How to - Wind a Hank Into a Ball Without a Ball Winder or a Swift

Don't you just love all the lovely hanks you can find all over the internet! I love that so many moms have found ways to work from home and the yummy yarn that they spin and dye just makes me drool!!!!! BUT if you don't have a swift and a ball winder to wind the hanks into cakes then you can have a serious mess on your hands! Knotted, tangled yarn messes are avoided at all costs around this house! GAH!!! They take forever to fix!

I have a yarn ball winder and my 4 yr old makes a pretty good swift but sometimes the situation isn't perfect to wind up an entire hank. We were outside the other day, I was crocheting, my girls were playing and I ran out of yarn. I needed to wind up the next hank but no one was really in a "sit still and help mom" mood and honestly I was comfortable enough that I didn't want to get up and walk in the house and wind up the hank anyway, but I DID want to keep crocheting - dilema!

I decided to try something. When my 4 yr old acts as my swift all she really has to do is hold her hands apart. I figured I could probably get my knees far enough apart. And it isn't a requirement to use a ball winder, you can wind balls by hand. I've done it for years and I'm sure you have too! Here are some pictures to walk you through step by step how I went from hank to ball in about 10 minutes!

The hank I am using is from Expression Fiber Arts. She makes GORGEOUS yarn!!!

 First we start with the hank.

You will need to unwrap it and it will become one big circle. Drape that over your legs and pull your knees apart so that the yarn is tight. Cut off any scrap yarn that has been used to secure the ends of the hank. 

 Take one end and wrap it around two fingers a few times.

 Slide the yarn off your fingers, pinch it flat and begin wrapping the yarn around it. Keep going and it will grow and grow into what will become your ball.
 Then your ball will begin to grow and grow! Make sure you keep the yarn tight around your knees and don't let it slide off more then one strand of yarn at a time.

 Pretty soon you'll be here! A big beautiful ball of yarn that you can crochet or knit from with ease and no mess! Yay!!!!!!

Now you don't have to worry about buying and storing all that extra equipment! You've got everything you need with you wherever you go!

Be Happy!!

(In the pictures I am wearing the June Hostess Exclusive and Diamond Dust Jamberry Wraps. My Jamberry website is linked up at the top of this webpage under my banner logo.)
If you liked this tip there is a great one about using stitch markers HERE!


  1. I just spent quite a while typing up a tip - and it seems to have disappeared. So, to try again... The gist of my tip is to put your finger on the ball and wind the yarn over both of them. If you do this every few times you turn the ball, it will prevent stretching the yarn. The yarn will be "happier" over time and should not cause issues after the yarn has been stored, or if the project takes a while to finish (as many of mine do) the finished piece won't have problems when you block it. Hope this helps anyone who stores their yarn, or who takes a while to complete a project.

  2. If you go to 'Laughing Purple Goldfish' craft blog, she shows how to wind a ball to use from the inside...easy and excellent

  3. i always end up with a tangled mess so then I hand it to hubby who will wind it up for me :) he's awesome that way!

    1. Hahaha nice! We've been there. My hubby is good with knots. He's untangled a few for me that the kids have gotten into. I'm always ready to cut them all into little pieces! I get so frustrated! Thank goodness he is patient enough to fix them for me.


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