Antique Yarn Winder
Yarn Winder

A Guide To Antique Yarn Winder

An antique thread winder is the ancestor of the handy modern tool designed for the purpose of making thread winding much easier! The history of these goes back many years.

It is important to learn about our past to better understand the present and plan for the future. Plus, it's really fascinating to discover a bit of this part of textile history.

If you want to know a little crochet history, some crochet facts, or are just interested in how older patterns work, you've come to the right place.

Table of Contents
What is an antique yarn winder?
Types of antique yarn winders
How does an antique yarn winder work?
Facts about antique yarn winders
Your questions answered

What is an antique yarn winder?
An antique yarn winder is simply a yarn winder, but a much older model than those available on the market today, dating from as early as the 19th century.

They are priceless pieces of heritage and history, as well as a very functional tool for crocheters, knitters, spinners and yarn dyers alike.

Well, really anyone who works with yarn!

(A yarn winder is also known as a ball winder, clockenhen, watch spool, knitty knitty, niddy niddy, nostepinne, weasel spinners and a skein winder).

They are generally classified as coming from the late 1800s to early 1900s time period.

(Remember that these are very similar to the old spinning wheels, so the two machines tend to be easily confused).

They are made almost exclusively of wood and sometimes metal, as those were the materials available during the time they were built. Even the gears were made of wood.

There was usually only one main wooden gear, and the gear shaft was always completely covered and protected.

They were not made of many other materials because after all, plastic and nylon did not exist.

Although some fancy or expensive models were made of things like whalebone, ivory or iron.

Some of the common types of wood they were made from include.

Ash (most commonly shaker ash).
Birch
Chestnut
Cherry
Maple
Oak
Pine
Poplar
Yarn store good yarn

Types of older yarn winders
The niddy-noddy is the most common type of older thread winders. The base has a pole in the center that is attached to the base, with two pieces attached to the top of the pole in a crisscross fashion.

The poles have knobs (called wooden pegs), which are used to hold the thread, and you can adjust the size to put different sizes of threads on them.

Another style is quite similar, except that it has four arms, wooden pegs on each end of them, and has a tripod base.

Other styles resemble a ship's wheel, some sit flat when mounted on a table or surface, others resemble an umbrella. Like a quick umbrella, but they were still thread winders, not thread swifts.

New tools from The Hook Nook. An assortment of Hook Nook tools and hooks on a blue background.

How does an antique yarn winder work?
An antique yarn winder works by creating loops with a circumference of about 72 inches. The yarn winder spins approximately 40 times to create a skein or as it was called in those days a bundle.

When it completes this, the person operating it tied a small knot or twist in the yarn to hold it together.

This process was repeated seven times, until a skein of yarn containing approximately 560 yards of yarn was the end result.

Note that there were many different versions and some may work slightly differently than the method described here. Some did not wind it onto a skein, but rather spools, bobbins, or even a ball.

It wasn't just yarn winders involved in the process, there were also yarn swifts at the time. Used in combination with a yarn winder just like the modern method.

The swifts were usually made of wood, spinning horizontally and lay flat when placed on a table or surface.

Since skeins of yarn or hanks often did not vary much in size, there was limited adjustability of the arms. After all, there wasn't really a need for that at that time in history.

Often, the process of winding the yarn was accompanied by spinning, as different spinning methods created a different texture, tension or tightness to the yarn.

If a specific quality was desired, they often spun the yarn first and then wound it to create a ready-to-wind skein, hank or ball.

Facts about antique yarn winders
It is speculated that the origin of the nursery rhyme "Pop Goes The Weasel" comes from the process of how the yarn was wound. The spinner on the winder, or the weasel as it was once called, makes a popping sound after winding it for a certain period of time. Amazing, isn't it?
They were often brightly colored and the more expensive models had decorative borders and other features.
In the poorer or lower classes, people often made their own yarn winders, spinning wheel yarn winders, as they were quite expensive. Antique handmade yarn winders are rare these days.
In places all over Europe, such as Romania, the old ways are still very much alive, with textile manufacturers carrying on the tradition and spinning, winding and weaving their yarn on antique, handmade machines.


Your questions answered
How much is an antique spinning wheel worth?
Depending on what it is made of or how old it is, it can easily fetch thousands of dollars on the antique market or an auction.

There you are, I hope you learned something to do with the interesting history of the yarn. It is always important to stay connected to our past to learn and move forward into the future.

Have you ever heard of these machines from the past before? Do you know anything about them that would be great for others to know?

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Yarn Winder From Michaels
Yarn Winder

Review Of Yarn Winder From Michaels

Did you know that you can buy a yarn ball winder from Michaels, the ever popular craft store? Yes, you can, but is it really worth it, is this product any good and if so, who is it best suited for?

Michaels is a well-known craft store based in the U.S. and has an online store and stores nationwide - for many years, they never stocked yarn winders, until now!

Their main and only product in terms of yarn winders.

Here is an honest review of The Loops & Threads ™ Yarn Ball Winder from Michaels. The Loops & Threads™ Yarn Winder.
Yarn Winder by Loops & Threads.
It is quite different from most yarn winders you may have seen, most notably in design. Unlike most thread winders, it has a solid base.

It can sit on a table or similar surface without the need for the table clamp to keep it stable.

Although it is a good idea to use the table clamp if you are concerned about it slipping or accidentally moving when you don't want it to. This feature is removable and easily reattaches so you can use it as you wish.

The main feature of this excellent invention is to transform the yarn into a center-pull yarn cake ready immediately for crocheting. It winds horizontally, and the crank is on the other side of the bobbin.

