Yarn Winder Facts – Budget Guide & Best Currently Available

Do you hate messy yarn? You need a yarn winder.

Yarn Winder Feat Img

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My Quick Recommendations

Note: The above links take you to further information, current prices, and customer reviews on Knit Picks, and Etsy.

Want a more in-depth comparison than this list? Read my yarn ball winders reviews below.

Yarn winders make knitting much easier and save time. The benefits of this alternative to your tired hands are many.

For yarn ball winders, there are many options.

  • Hand-operated models
  • Winders made of beautiful wood
  • Electric yarn winders

Knitting and crocheting technologies benefit knitters who want to be efficient. It’s the perfect solution to your messy yarn collection problem!

Table Of Contents

What Is The Best Yarn Winder?

Beisaqi Winder

Beisaqi Winder Check Price On Amazon

Lightweight, portable, and easy to install. Ideal for smaller yarn balls.

Once wound, you can easily place your skeins or hanks in a yarn bowl and knit or crochet with them. It’s easier and keeps the yarn organized!

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – It’s predominately made of plastic, but it’s still durable
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – Yes, and barely makes any noise
  • What Sizes Of Yarn Balls? – 3-4oz depending on the yarn thickness
  • Easy To Set Up? – Little assembly required, however you might find the instructions confusing

Product Design

Designed to be as lightweight as possible for ease of use.

Pros

  • Weighs little
  • Makes a yarn cake with a center-pull
  • Stable frame
  • Place on your desk or bench while you work
  • Noise from this device is minimal
  • Perfect for examining yarn for imperfections and tangles
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Ships to your country for a reasonable price

Cons

  • Instructions aren’t so clear
  • Some found the spindle won’t stay in place

Check out my post on the best self-striping sock yarn to use with your new winder.

Maple Wood Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder

Fiber Artist Supply Co Jumbo Maple Yarn Winder

Handcrafted from maple wood, this knitting tool is an efficient worker.

Place it on your workspace, the ground or tabletop, or clamp it to an edge. It’s portable and easy to use. The design is charming.

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – Designed to last a lifetime
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – Easily wind large yarn balls with easy-turn handle design
  • What Sizes Of Yarn Balls? – It winds approximately fingering weight yarn – 1 pound or ten ounces of worsted weight yarn
  • Easy To Set Up? – Assembling it is easy

Product Design

It’s handmade in a workshop in Ohio, and it’s made to order for each person. They also sell replacement parts so your winder lasts longer!

Product Evolution

It’s one of the most highly rated and popular yarn winders in this store for a good reason! Simple to use, and looks lovely.

They sell swifts too, so use them with each other for a great experience.

Pros

  • If you have wrist problems, there is less strain
  • Effortless winding
  • Steel and wood parts are replaceable
  • Winders designed for years of use and durability
  • Made in the United States
  • Five-star reviews and customer ratings in multiple places
  • The spindle capacity of this signature mega wool winder is large
  • Parts made from hard maple, and maple veneered plywood
  • Guaranteed for one year
  • It can be used for almost any yarn skein. Get ready to conquer your scrap yarn and yarn stash!
  • Convert yarn hanks into compact center-pull yarn balls
  • Clamp or place on a work surface
  • Dimensions don’t take up much space
  • Designed ergonomically
  • The information booklet contains simple instructions
  • If you have questions, the customer service is excellent

Cons

  • If you use it frequently, it needs cleaning
  • Only ships to the US

What is some yarn suitable for arm knitting? Here are some suggestions.

Knit Picks Yarn Winder

Knit Picks Yarn Winder

Unlike most winders, this one pivots. This style is comfortable if you have pain in your hands and wrists.

Create a center pull yarn ball with ease. Get more in the review below.

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – Excellent, but might not last as long as yarn winders made of wood
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – With minimal effort, you can crank the handle
  • What Sizes Of Yarn Balls? – It makes 3.5 oz balls, perfect for a lightweight thread
  • Easy To Set Up? – Setting up a three-step process

Product Design

All Knit Picks exclusive products are designed for affordability and quality, despite the budget price. It may seem cheap, but it’s an excellent yarn winder.

The website is well designed, making it easy to add things to your cart, and everything is in a convenient location.

Product Evolution

To save, get these in discount bundles with a swift and winder. Use them in tandem for the best setup.

(Sign up for their emails to also get deals on things like knitting needles and knitting accessories. Use the intuitive filters on their store to find what you need.)

