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How to Wind a Center Pull Ball of Yarn

You cannot knit or crochet from an unwound pile of yarn. To easily make a center-pull ball of yarn without a ball winder or any special equipment, follow these instructions. Your hand is all you need.


  1. If you have a mess of tangled yarn or want to re-wind a skein into a center-pull ball, first unwind the skein in a big loop or place the yarn over the back of a chair or a friend’s spaced-out hands.
  2. Hold the yarn between your thumb and forefinger with the tail of the yarn draped over the top of your hand.
  3. Wind the yarn clockwise over your thumb and forefinger around 10 times.
  4. Remove your forefinger from the inside so that the yarn is sitting loosely on your thumb. Stick your thumb up in an “OK” sign.
  5. Begin winding around the thumb. After winding a few more times around the center of the thumb, begin changing the angle and direction in how you wind the yarn.
  6. Carefully slide the ball of yarn to the end of your thumb.
  7. Wind four or five times in one spot, move the ball slightly, and wind in another spot. Continue to move all over the ball as you wind, including the bottom of the ball near the base of your thumb. Don’t wind around the center-pull tail.
  8. Once all the yarn is wound around your thumb, tuck the trailing end into the outside. Slide the ball off your thumb.

You’re all done!

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I was taught this method but had a problem with keeping the tail from getting wound into the ball. Then I was watching a knitting show on TV and someone showed how to use a pill bottle to wind the yarn - you put the end of the yarn into the bottle and snap on the cap, then wind the yarn around the bottle. When you're done, take the top off the bottle and slide it out from the center of the ball of yarn. Your end is right there and won't get lost.

im would like to see it in a vido if you could show it

I put the tail of the yarn in the palm of my hand and hold it with my thumb. I then wind the yarn around my first 3 fingers until I have a good amount. I then slip the yarn off my fingers and begin winding in different directions (a few times in one direction, then in another and then another) being careful not to cover the end I started with. Also take care not to wind too tightly in the beginning so you will be able to pull easily from the center when finished. Have done it this way successfully for many years.

I tried this but it didn't work. I don't know what I did wrong.

What a great idea, thanks. I will try this next time I'm trying to untangle my mess of yarn.


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