What's in the box
The yarn winder
Removable table clamp
Instructions on how to use and set up
Function
It is a smaller model than other ball thread winders, measuring approximately 5" x 3" x 5 3/4".
Winds up to 4 oz of yarn at a time.
Creates center pull yarn cakes for easy crocheting.
Pro
Compact design without being cramped or hard to use, this is a great option if you have limited space.
Minimal assembly required
Simple and easy to use and set up.
Cheaper than other models on the market, the perfect choice for those on a budget.
Economical and a great first yarn winder or for those who don't have a lot of yarn they need to wind.
The gear shaft is fully protected and covered, so your hand won't get snagged.
Disadvantage
It only comes in one color, white with a black base and silver metal parts.
It is not capable of winding a lot of yarn at a time, it is only capable of winding up to 4 oz of yarn.
It can be quite noisy when in operation, but customers have suggested that if you have this problem persistently, use a little oil to lubricate the gears. (You're going to have to unscrew the cover to get to the device).
It may squeak noisily when you start the handle.
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Is a Michaels thread winder worth it?
Yes, depending on your individual needs, preferences for your budget, and how much yarn you need to wind.

Is it worth it for you if -

You are on a budget or want to try something cheaper before committing to a larger, more expensive model.
You want something simple, functional and no frills to get the job done.
You are willing to accept things that may not work perfectly, and there may be some problems to solve or deal with before it works very well.
If you don't need to do a lot of winding or only have skeins or smaller skeins to wind.
You have limited space or don't want something that is going to take up too much room.
All in all, it's a good choice for your first yarn winder to try before you're ready to commit to something more substantial. Suitable for the beginner or hobby crocheter.

However, if you're a little more advanced, looking to wind a lot of yarn or want something that can hold some serious starter, this yarn winder isn't going to be right for you.

Maybe you're looking for something bigger, or sturdier, or you're ready to commit to a larger version.

If so, this is our top pick for the best all-rounder. I recommend the Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal - 10 Oz Yarn Ball Winder.

Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn / Fiber / Wool / Yarn Ball Winder - 10 oz
It is sturdy, guaranteed to last for years, has many well rated customer reviews. It also has a large enough capacity of thread to wind that it will fit almost anyone.

Plus, it's smooth, quiet, easy to crank and a breeze to set up.

If you're looking for more options, here are the best hand-selected yarn winders in my review. Check them out here.

Click to learn more / Buy on Amazon
How to use a Michaels thread winder.
Choose a space to set up. If the surface may be damaged, place a cloth underneath first before setting up your tools. If you have a fast thread, place it 12-18 inches from your winder.

This will help you maintain a constant tension when winding the thread cakes.

Clamp both securely to the surface and you are ready to start setting them up. Check to make sure they are both secure.

Putting the yarn on the Swift
Unwind the skein or skein and remove the loops, so it is a ring of yarn. Do not cut the yarn when removing the loops.

Find the two ends, checking that they are not tangled.

Most swifts are in the umbrella style. Push the button at the bottom of the pole up. The arms will expand.

Place the ring around the arms.

Make sure the thread is tight around the swift arms.

Thread the thread onto the winder.
Find the outer end. You need to connect this to the bobbin winder.

Thread it through the metal thread guide and the slot in the spindle.

Create your first center-pull yarn cake
Crank the handle, slowly at first.

Guide the thread between the two instruments. This allows you to control the tension.

You can wind a little faster now.

Remove your newly created yarn cake
In one hand, hold the yarn in the slot at the top of the bobbin winder. Remove the yarn cake from the yarn winder.

Unwind part of the yarn. Wrap the length around the middle and tuck the end into the center of the cake.

Congratulations on creating your first yarn cake! Here are many more beautiful yarn cakes.

(An important note: You don't have to use a quickie in combination with this tool if you don't want or don't have one. If you so choose, the unique design means you can wind directly from a skein of yarn or ball).

Your questions answered
How do I use the yarn loop and yarn winder?
It is fairly simple to use and set up, but requires a bit of work before you can get up and running and start winding. For those of you who are visual learners, here's a video that explains how.

Christy Vandeusen explains in this excellent video with a helpful tutorial on how to use Loops & Threads Yarn Winder.


Do you guys get yarn winder from Michael's sale?
Yes, they do! Their flagship yarn ball winder is the Loops & Threads Yarn Winder, which is the best of their products.

It is also the only yarn winder they sell, if you are looking for other brands, you will need to find another store to buy from.

There you have it. I hope you have found this review useful to help you decide if this tool is right for you.

It is certainly not the best product available on the market, but it is an excellent first or budget choice for the beginning crocheter or fiber arts enthusiast.

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Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder
Yarn Winder

Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder Guide

A Nostepinne is the grandmother of all other yarn winders. This is what people from hundreds of years ago used in the home and factories alike.

Of course, it is still available today. They come in many forms, from hand carved wooden pieces to bamboo pieces. Winding with one of these takes a bit of practice, but it is a relaxing and meditative experience.

Wondering what the heck these are? Or do you have one and want to learn how to use it? I answer these questions and give some helpful tips in my post below. What Is A Nostepinne?
A nostepinne is a piece of wood carved in the shape of a short curved stick that looks like a thick coil.

Before the invention of yarn winders as we know them today, this was the tool our ancestors used to wind yarn onto a center-pull yarn cake.

The word nostepinne comes from the Scandinavian word meaning "nest stick.also known as nostepinde or nøstepinde.

They are usually about 10-12 inches long. It is not uncommon for them to be carved or decorated. Many of them are also handmade.

It is divided into three parts, the handle, the shaft and the groove at the top. The handle is where you hold it, the shaft is where you wrap the thread. The groove is for securing the yarn before winding.

How do I use Nostepinne?
Here is a list of step-by-step instructions on how to use this ancient method of winding thread. Your ancestors probably did this, so a little history for you while you're at it!

