I've always imagined that it would be so much fun to own my own ball winder... to be able to make those adorable little perfect yarn cakes. But I was astounded at the cost. I decided to do a bit of research first to make sure I chose wisely before purchasing.
In the meantime, I learned a very simple technique for winding a centre-pull ball of yarn... and it cost me nothing. I'm not going to be buying a ball winder now! I have no need for one... I am totally happy with this method.
All you need is a cardboard tube and your own two hands!
The perfect size tube is the inner roll from toilet paper. Now I have learned that there are two different types of people in this world... there are those who happily recycle these cardboard tubes for any purpose... and there are those who see them as germ-infested breeding grounds, which must be disposed of immediately!!!
These photos are a tiny bit blurry... because it's actually quite difficult to photograph yourself while your hands are busy winding yarn...
I have taken the tube from inside a roll of baking paper, and will need to cut it down to about one third of the size. So it is about the size of a toilet roll!
Make a small snip in the end of the tube.
Tie the start of your yarn in a knot.
Slip the knot inside the snip you made at the end of the tube.
Slide your thumb inside the tube, and hold the yarn in place with your finger as shown.
Begin winding your yarn.
Wind it three times around the tube. See the way the yarn runs diagonally across the tube? Look carefully... it is moving up and to the left. This is intentional.
Tug gently on the yarn, and let the tube rotate a little on your thumb. Allow it to make about 1/4 turn, and then wind diagonally three more times.
Again tug gently on the yarn, and let the tube rotate a little on your thumb. Allow it to make about 1/4 turn, and then wind diagonally three more times.
Keep going... wind, wind, wind, tug... wind, wind, wind, tug... wind, wind, wind, tug... I find it easier to hold the yarn still in my left hand, and wind the tube around the yarn. Probably sounds crazy... but that's what works for me!
See the way I am always moving the yarn diagonally across the ball...
Continue in this manner until done. Once you develop your own technique, you will find that the tube moves easily in your hand, and you no longer consciously turn it. It feels a bit awkward at first... but persist with it until you work out a rhythm... it really is easy!
Tuck the end of your yarn under a couple of strands to secure (but not hide) it.
Free the knot from the snip at the end of the tube.
Carefully slide the ball from the cardboard.
Squish the sides of the ball to ease the tension on your yarn.
Ta-da! Tuck the centre yarn end inside the ball. Leave the knot there... it will make the centre end easy to locate when you are ready to use the ball.