Best Knitting Needles – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

In order to keep this as scientific as possible I tested each yarn winder while winding one ball of yarn. And the yarn was all the same kind. It is this Feza yarn  in the fingering weight base called Harvest which is 100% super washed Merino wool.

There are 400 yards in each skein and I used a different skein to test each ball winder. There’s some different colors but they’re all the same thing, so at the end we can compare the different yarn muffins in terms of size and how tightly wound they are.

Curtzy Hand Operated Yarn Wool Fiber Winder – Best Inline Ball Winder

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

So first up is one inexpensive option and that is an inline ball winder. The way this type of ball winder works is that the spindle spins while the yarn guide moves back and forth, you can find this style of ball winder for anywhere between 15 to $45.

It is made mostly from plastic with a little bit of metal, the gears are all enclosed and inside the plastic case, the spindle is three inches long with a two inch diameter at the base. And it tapers down to a one and a half inch diameter at the end, the skirt is three inches wide and there is a notch in it where you insert the yarn when you start to wind.

Now the inline winder has a one and a half inch metal table clamp that is removable but an inch and a half so it goes in here, an inch and a half is one smaller measurements on the table clamps.

So this is gonna limit where you can attach the winder. Now this unit is pretty light weight, it weighs around one pound and it’s very compact. So it would be a good choice for traveling or if you have very limited space. It’s also budget friendly because you can find these on Amazon for like $15.

Now the inline ball winder can wind a skein of yarn up to four ounces and that is 100 grams and most yarn comes in 100 grams or less skeins. So you can wind a skein of sock yarn or worsted weight yarn with this.

To use the inline winder, you’re gonna insert the yarn through the yarn guide and then find the notch on the winder platform or skirt. And insert the end of the yarn into that. Then you just start turning the handle and the spindle will turn and the yarn guide moves back and forth winding the yarn onto the spindle.

Now I didn’t have any major problems with this ball winder, it was definitely squeaky and the noisiest of any ball ball winders I tested. It was also a little jerky at times but the whole unit seemed to be a little delicate.

It was clamped to the table very tightly so it was sturdy in that regard. It wasn’t moving around or anything but you could just tell it wasn’t super sturdy and it had a little trouble handling the yarn when it didn’t come smoothly off the swift, sometimes it would come to an abrupt halt.

I had to stop a lot and adjust the yarn on the swift but for the most part once it got going it did just fine. The yarn didn’t get tangled or anything like that and it did make a really nice yarn muffin.

So actually it’s better than I expected. Now this inline ball winder is one that I borrowed from a friend and she said she’s had it for about eight years and has never had a problem with it messing up the yarn during the winding process.

I think the good things about this type of winder are number one the price, it’s very economical and also the portability, it’s small and lightweight and would be good for traveling or if you had limited space.

If you’re just one person winding yarn once in a while then this might be a good option for you. I think for a yarn shop or someone who winds a lot of yarn you might wanna consider one of the ball winders because I’m not sure this one would be sturdy enough to withstand heavy use, plus it was a little squeaky and rumbly during the winding process.

And that might make some people annoyed, if you’re winding yarn all the time. So that is the inline ball winder.

Vktech Swift Yarn/Fiber/String Ball Wool Winder – Best Compact Inline Winder

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

The Vktech Swift yarn winder is a very affordable model which has a new and improved hand-operated design. You can easily wind loose yarn up to four ounces into a more manageable and organized ball by simply turning the crank. It’s easy to use, and its compact and lightweight structure can make it easy to store virtually anywhere without it taking up a lot of space.

A pro tip while using this yarn winder is to take your time while winding to keep the optimal amount of tension throughout the whole process. If you make a mistake, this yarn winder can also easily help you fix any problems so that you always have a neat ball of yarn after using it.

Along with the winder comes a plastic shaft for your convenience. It’s easy to install on any working desk or table and makes low noise while it’s in operation. One user noticed that while the winder is mostly plastic, it holds up well but yarn can get caught in the gears if you wind too fast.

Another user mentioned that the metal piece that guides the yarn tends to slip out of place, but otherwise, it only takes minutes to form loose yarn into small and tidy balls. Although if you don’t want to separate a large skein into multiple balls of yarn, you may want to look for a winder than can handle more ounces of yarn.