Prepare the skein for winding. (If you're using a skein or ball, don't worry about this step.) Unscrew the skein and remove any of the scrap yarn loops that keep it from tangling.
Untwist completely, so it's a ring of yarn, and place the ring around something to keep it from becoming a yarn monster The back of a chair is a good choice. or the outstretched arms of a willing person!
Hold the end of the yarn in one hand and the nostepinne in the other.
Place the thread through the slot at the top of the handle. Loop some of the thread around it. Make sure the last of these loops is backwards to prevent it from slipping when you are winding it.
Take the yarn up to the center of the stick and begin to create the core. Wrap the yarn continuously side by side along 1.5" of the shaft.
Be sure not to wind too tightly, as this can stretch the thread.
Now you are ready to begin winding the rest of the cake.
It is recommended to do the winding with the dominant hand and hold the stick in the other hand.
Take the yarn diagonally and wind it back to the other side. Wrap it around the shaft for a half wrap and bring the thread to the other end. Repeat this step, but in reverse.
Continue this process 8 to 10 times.
To make the cake evenly and make sure it will lay flat when you are done, continue with the outlined pattern. You will need to add more wrappers in different directions, so it becomes more solid.
If you want to make it grow lengthwise after you have completed one wrap cycle, wrap it once around the stick. Create another cycle from that angle.
When you are done, slide the yarn cake off the nostepinne.
Tada, your first wound cake is ready!
Here are some important things to remember when you are using a nostepinne.

Be patient with yourself. It will feel very strange at first, but with time and practice, it gets easier.
Once you have mastered this method, experiment with the yarn wrapping method to see what feels most comfortable.
Remember that these are not definite rules. Feel free to change as needed to make it better for you.
Using a Nostepinne to wind two styles of balls of center-pull yarn.
For visual learners or people who prefer to learn new practical skills with videos, here is an excellent tutorial by Andrea from Fiber Arts, LLC of Mielke.

In this short and informative tutorial, she shows you how to create two different styles of center-pull yarn balls.


What is the best Nostepinne available?
These are some of the best nostepinne available on the market reviewed. There is something for every budget and taste.

Nagina International Nostepinne Premium Rosewood
Nagina International Nostepinne Premium Rosewood
Made from premium rosewood in the United States, the Nagina Nostepinne is made from durable rosewood.

Buffer with a wax finish, making it resistant to scratches and other damage, as well as water resistant.

Function

Made of finely sanded rosewood.

It also comes in these different options, maple, beech, and a mix of different woods
Carved with grooves for a more relaxed grip
Polished and buffed with a wax finish
11 inches long and 0.5 inches wide
Pro

Portable and lightweight
Can create a center pull yarn cake up to 3 ounces
Looks very pretty while also being functional
Disadvantage

No slot to put the end of the yarn in when you start, but if you tie a loop around it first, this solves the problem
Instructions not included, so you will need to look for youtube tutorials or follow the instructions in this post.
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
CHIAOGOO Nostepinne, 11 inches
CHIAOGOO Nostepinne, 11 inch.
It was created by the popular knitting and crochet notions and tools company, Chiaogoo. This nostepinne is made from a pale, unspecified hardwood. It has a smooth and grippy finish.

This product is carved with notches and grooves to make it easier to hold and use.

Function

Made in China
Carved handle with grooves to help you grip it
11 inches long
Made of smooth hardwood
Instructions on how to use include
Pro

Has a notch at the top to help keep the string in one place
Works as well for lefties as it does for righties
5-star reviews praising functionality and ease of use
Smooth and easy to grip without slipping
Cons

Only ships to continental U.S. states, not Alaska, Hawaii or U.S. territories.
Also does not ship internationally
Takes a little time to master
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Handcrafted Beech Nostepinne Ball Winder
Beech Nostepinne by Anyfink Etsy store
Made in Scotland by a small family owned woodworking business called AnyFink, this is a true work of art. Made from spalted beech, spalting is the natural aging process of wood, and it changes color as it does so.

It is carved with a smooth finish and a good grip, an area to rest your thumb, and a tapered shaft to hold the thread.

Function

Hand carved
Very nice with the different pigments of the wood grains.
Made of Spalted Scottish Beech, hand processed by the same people who make it
Each piece is unique
10 inches long
Made in Scotland from local materials
Pro

Both a work of art and a functional tool
Clearly defined handle
Natural wax finish for a smooth but still grippable finish
Cons

A bit pricey, but well worth the investment for such a beautifully designed item
Check today's price
Nostepinne - Oak / Red Cedar / Ammonia Fumed Oak Ball Winder
Oak Nostepinne by Mud Duck Workshop
A nostepinne made from a selection of oak, red cedar, and ammonia fumed oak. These unique items come in lovely color variations.

Created by Derek Grieve of Muddy Duck Workshop, a small one-man woodworking company in the United States.

Function

Handcrafted, cut and sanded all by hand.
Available in three different types of wood, Oak, Fumed Oak and Eastern Red Cedar.
11 inches long
Made in the U.S.A. from local woods
Pro

Price includes free shipping in the U.S.

Made to order
Lightweight and very soft
Disadvantage

A little more expensive than the other options available, but worth it.
Check today's price
Your questions answered
Should you wind a skein of yarn into a ball?
It is not strictly necessary to wind a skein of yarn into a ball. If you prefer to work with yarn cakes, it's best to wind them first. But you can work directly from a skein if that's what you prefer.

How do you wind yarn without a ball winder?
There are a few methods you can use to make wind yarn without a ball winder. Here are some options to consider.

Use a roll of interior toilet cardboard and wrap the yarn around that.
Buy or make a nostepinne and use that. Instructions on how to do this are described in my post.
Use no tools but your hands and the back of a chair to hold the yarn ring. Follow the instructions for one of those methods here.
Nostepinne are beautiful reminders of the past. An opportunity to slow down, relax and enjoy the process of winding the yarn.

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Best Yarn Winder DIY
Yarn Winder

The Best Yarn Winder DIY

Yarn winders are great inventions, but did you know you can make your own? That's right, it's true!