Pros

  • The price is cheap. It’s good if you’re on a tight budget
  • Ideal for small projects or lightweight yarn
  • This thing clamps to tables without scratching them
  • Even though it’s mostly plastic, it’s sturdy. It has a metal yarn guide.
  • There are arrows on the crank that show which way to turn
  • This is a great yarn winder for beginners
  • It is small and can be stored in its box
  • Great star rating
  • Ships to your delivery address cheaply
  • Directions on the carton are user-friendly
  • Set it up for comfort and ease of use in any position
  • If you have arthritis or tendonitis, this is good for you
  • Portable, even when in operation
  • It’s easy to take with you, so you can create a center pull ball anywhere
  • Pull thread yarn balls mean your yarn comes out from the center

Cons

  • Hank cranks aren’t as fast as some of the bigger models
  • The size of this is smaller than others
  • If using smaller weight yarns, take care, as it might slip from the spindle, though this rarely happens

What yarn is best for crochet? Learn more in my guide.

U-nitt Metal Jumbo Yarn Winder – 10 oz

U-nitt Metal Jumbo Yarn Winder - 10 oz Check Price On Amazon

The heavy-duty yarn winder (aka spinning wheel) is easy to assemble and clamps to a table without damaging it.

There are two metal swing arms, one to hold the yarn, and the other to keep tension, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

With the winder, center-pull yarn cakes can be made neat and compact. This needle is ideal for many yarn weights and can handle larger hanks of yarn.

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – The components are built to last
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – Yes, and it’s effortless to transform yarn hanks into a neat tangle free single ball
  • What Sizes Of Yarn Balls? – Winds up to 10 ounces of yarn
  • Easy To Set Up? – Effortless, no assembly required!

Product Design

Created for people wanting to balance a quality jumbo winder with an economical price. The rubber pads underneath near the table clamp prevent any damage to the surface.

Pros

  • Cogwheels and gears operate smoothly
  • The spindle of this item is sturdy
  • Winding yarn is a straightforward task for anyone
  • Manufacturer’s warranty of one year
  • These supplies have a 5 star rating
  • Easy shopping experience
  • The bobbins winds large, flat-sided hanks into a ball of yarn
  • Fits a surface up to 2 1/8″ thick
  • These items are easy to assemble, there’s almost only one part to put together
  • The machines have a construction of cast iron

Cons

  • It squeaks
  • You can’t control the tension if you go too fast
  • Because the gears are plastic, they might not last as long as metal ones
  • It’s an investment, but worth it for a knitter

Want some high quality yarn for knitting? Read my review of the best.

Handcrafted Nostepinne

HolmgardTrading Wooden Nostepinne with green yarn wound on it with a skein of yarn in blue next to it.

Finished in varnish on wood. Handles are carved to provide comfort. To wind the yarn, there is a groove at the top. Start at the top with a hitch knot. The other groves serve as decoration.

If you have limited space and are happy to wind yarn by hand, consider a Nostepinne. The design is simple and elegant, and the natural color and details are lovely.

Wool winders like these are perfect for winding yarn hanks and yarn skeins. These hand crank winders are the ancestor of modern yarn ball winders.

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – Made with a single piece of hand-turned wood for the most durability
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – As you hand-wind it, there’s no handle, only the simple stick design of the Nostepinne
  • What Sizes Of Balls Of Yarn? – It makes small balls, best used with finer weight yarns or smaller amounts of thick yarn. Avoid bulky yarn though!
  • Easy To Set Up? – Effortless, no assembly required!

Product Design

It’s handmade by a woodworker with local materials of beeswax and cherry wood.

The beauty might provide you with inspiration to continue with your project!

It’s one of the best Nostepinnes on the market.

Product Evolution

Want a cheaper version? Check out the Yarn Valet .

It’s lightweight, comfortable, and has a compartment for stitch markers and notions.

Pros

  • Simpleness is a characteristic in this tool for winding yarn loops
  • Many ratings with 5 stars
  • Produces center-pull balls
  • Shipping is free in the United States
  • An affordable price
  • This type of winder is a budget-friendly option
  • Transportable, as the length isn’t too large
  • Great shopping experience on this site. If you have issues, they’ll help
  • Shipping to the United Kingdom
  • It’s a great experience shopping with the seller

Cons

  • It’s only possible to wind as fast as you can
  • The shape and content of yarn vary depending on how you wind it
  • You’ll wind fewer cakes and they have less yardage
  • Too much tension will stretch the yarn
  • Not always in stock
  • You can’t use it in conjunction with a swift

Lacis II Yarn Winder

Lacis II Yarn Winder Check Price on Amazon

Perfect for winding leftover yarn into tidy yarn cakes. It’s one of the more portable yarn winders.

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – The components are built to last
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – Yes
  • What Sizes Of Yarn Balls? – Winds up to 4 ounces of yarn
  • Easy To Set Up? – Setup is simple

Product Design

A moderately priced, no-nonsense winder for medium-sized yarn balls.