Pros
  • Generally affordable
  • Easy to operate
  • Won’t take up a lot of spac
Cons
  • Metal guide piece can slip out of place
  • Not meant for large projects
  • Winding too fast can make yarn get caught in the gears

Royal Ball Winder

The next ball winder I’m gonna talk about is one that I’ve had for at least eight years and that is the Royal ball winder. And actually the Royal brand is no longer available but you can get basically the same thing from companies like KnitPicks, Knitter’s Pride and Stanwood. There’s also a ton of different ones on Amazon, so it seems like most of the ball winders of this style run around $35 or so.

Now this type of ball winder is mostly made of plastic, it has a metal yarn guide arm and a metal clamp down here. The metal clamp is not removable but this is a really popular yarn winder style and the way this one works is that when you turn the handle the whole spindle unit rotates and wind the yarn around itself. The gears are all enclosed in the plastic casing, there are notches on the spindles for hooking the yarn before you start to wind it, the spindle is three inches long and it’s pretty straight, it doesn’t taper much.

The skirt is five inches in diameter and this unit can wind up to a four ounce or 100 gram skein of yarn, the same as the inline model that I just talked about. So it can handle most regular size skeins. It is lightweight, in fact it was the lightest of all the ball winders I tested, this one weighs only nine ounces and it’s pretty compact too.

To use this ball winder you just insert the yarn through the metal yarn guide, hook the yarn into the notches on the top of the spindle and then start turning the hand crank, the spindle unit starts to spin and winds your yarn into a cute little muffin.

This ball winder is pretty smooth in winding yarn there is a little bit of noise just from the plastic kind of rumbling but I haven’t heard any squeaking or anything annoying in terms of being noisy.

In over eight years of using this ball winder I have not had any problems with it. It’s never tangled the yarn, and the yarn hasn’t gotten underneath the skirt or anything like that. The clamp is metal and can handle a table thickness of up to one and a half inches and again that’s a little bit limiting as to where you can attach the ball winder but that will probably be fine for most people.

I think this is another good option for someone who doesn’t wanna spend a lot of money on a ball winder, you can get the KnitPicks one for $20.

Now I’ve seen and heard quite a few negative reviews on that one saying that it breaks but if yours does break just call KnitPicks and they will send you another one. The customer service is really good in that regard.

But if you wanna spend a little more money I think the small Stanwood or the Knitter’s Pride are both reliable and sturdy and have good reviews online. And again I think this is a good option if you’re an individual person winding yarn once in a while, if you’re in a yarn shop or someone who winds yarn a lot you might wanna go with something a little more heavy duty.

Knitpicks Yarn Ball Winder – Best Designed

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

This yarn winder claims to be one of the most essential tools for both knitters and crocheters alike. It can effortlessly turn hanks or skeins of yarn into more organized and compact center-pull balls and is perfect for lightweight yarn.

For an easier time on your hands and wrists, the winder pivots so that it’s more comfortable to use. A clamp secures it to any table or work desk as you wind skeins up to 100 grams or 3.5 ounces. For smooth operation, the guide arm needs to be positioned opposite the winding handle.

There’s little to no assembly needed when you pull the winder straight out of the box. All you need to do is fold up the metal yarn guide away from the ball winder before using it. Some users may be a bit skeptic when it comes to the winder’s mostly plastic parts, but it can stand up to dozens of “winds.”

There are directional arrows on the crank to help show you which direction to go and the three-step setup makes the winder ideal for beginners. Its small design means you can store it away in your closet or craft drawer so you don’t have to makeroom for it.

Marywindix Bobbin Winder – Best Affordable Yet Effective Product

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

A lot of us like to knit for leisure, and sometimes, we take our creations with us everywhere we go. The Marywindix winder is designed to be small and light, making it portable and ideal for family-use. Loose yarn can be transformed into neat and well-kept balls for an easier time while knitting.

There’s little to no assembly required to set up the Marywindix winder and it can easily attach itself to any tabletop or desk without leaving scratches or dents. The integral clamp can work on tables up to 1.5 inches thick, but be wary of the unsteady metal arm that guides the yarn for it can become unlocked randomly.