A perfect option if you are handy or creatively inclined, or the commercially available yarn winders are out of your budget range.

Here's another incentive to make your yarn cakes, it's much cheaper to buy yarn in skeins or hanks than ready-made cakes.
What are you waiting for? Get out of your DIY mentality and create your machine to be proud of.

Here are some helpful tutorials, tips and tricks.

If this seems like too much hard work, I've reviewed the best yarn winders on the market. How to make a homemade yarn winder?
Here's a simple but ingenious way to make a diy yarn winder using everyday items you can get cheaply at thrift or discount stores.

It's easy and quick to put together too. Fun and a great way to save money.

Note: With this method, you cannot adjust the size very quickly. To wind a different size skein, you must remove all the tape.

You will need

Lazy Susan - 1
A dish rack or wine rack (make sure it's the kind that can collapse) - 1
A large Sizer or Turkey Baster ring - 1
Adhesive tape
Scissors
Step 1

Prepare your skein by untwisting it and removing all the loops, so it is one long loop. Place the yarn loop around the rack and adjust the size as needed to make it tight.

Place the frame on top of the lazy Susan, centering it, making sure it is not unbalanced.

Step 2

Obtain the tape and scissors and cut pieces of tape, taping the shelf tightly to the lazy susan. Make sure to tape in the opposite direction of the first piece of tape in a criss-cross fashion.

This is so that it does not collapse inward.

Step 3

Test it to make sure it is secure. Add more tape if necessary.

You've created it - congratulations! Here is a list of steps on how to wind the yarn.

Get the large ring sizer or turkey baster. Hold it in your left hand.
Hold the yarn in your right hand and wrap it around the turkey to make sure it doesn't slip.
Wrap the yarn around the turkey, using the following pattern. First, wind perpendicular until you have a good layer of yarn. Then wind at 45 degrees, with the wraps 1/4 apart, turning the ring size as you go with your left hand.
(This technique is similar to what you do when winding with a Nostepinne).
It can be a little tricky when you first start, but you will get the hang of it.
You can have a beautifully wound center pull yarn cake in less than 15 minutes!

Yarn store good yarn

Alternative Methods
Here are some other ideas for making your yarn ball winder.

#1 - Simple quick fix solution
If you need to quickly get some yarn out of breath or fixed, this is the perfect quick fix solution.

Note: This method produces cakes, but with a cardboard tube in the middle to hold it together. Also, it's not a center pull. Pull as you would a ball or skein.

You will need

Electric mixer - 1
Cardboard roll or tube - 1 (can be short or long)
Scissors
Step 1
Gather your materials. Place the electric mixer on its side, with the whisk pointing up and out. Place the cardboard tube into the whisk part of the mixer. Make sure it fits snugly.

Step 2

Get the scissors and cut a small slit in the top of the cardboard tube. Place the end of the string in the slot. Tie the end of the twine to a part of the electric mixer beater.

Step 3

Turn on the electric mixer at the lowest possible speed. Hold the thread to maintain even tension, and as you turn the beater, the thread will begin to wrap around the cardboard roll.

Step 4

Continue winding until everything is finished. Turn off the mixer and untie the end of the beater. Remove the roll from the beater, and you have your yarn ready to go.



#2 - Using a Nostepinne
Have you ever heard of one of these?

It's the older version of the modern yarn ball winder. The name comes from a Scandinavian word meaning "nest-stick."

It's not exactly a DIY winder, but it is the older version of today's ball winders. Still, it's a beautiful way to wind your yarn, and much more do-it-yourself than the other options on the market.

If you're good at or enjoy woodworking, you could even make one for yourself.

How to use a Nostepinne

Tie the end of the twine to the pole and make sure it's a knot you can easily undo when you're done. A hitch knot is a great idea. (If it has a groove, tie it there. If not, tie it at the top or bottom. It doesn't matter which end.)
Move the yarn to the center and begin winding. This is to form the base of the ball of yarn. As you twist, make sure it is close together, you don't want it too far. Keep the yarn taut.
Take the yarn from the top wrap to the bottom diagonally as you twist the Nostepinne with your other hand. Do it again, but move it from the bottom to the top.
Repeat the yarn strand pattern until you have finished wrapping all the yarn.


Other great tutorials on how to make a ball winder.
#1 - Almost like a store bought version, but even better.

A knitting and crafting lover who goes by the name Handprints created an excellent do-it-yourself version.

It takes a little longer and is a slightly more complicated version than other methods discussed in this post, but it is excellent.

The best part is that it doesn't require too much hassle to obtain materials or power tools.

Available on Instructables here.

#2 - A ball winder using an electric drill?

Incredible as it may seem, yes, you can use an electric drill to wind yarn, as this tutorial from Sideways at Instructables shows you how to do it.

It's deceptively simple, but be sure to be very gentle and don't let the drill go too fast!

More info here.

Your questions answered
Can you use a thread winder without a Swift?
Yes, of course, you can! But if you decide not to use a rapid, you will need something else to hold the thread loop.

A good idea is the back of a chair, an expandable shelf of some sort, or someone patient and willing arms!

How do you wind yarn with a ball winder?
Find a workbench or space you can use to set up your tools. Clear the area.

If you are concerned about whether you might get damaged by the table clamp, place a cloth on the surface. The best distance between your yarn winder and the fast wind is 12-18 inches.

Attach each instrument to the table and tighten the bolts to secure them.
Putting the yarn on the Swift
Unwind the skein or hank and remove the loops, so it is a ring of yarn. If using scissors, be careful not to cut the actual thread when removing the loops.
Find the two ends, checking that they are not tangled.
Push the button at the bottom of the pole up. The arms will expand.
Place the ring around the arms. Adjust as necessary.
Connect the thread to the bobbin winder.

