Ball winders can quickly transform hanks of yarn into a center pull ball of yarn that is easy to knit from and won’t tangle. If you’re winding a center-pull skein into a ball, you don’t need to use a yarn swift. If your yarn comes in a hank, though, you need to use the ball winder with a swift. Otherwise, the hank of yarn will become very tangled if you try to wind it directly.
If you’re using a yarn swift, you can clamp the ball winder to a table top or counter edge a few feet across from the swift. The Knit Picks ball winder also has a little handle included, in case you’re short on space and can’t clamp the ball winder to a table, or you may prefer to hold the ball winder in your hand.
Once the hank of yarn is on the swift, pull out an end of the yarn and feed it through the metal guide of the ball winder and put it into the indention across the top of the spool center of the ball winder. This will grab the end of the yarn, so you can later knit from the center of the ball.
Now, start turning the handle of the ball winder. You will notice that the yarn swift will start to turn and the yarn will start winding around spool on the ball winder. Don’t turn the handle too quickly and try to keep a steady pace to avoid yarn tangles. Stop winding the yarn if a tangle develops and untangle any knots before proceeding.
Keep turning the handle until the yarn swift is empty. Close the yarn swift by unscrewing and lowering the tightening screw along the center spindle, just like a rain umbrella. Pull the center piece of yarn out of the spool in the center of the ball winder, and remove the ball of yarn from the spool with both hands.
Now you can start knitting your project!