Paired with an elegant design and effective functionality, its heavy-duty frame can withstand accidental bumps or drops without breaking into pieces. Along with being convenient and lightweight, this winder makes very little noise so you won’t disturb anyone as you work on your next project. It’s also small enough so you can stow it away just about anywhere without it taking up too much space.

The Marywindix is fairly easy to use and set up thanks to the detailed usage instruction paper that comes with it. After following the five steps involved for operating the winder, the yarn should be ready to use.

One user mentions that this winder is a good choice if you have a really tight budget but are still looking for something effective. Another user notes that there are some parts that may come loose or are unsteady, but the winder is otherwise sturdy enough to get the job done.

Pros
  • Can be used for right or left-handed people
  • Makes little to no noise
  • User friendly
Cons
  • Metal arm that guides yarn tends to unlock
  • Center bobbin can spin loose
  • Doesn’t hold heavy skeins of yarn

Lacis Yarn Ball Winder II – Best for Winding Large Skeins

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

Mostly made from plastic, the Lacis Yarn Ball Winder can handle bulky to lace-weight yarns easily. It’s lightweight and you can take it with you anywhere, not to mention that it won’t take up a lot of space which makes it ideal for storage.

Being that it’s user-friendly, you can effortlessly wind tidy center-pull yarn balls which sit flat on this hand-operated winder. It’s able to wind yarn balls up to four ounces (although some users have said you can get up to five depending on how tight the tension is) without the use of tubes or cones. The instructions that come with the winder are easy to understand for a simple setup and operation.

The built-in 1.5″ clamp fits securely onto the edge of a table or ledge and the covered gear box prevents jamming for less tangled strings. Additionally, the wire yarn guide smoothly feeds the yarn to prevent the yarn from bunching up.

The yarn can slip under the spool if you turn the winder too fast, but users have mentioned that turning it slower and keeping more tension can prevent this problem.

Pros
  • Can wind large hand or skeins into manageable cakes
  • Winds 4-5 ounces of yarn without cones or tubes
  • Easy setup and instructions
Cons
  • Arm can slip
  • Not ideal for bulk amounts of yarn

Stanwood Needlecraft Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder – Best Runner Up Yarn Winder

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

The Stanwood Needlecraft winder can make center-pull yarn balls with a capacity of around four ounces. It’s a lighter and cheaper model compared to most of Stanwood’s winders at almost half the size of its sister, the large metal yarn winder. It’s said to be smoother and quieter making it much more convenient to use.

This yarn winder is designed for those who like to pull from the center of yarn balls. If you’re worried about the reliability and durability, it’s built with a metal crank that’s virtually unbreakable and it comes with an unconditional one-year warranty. The cogwheels of the winder are fully sealed in the design so that they don’t eat your yarn which can often be a waste of money.

The clamp makes winding more convenient for you can secure it to tables or any edge with a thickness of up to 1.75 inches. The improved design means you won’t come across too much noise and have a more enjoyable time as you wind up balls of yarn. If you’d like, it’s best paired with an Umbrella or Amish style swift yarn winder.

One user noted that while the main moving parts are plastic, they hold up pretty well, although the clamp might not be wide enough for some. Another user complained that the winder can be a bit noisy and yarn may get stuck in the gears underneath if you aren’t careful.

Pros
  • Easy to clamp onto surfaces
  • Makes center-pull yarn balls easily
  • Highly durable
Cons
  • Can be a little noisy at decent speed
  • Guide arms needs to be pulled firmly to lock in place
  • Clamp might not be wide enough for some users

Housweety Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder – Best for Small Projects

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

You don’t need any tools at all to set this simple yarn ball winder up. It’s designed to be easy to work with and is ideal for the avid knitter or crocheter, not to mention it can be taken anywhere due to its small size and light weight.

This hand-operated winder makes very little noise while in operation and is effortless to use. All you need to do is lock the winder onto a table, tighten up the button to fix it, and pull the string through the iron wire to block on the groove of the disk.

It’s made to wind around 250 grams of yarn so it’s not particularly meant for big projects, but it’s very durable and is able to withstand dozens of winds. Although, some users have issues with the yarn holder arm not being able to stand up properly.