Find the end that is on the outside. This is the one you need to connect to the bobbin winder.
Slide it through the metallic thread guide and the slot at the top of the spindle.
It is now attached
Create a yarn cake

Start turning the spindle slowly. The skein yarn will begin to spin, creating the center pull cake.
Use your other hand to guide the yarn between the instruments. It helps you to have control over the tension.
Increase the winding speed slightly. Make sure everything continues to run smoothly.
You'll have the results of your beautiful cake in no time!
Remove the thread

In one hand, hold the yarn with your pincer fingers in the slot at the top of the winder.
Use the other hand to ease the cake of yarn.
Unwind a length of yarn from the ball. Wrap it around the middle a few times and place it at the end.
Tada, you're done!

How to make a yarn cake by hand?
Make a ball winder for yourself, use a nostepinne or use an everyday household object, such as a turkey, rolling pin or similar long cylindrical object.

There you have it, ready to venture into the world of DIY and create something useful, functional, and something you can be proud of? I hope you find this post useful.

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best wooden yarn winder
Yarn Winder

Best Wooden Yarn Winder Guide

If you're working with skein-packed yarn, a wooden yarn winder is an essential knitting tool. A handy gadget for winding yarn onto center pull balls or cakes.

Many hand-dyed yarns are often sold in skeins, and weaving straight from the skein is problematic - you'll be a tangled mess before you know it!

Yarn winders are best used in conjunction with a fast yarn. I've reviewed a couple of the most popular wood swifts available. You save so much time using a yarn winder, and the resulting yarn is a joy to work with. The yarn cake shape is like a cylinder, flat on the top and bottom.

This allows for less movement when you're knitting. I have wound a lot of yarn by hand into balls. If it escapes from my knitting bag, it pulls away very easily!

Wooden yarn winders look lovely in a craft room, and make less noise when winding.

I've reviewed the best options with a range of price points. There is something to suit people on a budget and for those who plan to do a lot of winding and are looking for a heavy duty option.

Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder - Best Overall Wooden Yarn Winder
Fiber Artist Supply Co Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder
Fiber Artists Supply Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder is a well made product that makes winding easy. All surfaces are finely sanded, so your yarn will not snag. You can separate the entire unit in less than a minute.

Pro

Ball bearings mean the winder spins almost effortlessly.
A well-balanced main winding assembly allows users to choose to wind with or without a table clamp.
It can wind up to 1lb of fingering weight yarn and 10 oz of combed weight yarn.
One year warranty from date of purchase against manufacturer's defects.
Disadvantage

Requires space for use
Check today's price
Here is the Maple Jumbo Yarn Winder in action.


Halcyon Heavy Duty Wooden Spinning Ball Winder
Heavy Duty Halcyon Yarn Ball Wooden Ball Winder
Made of maple wood
Reel up to 1 lb balls
Steel and commercial quality, heavy-duty Swiss gears
Yarn guide arm can rotate 180 degrees to allow for 5 different angles
Includes 2 heavy-duty table clamps that allow mounting to up to 2.5″ table thickness
One year limited warranty
More Info.
Nancy's Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder - Best Heavy Duty 16 Ounce Wooden Yarn Winder
Nancy's Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder.
This winder is heavy duty and can wind up to one pound of yarn (16 oz) at a time. Easy to use and does not require much assembly. Made of strong, durable materials with an ergonomic design.

Wood is quality maple, looks beautiful installed on a table. Made in the USA with Swiss made gears. (The Swiss know their gears).

The spindle capacity is perfect for a person in the market for a larger, more durable ball winder. One tool to wind all those big skeins.

A considerable investment but well worth it. Excellent value for how long it lasts. It's a workhorse! Think of all the projects you will be doing.

Pro

Nancy Knit-Knacks heavy duty ball winder can finish up to 1lb. simultaneously.
It comes fully assembled with you just put the handle and yarn guide on it.
It has a sleek ergonomic design and focuses more on using your arm to wind.
Smooth operation and makes very little noise.
It can be adjusted in several ways. Can change the yarn ball at five different angles in relation to the positioning of the machine.
Guaranteed to be easy to use and comfortable.
Flexible options for yarn ball tension and size.
Requires little assembly. Easy to use.
Made in the USA from maple wood and has Swiss gears.
It has a one-year warranty and an option to add an electric motor.
It has excellent ratings and customer reviews.
Disadvantage

A small chance of experiencing thread tangling and overwinding.
Note: Some users found that they can wind on cardboard cones using this winder.

Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Knitters Pride Signature Ball Winder - Best Budget Selection
Knitters Pride Natural Ball Winder
Pro

Winds up to 1lb fingering weight yarn
Anti-friction bearing on the side of the spool for free rotation.
Good quality bearing provides super smooth yarn winding.
Non-skid rubber pads prevent the winder from slipping and scratching the table.
Disadvantage

Some customers found the thread cakes to be looser.
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Weaver's Pride Nostepinne
Weaver's Pride Nostepinne
A simple design with no moving parts. It is like a polished and carved stick.

Made of wood with a varnished finish. The carved handle is comfortable to hold. There is a groove at the top for tying yarn to start winding.

Pro

Creates center pull balls
Great budget option
Disadvantage

Can only wind as fast as you are capable of
Using too much tension while winding stretches the thread.
Click to learn more / Buy on Amazon
The following products are made of wood, but they are yarn swifts. They are ideal for holding the skein of yarn in place instead of using the backs of dining room chairs. They spin freely while a yarn winder is winding the yarn into cakes.

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Winder
Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Winder
A solid, medium-sized Swift umbrella made from birch wood material with a finely sanded finish. Overall construction and performance ensures it will last for years.

Capable of handling 6-foot circumference skeins. When working, it is fairly quiet, and the turning is smooth.

The manufacturer selects pieces of wood without scars or blemishes. These twine swifts are less vulnerable to breakage and have a beautiful even sanded finish.