Pros

  • Ideal for winding hanks, strands and leftover skeins into yarn cakes
  • It winds yarn without cones or tubes
  • The instructions are simple
  • Smooth when in motion
  • A great addition to any knitter’s toolkit!

Cons

  • Sometimes, the arm slips
  • Can’t handle large amounts of fibers

Lacis Jumbo Yarn Winder

Lacis Jumbo Yarn Winder Check Price on Amazon

Winds the yarn diagonally and creates yarn cakes. Works well with different types and weights of yarn.

The machine can handle yarns of all weights, from bulky to laceweight. To ensure no difficulty, experiment with different yarn and tensions.

Included is a screwdriver with a magnetic tip. Useful for installing screws.

How Does It Compare?

  • Construction & Materials Sturdy? – Long-lasting
  • Easy & Smooth To Crank? – Yes!
  • What Sizes Of Yarn Balls? – Winds up to 7 ounces of yarn
  • Easy To Set Up? – The pieces are simple to set up

Product Design

It’s a bigger version of the previously mentioned model, designed for winding more yarn at once to make your life easier!

Pros

  • This winder is great for winding regular yarn and threads in your home
  • A feature is it winds a larger amount of yarn than most tools
  • It’ll withstand many winds and creates wonderful results

Cons

  • In the beginning, go slowly until you get the hang of it

What To Look For In Yarn Ball Winders

Here are some key decision-making factors to consider when choosing the best yarn winders.

Are The Construction & Materials Sturdy?

Choose a product that is built to last. The best ones are made of hardwoods (like birch wood, rosewood, or beech wood) and metal.

If they are plastic, make sure they won’t break. Tools in these material categories are flimsier than others.

Make sure the gears are protected. The Yarn gets caught if it slips underneath the gears. Sturdy models protect the gears better.

You need table clamps that won’t damage the surface of your craft room table.

Is It Easy & Smooth To Crank?

What you need is something that cranks hard. Operating the crank should feel smooth and even without pulling lots on the yarn.

The best yarn winder machine needs to feel sturdy and not like it’s going to break!

They’re hard to find, but if you don’t fancy doing the winding, let an electric yarn winder do it for you! Just set it up, and let it take care of the rest.

What Sizes Of Yarn Balls Does It Suit?

Think about your regular purchases of yarn. Is the diameter and weight small hanks, up to 4 oz, or larger skeins and hanks up to 10 oz (10 ounce)?

Based on their experience, here are the recommendations of experts.

  • If you want to wind smaller cakes, look for a winder that can handle up to 4 ounces
  • Larger cakes should be wound with 10oz winders
  • Use heavy-duty winder models made of sturdy materials for anything above

Is It Easy To Set Up?

For beginners, you want something quick, easy, and simple. Make sure the height is the right size for where you want to set it up.

Which Is Best For You?

  • Beisaqi Winder – My top pick for a good medium-sized winder
  • Maple Wood Jumbo Yarn Ball Winder – The ultimate in luxury, quality and durability. If you can afford it, I highly recommend it
  • Knit Picks Yarn Winder – The definite budget pick for the beginner
  • U-nitt Metal Jumbo Yarn Winder – 10 oz – An excellent, more affordable jumbo ball winder than the one previously mentioned
  • Handcrafted Nostepinne – Get back to basics with this beautiful handcrafted tool. Excellent if you have limited space or you travel
  • Lacis II Yarn Winder – A great midrange choice for any crafter
  • Lacis Jumbo Yarn Winder – If you like the design of the smaller Lacis model, but need to wind more yarn, get this one

Q&A

Here you’ll find answers to a question you might have.

How Do Yarn Ball Winders Work? – What Does A Yarn Winder Do?

Are you tired of using chair backs? There’s no denying it, you probably are! As good as an alternative as they are, they’re still a hassle.

Here are some reasons you should use one to wind your yarn. Tangled yarn is the worst!

Hanks are long, twisted forms. Hand-spun or hand-dyed yarns often have this shape. Typically, craft stores/online retailers sell fibers in skeins.

Turn them into center-pull balls or cakes to make knitting and crochet easier.

You can use these tools to inspect your yarn for knots or weak points.

Some yarn stores will wind them for you. You save time, but don’t accept unless you plan on using the Yarn soon. The longer you don’t use the yarn, the less elastic it becomes. By using a ball winder, you can choose when and where to wind.

Balls And Cakes: What’s The Difference?

Here’s a quick rundown for a handy example.