Other users note that it’s smooth and fast along with being user-friendly, but the clamp could be a little stronger. Other than that, the Housweety yarn winder can be a great tool for those who don’t have a very large budget.

Pros
  • Inexpensive and durable
  • Ideal for smaller projects
  • Easy to use and set up
Cons
  • Clamp isn’t sturdy
  • Yarn can get caught in metal gears
  • Yarn holder arm doesn’t stay up

Windaze Yarn Ball Winder – Best for Medium-Sized Projects

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

The Windaze yarn ball winder is designed to last you a long time and is easy to use for both beginners and experienced knitters, not to mention it’s rather affordable. It can easily be clamped to most table tops, chairs, or counters while the hand-operated crank can be adjusted effortlessly.

This winder can make neat pull thread yarn balls and cakes with ease without using any sort of heavy equipment. You can make jumbo sized yarn balls smoothly since it provides even flow and prevents snags, bunches, or tangles so that you waste less yarn.

There are two swing arms integrated in the winder, and you can use either one but be careful not to use both at the same time. The second arm is used as a counter balance. There’s also a plastic shaft that comes with the winder for further convenience.

It makes low noise while it’s in use and can wind yarn balls or cakes up to seven ounces. Mind that this winder does come in pieces, and according to some users, it’s a bit tricky to put together considering there’s no instructions. Another user mentions that while it was their first time using a yarn winder, it was easy to figure out and use and is a nice alternative to more expensive wooden swifts.

Pros
  • Easy to store away
  • Great for medium sized projects
  • Makes very little noise
  • Smooth operation
Cons
  • Comes in pieces but no instructions
  • Yarn can occasionally get hooked onto corners

Heavy Duty Ball Winders

Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder – Best for Heavy Use

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

Now I’m gonna move into some little more heavy duty ball winders, all right this next ball winder is the Stanwood large heavy duty ball winder. And the price on this one is around $50. And it can handle up to a 10 ounce skein of yarn that is two and a half times the size of a regular skein of sock yarn, so that’s a quite a bit of yarn.

This ball winder has a plastic spindle and a skirt unit, it’s got cog wheels made out of nylon and a metal painted frame, as you can see it’s bigger than the previous ball winders that I’ve talked about and it’s also heavier, it weighs three pounds.

You can also see that the gears are exposed and that’s kind of cool if your into the mechanics of how things work, it also has rubber feet on the bottom of the metal frame to protect your table.

The table clamp is metal and attached and has a two and one eighth inch span. Which should fit on most tables or flat surfaces. The spindle has a two inch diameter at the base and it tapers down to one and a half inches at the end. It is five inches long and there are notches at the end where you hook the end of the yarn before you start winding.

The skirt is six inches in diameter, so this whole spindle unit is all together larger than the previous ball winders that I just talked about.

Now the way this ball winder works is that it has a metal rotating arm which winds the arm around the spindle and the spindle moves slowly in the opposite direction of the rotating arm.

To wind your yarn you insert the end of the yarn through the yarn guide and then through the hole in the rotating arm and then press the yarn into the notches on top of the spindle. Start turning the handle and the arm and spindle will rotate in opposite directions winding the yarn into a little muffin now with this ball winder you’re starting to see some characteristics of higher end models.

It’s definitely more sturdy, I mean you can just feel it in the construction of the whole unit. It doesn’t have that kind of flimsy plastic feel, you don’t have the plastic pieces wiggling around. The winding feels smooth and sturdy, now you do hear a little bit of a rumble with the gears and that does cause a little bit of vibration you can feel but not bad. It’s a little bit vibrating but it’s pretty quiet.

Overall I think the Stanwood heavy duty ball winder is a good mid range product at around $50 it’s a bit more expensive than the two models I previously discussed but that comes with a lot more stability and efficiency and operation. It handles yarn from a swift really well.

So I haven’t had any problems with this ball winder tangling the yarn or yarn getting caught in the gears or anything like that, there’s plenty of space on the spindle for the yarn muffin to expand.

READ  Teaching kids how to knit to make things on their own

And you’re not gonna hit with the handle while you’re cranking, I mean the yarn muffin’s gonna be building right here and here’s the crank.