The ends of the metal tying wires are hidden in the holes. There are no rough edges to hurt your hands or snag the twine.

Pro

Holds up to 6 feet skein in circumference.
Can be fastened to various surfaces, 1 3/4 inch thick, such as tables, benches or chairs.
Very sturdy construction made of quality wood.
Swivels effortlessly
Packs down for storage.
Disadvantage

On rare occasions, the screw portion of the clamp can sometimes crack, but screw replacements are available.
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Ella Lin Wooden Umbrella Swift Winder
Ella Lin Wooden Umbrella Swift Winder
A swift is used in conjunction with a yarn winder. The skein is placed over the arms of the swift, and the end of the yarn is attached to the winder. Operate the winder, and the rapid rotates.

Pro

This rapid is made from natural birch wood with a highly sanded finish, so your yarn won't snag.
Easy to set up.
Able to operate with both hands free.
Disadvantage

Table clamp may scratch some surfaces.
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Store for good yarn yarn

What is a wooden thread winder?
A yarn winder is a tool used to wind yarn from a skein to make center-pull yarn cakes.
What is the best wooden thread winder?
The best thread winder is made of sturdy materials with gears that are smooth when in operation.

Why do I need a wooden yarn winder?
You need a yarn winder to make crocheting easier. Working from a skein without winding it first is no fun. Creating neat yarn cakes with a pull center makes working your crochet projects a breeze.

No more tangled yarn monsters!

How do you use a wooden yarn winder?
To use a wooden yarn winder, follow these steps:

Attach the winder to a flat surface with the clamp provided.
Find the end of the thread and place it in the slot of the bobbin.
Pass the yarn through the yarn guide
Slowly turn the crank handle and the bobbin is wound up
Continue turning the crank until the skein is completed into a yarn cake.
A wooden yarn winder is a worthwhile investment for your crocheting activities. Made with quality materials and built to last, one of these is sure to bring you crocheting joy for years to come.

I hope this information helps you choose which one is right for you. If you have any questions, get in touch or send me a message on Twitter.

Happy Crocheting!

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Royal Ball Winders Guide
Yarn Winder

Complete Royal Ball Winders Guide

The Royal Ball Winder was a favorite of many people in the past. Some people still have theirs and continue to enjoy this model.

It has not been in production for many years. As far as I can tell, it is not likely to return to the market.

Why was it so popular? Made of plastic, small, lightweight and easy to carry. The price point suited people on a budget and it wound about 4 ounces of yarn.

There are other yarn winders as good as the Royal Ball Winder. Below I share the models that are comparable. What is the best ball winder for yarn?
Stanwood Needlecraft 4 oz. ball winder
Stanwood Needlecraft 4 oz. Yarn Ball Winder
This easy-to-use hand winder makes 4 oz. ball center pull yarn cakes. Say goodbye to a tangled mess of yarn! Clamps to a variety of furniture. Made of strong materials and easy to crank, one person operation.

If you wind from swifts, it's best to buy one with this winder. This is the product from the same company, which I talk about in my best Yarn Swift review.

Pro

Makes small 4.Oz. center-pull balls, ensuring you'll never have a tangled mess.
The table clamp has a range of about 1 3/4" so you can attach it to a variety of tables, shelves or a chair.
Made of quality, strong materials.
Easy to crank, made with sturdy metal. Operation makes the balls smooth and easy to roll.
Easy to order and buy online.
Great value for money.
Does not take up too much space.
Cons What is the best yarn ball winder?
Stanwood Needlecraft 4 ounce yarn ball winder.
Stanwood Needlecraft 4 Ounce Yarn Ball Winder
This easy-to-use hand winder makes 4 oz. ball center pull yarn cakes. Say goodbye to a tangled mess of yarn! Clamps to a variety of furniture. Made of strong materials and easy to crank, one person operation.

If you wind from swifts, it's best to buy one with this winder. This is the product from the same company, which I talk about in my best Yarn Swift review.

Pro

Makes small 4.Oz. center-pull balls, ensuring you'll never have a tangled mess.
The table clamp has a range of about 1 3/4" so you can attach it to a variety of tables, shelves or a chair.
Made of quality, strong materials.
Easy to crank, made with sturdy metal. Operation makes the balls smooth and easy to roll.
Easy to order and buy online.
Great value for money.
Does not take up too much space.
Disadvantage

Can only create smaller balls, not a big deal. This means you may have to cut a larger ball into two pieces.
Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Stanwood Needlecraft - Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder 10 oz - Heavy Duty
Stanwood Needlecraft large metal yarn/fiber/wool/chain ball winder - 10 oz.
If you are looking for a winder to handle larger amounts of yarn this is a great option. Manufactured by the same company as above, it can wind up to 10 oz of yarn and is made of heavy duty materials.

Click for more information / Buy on Amazon
Ball Winder Thread Winder - Real Replacement
Yarn Ball Winder - Real Replacement - Oregon Woodworker
Oregon Woodworker has found the Stanwood Needle Craft 4 oz version to be a great replacement for the Royal Yarn Winder.

Here's what they said:

"After an extensive search, we found a company that has duplicated the Royal Yarn Ball Winder, which is no longer in production."

"They have also added two improvements. It has a metal crank handle and the screw clamp is 1/2" longer."

Check today's price
Rosie's Real Spinning Ball Winder
Rosie's Royal Yarn Ball Winder
The Woolery offers a pattern very similar to the Royal. From what I can tell, it looks similar to the Stanwood mentioned above.

It appears to have the same design, colors and made of plastic with a metal handle.



It can only create smaller balls, not a big deal. This means that you may have to cut a larger ball into two pieces.How do yarn ball winders work?
Ball thread winders work by attaching one end of the thread to the ball winder, then follow these steps.

