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.
- 1 Top 10 Best Yarn Ball Winder 2018
- 2 Marywindix Bobbin Winder – Best Affordable Yet Effective Product
- 3 Knitpicks Yarn Ball Winder – Best Designed
- 4 Lacis Yarn Ball Winder II – Best for Winding Large Skeins
- 5 Stanwood Needlecraft Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder – Best Runner Up Yarn Winder
- 6 Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder – Best for Heavy Use
- 7 Housweety Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder – Best for Small Projects
- 8 Vktech Swift Yarn/Fiber/String Ball Wool Winder – Best Compact Winder
- 9 Yazycraft Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder – Best Lightweight Product
- 10 Cutehill Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder – Best Low Budget Umbrella Swift
- 11 Windaze Yarn Ball Winder – Best for Medium-Sized Projects
- 12 Best Yarn Winder Machine – Buying Guide
- 13 Conclusion
|Marywindix Bobbin Winder||Best Affordable Yet Effective Product|
|Knitpicks Yarn Ball Winder||Best Designed Yarn Winder|
|Lacis Yarn Ball Winder II||Best for Winding Large Skeins|
|Stanwood Needlecraft Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder|
|Best Yarn Ball Winder|
|Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder||Best for Heavy Use|
|Housweety Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder||Best for Small Projects|
|Vktech Swift Yarn/Fiber/String Ball Wool Winder||Best Compact|
|Windaze Yarn Ball Winder||Best for Medium-Sized Projects|
|Yazycraft Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder||Best Lightweight Yarn Cake Winder|
|Cutehill Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder||Best Low Budget Umbrella Swift|
Marywindix Bobbin Winder – Best Affordable Yet Effective Product
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.
Knitpicks Yarn Ball Winder – Best Designed
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.
Lacis Yarn Ball Winder II – Best for Winding Large Skeins
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.
Stanwood Needlecraft Hand-Operated Yarn Ball Winder – Best Runner Up Yarn Winder
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.
Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder – Best for Heavy Use
This yarn winder is simply the bigger model to the four ounce Stanwood Needlecraft yarn winder. It’s built heavy use, which is a plus for those who knit or crochet almost every day.
A tough nylon material is used for the cogwheels which makes them durable and strong while being much less noisy than metal cogwheels. You don’t need any sort of tools to assemble the yarn winder since it comes fully pieced together out of the box.
The frame of the winder is painted by electrostatic painting so that it won’t chip or peel off too easily. For safety reasons, the edges of the winder are rounded and smooth so as to not leave any annoying marks on your table or desk. It can handle up to ten ounces of yarn which is 2.5 times more than its smaller sister yarn winder can do.
It’s able to be clamped onto a table up to 2 1/8 inches thick and is best paired with a swift yarn winder either in Umbrella or Amish style. One user praises the winder for its ability to produce neat yarn cakes while making little to no noise.
On the other hand, another user complained that it’s a bit difficult to store away because of its big size, but it’s otherwise very sturdy when in use.
Housweety Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder – Best for Small Projects
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.
Vktech Swift Yarn/Fiber/String Ball Wool Winder – Best Compact Winder
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.
Yazycraft Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder – Best Lightweight Product
For a smooth and simple yarn winding experience, the Yazycraft Umbrella Swift yarn winder is equipped with a table clamp that can easily attach to any wooden edge or countertop without making scratches or marks. It’s an ideal knitting tool to have if you enjoy making sweaters, socks, hats, blankets, etc.
The winder is flexible and lightweight so you can take it anywhere with you to knit or crochet on the go. It’s also small enough to stash away in your closet, cabinet, or drawer without you having to make room. It can handle many winds and already comes fully assembled the minute you take it out of the box.
While the Yazycraft Umbrella Swift Yarn winder is an affordable knitting tool for most, some users have complained about the integrity of the clamp. Apparently, the clamp is a bit unstable if you don’t have a perfect 90-degree table, and considering it’s only an inch wide, you can’t place it deep into the table which may result in slipping.
Another user stated that the winder is light enough to use anywhere and that they’ve already made more than three balls of yarn. Although, the structure of the winder itself seems a bit flimsy which may make it vulnerable to damage from falls.
Cutehill Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder – Best Low Budget Umbrella Swift
It may be a little odd looking for beginners, but this yarn winder claims to be the ultimate machine for organizing loose yarn into manageable yarn cakes. It’s hand operated and the adjustable clamp lets you use it in a vertical, horizontal, or angled orientation. The integral clamp on the winder can fit desks, chairs, or desks thinner than 1.69 inches.
There’s no need to assemble anything since the Cutehill Umbrella winder already comes fully pieced together. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing for those that prefer wooden swifts, but it’s definitely a lot cheaper and more compact for storage.
Using this winder is rather straightforward and it can wind yarns, fiber, laces, and lines along with a wide range of other string types. Compared to wooden ones, the yarn swift is a little less durable being that it’s made of both plastic and metal. Although, this can both be an advantage and a disadvantage.
Some users had an issue with the metal loops that catch the yarn at the end of the swift’s arms. The clamp was also said to not be as smooth as desired since it can leave marks on the surface it’s clamped on.
Windaze Yarn Ball Winder – Best for Medium-Sized Projects
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.
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.
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.