So the spindle capacity is probably more than we will ever need, so if you’re a person who’s in the market for a bigger and more durable ball winder. This will be a great option for you.

I think it might even be good for a yarn shop, I think it’s sturdy enough to stand up to the level of ball winding that would be necessary in a yarn shop.

Pros
  • Can wind up to ten ounces of yarn
  • Little to no assembly required
  • Clamp can fit on thick tables up to 2 1/8 inches
Cons
  • Storage may be difficult because of large size
  • Yarn tends to slip under bottom of cone

Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder – Best Timesaving Yarn Ball Winder

Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon

A product that winds skeins and hanks to make neat and compact balls in a matter of seconds. No need to tire your wrists or waste time on winding.

The device works with 120v a/c power, so you do not need to purchase batteries for it. The device is simple to use and does not require set-up. You can view an instructional video on the usage of the device on the Simplicity company website.

Have in mind that the motor of the device is not too powerful and additional pressure and strain should not be applied to the yarn while it is working. The best way to use it is by putting a moderate pressure on the input yarn. Some pressure may be required for the yarn to not become too loose. 

The machine is better suited for lightweight yarns and experiences some difficulty with bulkier yarns. The best way to use it is by not making skeins of more than 4 ounces.

Pros
  • The electric winder lets your hand rest
  • Winds yarns in a matter of seconds
  • Simple design to use
  • No bateries required
  • No set up required
  • Compact device
Cons
  • More appropriate for lightweight yarn
  • Weak motor
  • Not suitable for traveling

These products cover different areas of use. Choose between either type depending on what kind of situation you will need your yarn ball winder for.

Best Yarn Winder Machine – Buying Guide

Some may believe that knitting is something that their grandmother did and is long forgotten. This, however, is not the case. There are many knitters out there including professional hand-knitters for big clothing companies. A surprisingly satisfying and relaxing hobby, knitters can now benefit from knitting technologies to make this hobby even faster and more efficient.

Not all wool or knitting yarns are sold in their compact ball-like version that is so comfortable to use in all places. Big-pack yarns sold need to be winded into a more compact version for more convenient use. While you can do this by hand, a special product called yarn ball winder can do it for you instead.

Yarn winders and swifts can make knitting a much less frustrating experience, especially for those who knit almost every day. There are many types of winders to consider, ranging from basic hand-operated one to more complex wooden and electrical models. But before going off to purchase one, it’s important to know the fundamentals behind yarn winders and what to look for.

Why Do I Need a Yarn Winder?

It can be quite the chore when you’re trying to wind loose yarn into a tidy ball or cake manually, and sometimes you may need an unamused volunteer. Yarn winders make it way easier for you to do this and you can worry less about tangled messes when you knit directly from a skein or hank of yarn. Most winders make center pull cakes so you don’t have them rolling everywhere as you pull the yarn.

What are Yarn Balls and Cakes?

A yarn “ball” is round and usually made by hand while a “cake” is made using a yarn winder and has a more cylindrical shape with two flat sides. The tail that’s often left in the middle of a cake means it’s easy to pull out without desperately searching for the end inside of a yarn ball and almost always getting a knot.

Keeping Consistent Tension

A lot of commercially made yarns are loose which make them more convenient for storing since they can squish down into a ball or hank to maintain uniform tension. You can use a winder to examine the yarn for weak spots or knots to help you mark where each skein, hank, or ball of yarn should go in your project. This is especially handy for yarns that change colors.

What Should You Look for in a Yarn Winder?

Yarn winders should be designed to last you quite a while, not only for the first few winds. Some winders are made of mostly plastic, and while this doesn’t mean they won’t last, they are more likely to break or crack.

Make sure to check the protection of the gears, for yarn often slips underneath the gears and can eat up your yarn which is a waste of time and money. Well-built winders protect the gears so that this issue doesn’t happen.

Table clamps can also make or break a yarn winder for many since you need the extra stability so your winder doesn’t move while winding. It should have a tight grip without damaging or leaving marks on your table’s surface.

If you’re a regular knitter or crocheter, you want a winder that can withstand serious cranking. The crank should feel even and smooth for a consistent tension without pulling too hard on the yarn. It should feel sturdy and not flimsy as if it’s about to break.