Slide the thread through the metal thread guide and into the notch in the plastic disc at the top of the winder.
Slowly turn the crank at the back of the bobbin winder in the direction indicated in the instructions with your bobbin winder. The ball forms in the winder.
Use your other hand to gently guide the thread.
The bobbin on the thread winder will spin and form a cake of thread.

Once the yarn comes to an end take the cake off the bobbin, tuck in the center pull end and the outer end.
Why do I need a yarn winder?
You need a yarn winder to save time and get back to what you love to do: crochet. If you like organized yarn, you'll enjoy making the neat yarn cakes that come from using a yarn winder.

Do you need a Swift to use a ball winder?
If you're going to be doing a lot of winding, having a swift is a good idea to use with a ball winder.

You won't have to use chair backs to lay your skein of yarn. Swifts allow you to have your hands free to concentrate on winding.

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electric yarn winder
Yarn Winder

Detailed Electric Yarn Ball Winder Guide

Most of the ball thread winders you find are manual, and they do a good job if you have the time. But what if you don't?

For some, winding yarn by hand is not a task they enjoy, or it's not possible since they have sore wrists or hands. It can also be very tiring if you suffer from fatigue or strain in your arms and shoulders.

Having an electric string ball winder is an attractive option. It solves all of the above problems, and is a very convenient tool. Standard Electronic Maple Yarn Ball Standard Ball Winder
Standard electronic electronic maple yarn ball ball winder by The KnitStore Etsy Store.
The Knit Store has 5 star reviews from their satisfied customers.
This is a simple plug & play operation and runs on 100-240v wall power. This winder can handle most commercially available skeins.
Ashford Electric Ball Winder
Ashford Electric Yarn Winder The Spinnery Etsy Store
The Spinnery has very happy customers sharing 5 star reviews.
Wind up to (17½ozs) 500gm of yarn.
Clockwise and counterclockwise winding balls.
Soft start allows you to control the yarn as it begins to wind onto the cone
Instant stop when you need it and includes a foot switch for better control of your yarn.
Mounted on rubber feet, one clamp included
12v electrical cord from the pipes included
Manufactured from beautiful New Zealand native silver beech wood with a lacquered finish

The Simplicity Boye electric thread winder
Simplicity Boye electric yarn ball winder
If you have done any searching, you would have found a model made by Boye: The Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Winder. Boye is a well-known company of knitting and crocheting tools and notions.

Buying a new one of these models is highly unlikely, as it doesn't seem readily available. You are more likely to find a second hand model. However, I don't think you should bother.

Although it sped up the process of winding the yarn by hand, it needed to be constantly monitored. Many customers found that the motor was not powerful enough and sometimes stopped working altogether.

Yarn store good yarn

Weaver Electric Yarn Winder
Electric Weaver Yarn Spinning Winder
A Hong Kong-based company created this model. It originated as a Kickstarter project, and after being adequately funded, it went into production.

This automatic yarn winder has several speeds, normal, fast and running. The last one allows you to press the button, and the machine will spin for as long as you hold it down.

The moment you take your finger off the button, it stops automatically. It also has an electronic rotation counter.

I have read the reviews, and they are poor. Most people felt that this product was not worth the money, as it did not work as they expected.

Customers found that the unit jumped all over the place when running, and did not make a neat and tidy yarn cake.

Check today's price
Beech 250G Electric Backing Spinning Winder
Beech Knitting Accessories Beech PDB3
The PDB 250g electric yarn winder will finish up to 250 gm / approximately 9 oz of yarn, depending on the type of yarn used.

A spare bobbin is also supplied. There is no automatic shut off on this motorized yarn winder. You have to turn off the thread winder once the bobbin is full.

A UK based company, but ships internationally. The winder will be the correct tension for the country it is being shipped to. However, you may need to fit a suitable plug in some countries.

More information from Hague Direct
I am yet to find an electric wire winder that will suit someone on a budget. I dare say that was why the Boye Electric Yarn Winder was popular in the past. It was cheaper than the previous options.

I'll be sure to update my post if I find something inexpensive but works well.

If you know of an electric yarn ball winder you recommend, get in touch here or send me a message on Twitter.

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crochet yarn winder
Yarn Winder

A Detailed Yarn Winder Guide For Crochet Lovers

What is the point of a yarn winder?

What an amazing thing the technology is! Once upon a time, these knitting technologies were not available, but now look.

They are incredibly useful implements, but like many wonderful gadgets out there, they are quite an investment. It's good to take some time to consider the options, their specifications, and their necessity in your life.

Here are some of the benefits of a winder.

They make it convenient, but the best is having space where you can set it up for your use, especially if you use it frequently, without having to take it apart every time you need the table for something else.

They can make your crochet or knitting performance so much easier! Useful for any crocheter, regardless of skill level.

Got a lot of scrap yarn lying around? You can use the yarn ball winder to use them up and turn them into cakes, ready to use for a project!

You can sort skeins/unused or partial skeins of different weights to keep your yarn stash organized.

If you're using a yarn that changes color, yarn winders help you know where it starts and ends. It's helpful if you want to separate them into pastels of each color.

Most styles create center-pull cakes, one of the best ways to store yarn and crochet from.

So much inspiration to be found in the magazine crochet us!

WHAT WILL YOU MAKE?

What is a yarn winder?

A tool with a rather self-explanatory name, it is designed to wind yarn. Designed so that the fibers are wound into neat cakes that are flat and pull from the center.

The balls of pulled yarn do not roll in all directions and can stay in one place when crocheting with them.

Do I need a yarn ball winder?

You need a yarn ball winder if you buy skeins or skeins if you crochet a lot if you want to keep your yarn stash organized. Think of all the neat center pull balls you'll create.

Or you have a lot of leftover hands or yarn lying around that needs to be tidied up.

Some of our readers have made their own DIY yarn winder. If you are planning to do a lot of winding, buying one that is built to last would be the easiest option.

