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Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder Guide

Nostepinne Yarn Ball Winder


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.


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

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

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.


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

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

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.


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

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

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.


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

Price includes free shipping in the U.S.

Made to order
Lightweight and very soft

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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