Whenever I go to the yarn store and purchase yarn that comes in hanks or skeins, the person at the counter always asks if I want them to wind it for me. I always say no because:
1. I like to know if the yarn has any knots in it. If someone else winds it for me, there could be multiple knots in the yarn that will surprise me during my project.
2. Many people don’t realize that you CAN wind wool yarn too tightly and it WILL stretch out, often to the point of no repair. If I wind it myself I can regulate the tension in the ball and keep the yarn nice and springy.
People may rightly say I am a terrible cook and have no sense of direction, but I can sure wind a mean center-pull ball of a yarn. In the past I’ve been asked how to make center-pull balls with a flat bottom, so here ya go!
First, put your yarn on the swift. If you don’t have a swift, wrap it around your knees or around your neck. Spouses or other family members with outstretched arms also work well and they’re good company.
Start by loosely wrapping the yarn around your fingers. This will be the portion that you pull out of the ball.
Next, remove your fingers from this small loop. Loosely wrap the yarn around one end until you have a small ball on that end.
The next step is critical in making the ball sit flat on the table. Holding the tuft of yarn upwards, change the angle at which you are wrapping the yarn, and from now on always wrap it at this same angle.
After a few wraps, rotate the ball slightly, wrap again, rotate, etc., always keeping the center-pull tuft of yarn facing upwards. Keep a loose, even tension while you wind.
When I come to a knot (or other unsightly blob in the yarn) I always untie or break the yarn at that point and start a new ball. If I don’t, by the time I’m ready to knit with it I will have forgotten it’s there, so it’s best to deal with it right away.
This method of winding yarn into center-pull balls is neat and tidy, and produces a ball of yarn with a flat bottom. Your yarn won’t end up rolling under the couch. It will just sit there on the table without ever moving. Just pull the yarn out from the center tuft and cast on.
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