How to fix a thread winder?

If your winder is producing yarn cakes that end up twisted, don't stress. Here's how to fix a thread winder.

Twist the cone-shaped bobbin off the base.

Grab a Phillips-head screwdriver. Remove the screw from the plate below where the bobbin normally sits. Remove the plate and set it aside.

The gears are probably out of alignment, and their teeth do not fit together. Ease the larger gear back from the smaller one until they fit, and the teeth come together.

Take the chainring and screw it back on.

Replace the coil. Done!

What are balls of yarn and cakes?

You create yarn cakes (some call them yarn muffins!) with a bobbin winder. You create balls of yarn by winding by hand.

I'll give a quick comparison of the results of each winding method - first, hand winding balls by hand.

Hand winding balls of yarn move in all directions and can pull from anywhere.

Quite slow and can become tedious after long periods.

Cumbersome because you need something to hold the skeins, such as the backs of two chairs.

If you pull directly on the skein, the yarn will inevitably tangle up

You can't inspect the yarn for knots or frayed spots easily

The shape of the ball may be uneven

Yarn winder cakes, however -

A yarn cake or muffin pulls from the center and spins in a neat, flat-sided circle.

The tail or end of the yarn is in the center, hence the name, center pull cake.

One crank of the handle is equivalent to hand winding 25 times. Different models have different speeds

Keep your unwound thread in one place by using an accompanying tool, a fast thread to hold it in one place.

You can inspect for knots as you wind

The methods are similar, but the thread winder has some great bonuses. (In addition to being much faster, obviously!)

Hooks, winders, swifts, organizers, bags, pouches and more

How to choose a yarn winder

There are so many different types and options on the market! It's hard to know what to choose to buy.

To help you decide, I've compiled a list of questions to ask when considering a yarn winder.

Hand crank or an electric ball thread winder?

Electric versions are more expensive and less portable, as they must be plugged into the power supply. The motor will make noise - but they're designed to wind yarn for you!

Manual winders are cheaper, can be set up anywhere, but the yarn is wound by hand.

Do you buy skeins or hanks?

If you use skeins, you should probably invest in a winder. This makes it much easier to use. Plus, you should get a fast yarn. It keeps the yarn from tangling and threads the yarn to the winder as a crank.

If you buy skeins, you don't need to wind skeins, but it certainly makes it easier!

How much are you willing to spend?

Consider your budget! There are ones for all budgets, but make sure you don't overspend.

In general, if you're willing, the more expensive yarn winders are a good value and will last for years. But if you are not willing to commit to such an expense, there are cheaper ones that work well.

Also, remember, depending on where you live and how heavy the yarn ball winder is, shipping such a large item can make it even more expensive.

Which material do you prefer? Wood or plastic?

Plastic winders are generally cheaper and easier to assemble. They also weigh less.

Wooden thread winders are more expensive, more difficult to assemble. Still, they generally last longer, are sturdier and often come in heavy-duty models. The gears are also usually better protected, preventing the thread from tearing if it accidentally slips.

Craft Store Brand Yarn Winders

Major craft stores and retailers have their own thread winder options. I have reviewed these thread winders in the following posts.

Do you manage the tension yourself or have the machine do it?

If you hold the thread while winding, you get two benefits. These are:

You're going to be in control and can stop it if necessary, and this prevents tangles.

The cakes are much tighter. More can fit on a cake.

Remember, you don't have to, and it's good to experiment to find what's most comfortable for you.

Some models can control the tension, so it is not necessary, but this is rare, and usually on very expensive models.

What size cakes do you need/prefer?

Keep an eye out for the size of cake that the product can create. It is one of the most important specifications, so read carefully.

Twine winders The cheaper end of the price spectrum generally contains 3.5 - 4 ounces of twine. The average size is 5-8 oz, with some high quality yarn winders holding 10 oz on the market.

The largest I have seen can hold up to 16 oz! This is one of the more expensive ones, and is a heavy duty ball winder.

Will you be using it to make partial or full skeins?

Are you going to wind all the skeins of yarn for one project at a time, or make some and then make more skeins as you go?

If you do the former, you'll probably need 5-8 oz. If the latter, 4 oz will be a good choice.

How will you store the yarn?

Skeins of yarn and skeins are very annoying to store - even a few hours in a box can create an incredibly tangled mess!

A wool winder can make it much easier to store and keep your yarn stash neat and tidy.

What to look for in ball yarn winders

Is it sturdy? - It's quite an investment, so you want something built to last! If you want quality that will last you for years, you'll have to be willing to shell out a little more.

In general, plastic materials don't last as long, but they're fine if they're well made. The table clamp should also be very sturdy!

Can it be easily cranked? - Ball winders should be easy to use, smooth and not difficult to pull. Even tension and speed are important to be maintained. Otherwise, the thread will pull and catch.

You don't want to feel that the handle is going to fall off at any time.

Is It Easy And Simple To Set Up? - No one wants to waste their time or energy, they want something easy to set up at home, and so they can get down to the business of projects right away! Small ball thread winders are a good idea.

Can you keep the tension even? - You want items that can keep even tension, with a little help from you. You shouldn't have to constantly watch it to see that it doesn't end up super tight or loose!

Are the gears protected? - Thread catching and snagging on the gears halfway through the bobbin is nothing short of annoying. It could catch the gears and break the thread. You want ball winders with well protected gears.

Are the table clamps steady? - They are best when they are steady, clamped well and securely without damaging or leaving marks on the surface it is attached to.

Do you have the space to accommodate this model? - When combined with a rapier, thread winders become quite large, and can take up a lot of space.

Not everyone has generous workspace areas or an empty area to accommodate such a large configuration.

Consider the measurements before you buy! If you buy a rapier, the umbrellas can be stored folded, but still take up space when in use.

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