Some electric or hand operated yarn winders come fully assembled while others may come in pieces. If a winder requires assembly, you want a rather quick and easy setup with an easy to read manual on how to work it. It shouldn’t take hours to assemble a winder, which can be especially off-putting for beginners.

Space can be a huge factor for many avid knitters. Not everyone has a large workspace or a lot of room to store large objects, so it’s important to consider the size of a winder before purchasing one. While an umbrella design can be easy to store when folded, it may take up lots of space when opened. Amish styles can definitely take up a lot of room, especially ones meant to handle large amounts of yarn.

The material of a yarn winder usually speaks towards the durability of one. Wooden styles (usually made of birch wood) are often long lasting and lightweight, providing better performance in spinning and winding. Plastic ones, on the other hand, are easily more compact and cost less, but their common issue that most can cause yarn to caught on the loops.

Using a Ball Winder and Swift

Most yarn stores will have an umbrella Swift and a ball winder available to you when you go into their store to shop. So that if you buy yarn in a hank, you can wind it into a cake before you leave the store.
Otherwise, when you get home, you have to wind this by hand or purchase a personal umbrella swift and a ball winder.

First up I have a hank of yarn. I’m going to remove the label and untwist the hank, which is just a matter of popping one end out of the ring, and you’re left with a big ring of yarn. You put this on the umbrella Swift, and I have a plastic and metal one, but wood or plastic or metal umbrella swift – they’re all about the same.

You want to expand it like an umbrella so that the yarn is taut around the whole thing. And then you’ll look for little knots, tied in the end sometimes it’s multiple knots, sometimes it’s just one.

I’m going to cut out this knot, and I’m left with some waste yarn to pull out. In this case, the waste yarn is different from the real yarn on the swift.
And as I go around, I see that I have some more waste yarn.

Some yarn manufacturer is very careful by tying multiple bits of waste yarn around hank to make sure nothing got tangled.

So I have one strand of yarn that’s coming around from the outside, this other end is kind of on the inside, so I’m going to leave that one. I’m going to pull from the one that’s on the outside.

We have our end, and we’re taking it over to thread it on the ball winder.
Now the ball winder has this little thing, and the yarn needs to be thread through this to get wound. And to do that we start with it holding it back like this pulling it forward and forward again.

People who use sewing machines are usually really good at this part. You can take it and thread it through, or it’s just a quick wrap around.

Then we have this slit across the top of the ball winder. You want to set your yarn across that like so so that it’s caught in the two notches and then you can start winding.

While you’re doing this if the swift is really loose and free you spinning, you probably want to apply a little tension to the yarn with your fingers, because swift does spin very freely, if it’s a wood Swift there’s a chance that it’s not going to spin as freely you probably don’t need to put tension on the yarn.

It will only make the ball of yarn that you’re winding tight. While you’re spinning this if for some reason you need to stop like you’re going to sneeze or something and you need to stop spinning for a moment, reach your hand over and stop this. Because if you don’t, if you wind and wind, then you stop this thing will keep going, and it’ll end up wrapping around the whole thing the wrong way.

Anyway, so you’re going to keep winding until its empty. And we can speed through this process because there’s one last thing I want to tell you at the end of this.

I’m left with this cake of yarn, and we go in for a shot here this bit that we put in the notches this bit of yarn is still there.

When we pick this up, we want to hang on to this bit. I’m going to pull it up from the bottom and hold on to the strand of yarn in my pincher fingers so that I don’t lose it in there because that is the center pull. Then the last thing I do is I unwind a couple of feet of yarn and wind it around the outside this is the other end and tuck it in, and then that end won’t bother me until I get to it the very end of the yarn and I have a nice center pull cake.

Now you should look like a pro when you’re winding your yard.

Conclusion

Yarn winders can make your knitting or crocheting much easier. The above products can give you a good foundation on choosing which winder is best for you, whether you like the Umbrella style or the tabletop style.

Whichever model you prefer, make sure it will last you a long time, is durable, makes little to no noise, and can handle the amount of yarn you desire for your projects. Once you have these important factors checked off, you’re well on your way for a more breezy knitting experience.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Stanwood Needlecraft
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star