A Ball

  • Hand-wound
  • The ball is wrapped around until it forms a bigger ball
  • You can’t pull the tail end from the center
  • Tail end takes some effort to pull free
  • It has a round shape

A Cake

  • Winded using a winder
  • String is wound around a cylindrical bobbin or spool
  • It’s easy to remove the yarn tail from the center
  • Yarn tail effortlessly comes away from the ball, often in less than a second
  • The top and bottom of the cylinder are flat

Commercially wound yarns are often loose. This makes storing them easy. However, they do not maintain consistent tension throughout a pattern project.

Create an even tension with a winder.

Some yarns, such as Lion Brand Mandala and Caron Cakes, change colors. Rewinding has the advantage you can wind it into separate colors.

Why Do You Need A Yarn Winder? – Is It Worth Buying A Yarn Winder?

Doing this manually can be meditative, but it’s time consuming. A yarn winder is helpful here! Yarn winders do most of the work for you.

Use this tool to wind yarn into a hank, a ball, or a skein for your knitting or crocheting masterpieces. This tool makes your life easier!

Also, no need to get friends or family members involved in the process. Might make life easier for a couple.

Are you ready to make the switch?

LoveCrafts

How Do You Make A Homemade Yarn Winder?

Be handy with woodworking to make one. However, if you’re up for the challenge and have plenty of patience, check out the videos on YouTube below.

Your yarn storage will be much neater after they teach you everything you need.

Want to see how one might make a motorized version? See this video on making electric winders.

Or want to make something quickly out of cardboard? Try this one and cheaply create your compact center pull cakes!

Can You Use A Yarn Winder Without A Yarn Swift?

Yes, you can use a yarn ball winder without a yarn swift, however, you need to wind super slowly to ensure the yarn doesn’t get tangled.

Here is a wonderful video tutorial by Stacey at Very Pink Knits. The swift holds the yarn as you wind it.

To save time, use a yarn winder and yarn swift together.

Using a ball winder does not require a Yarn Swift. Using a yarn swift, however, makes winding easier, and saves time. Knitters and crocheters just want to make!

Yarn hanks can be held in place while you wind them in the winder. Watch this video to see it in action.

What Is A Yarn Winder Called?

The yarn winder is also called a ball winder, clockenhen, clock reel, knitty knotty, niddy noddy, nostepinne, spinners weasel, and skein winder.

Where To Buy Yarn Winder Online

Get them on Etsy, Amazon or KnitPicks!

How To Assemble Yarn Winder

Getting ready to wind can be a confusing process. Here’s what you need to know.

Some of you use a Yarn Swift to hold yarn skeins or hanks with your yarn ball winder. You can hold yarn on the back of a dining room chair if you like!

  • Choose a sturdy bench or table
  • Put a piece of cloth over the top to protect the surface or counter
  • Make sure your yarn has enough space to sit
  • The ideal distance between your ball winder and yarn swift is 12-18″
  • To secure each to the table edge, use the clamps at the base
  • Tighten the bolts

How To Prepare The Yarn And How To Thread Yarn Winder

  • Remove the ties holding the yarn together from the hank or skein. Be careful if you’re using scissors. Be careful not to cut the yarn! Check for twists and make sure the yarn is in a circle
  • Identify the two ends. Make sure they’re free of the skein
  • Some yarn swifts look like umbrellas, hence their name umbrella swift
  • As you raise the knob at the bottom of the pole, the arms spread out
  • The yarn loop needs to fit around the outside of the arm-span. Depending on the loop size, adjustments may be needed
  • Gently tug the yarn end to see if the swift spins freely

Connecting The Yarn To The Ball Winder – The Next Step

  • On the outside of the skein of yarn, you will find the end
  • Attach this end to your winder.
  • Insert the yarn end through the metal yarn guide arm and into the slit/notch at the top of the winder bobbin/spindle
  • This will ensure a smooth flow
  • From this end, you can access the working yarn

Creating Your Center Pull Yarn Cake

  • Crank the handle, and the yarn ball winder spins the yarn into a cake. Wind the yarn slowly at first
  • To control the tension, guide the yarn with your other hand
  • Make your speed a little faster. Make sure the ball winder and the metal yarn guide arm can swing
  • In no time, you’ll have a yarn muffin!

To make identifying the cake easier, place the yarn label inside the center of the cake.

Taking The Yarn Cake Out Of The Winder

  • On one hand, hold the thread in the slot at the top of the winder with your pincher fingers
  • With your other hand, slide the yarn muffin off the ball winder
  • The end you hold in your pincher fingers is the center pull end
  • Unwind a few feet of yarn from the outside
  • Wrap it around the middle several times and tuck it in
  • Voilà! The cake is ready. What fun!

Read Next – Want to further your fiber arts hobby? See my guide to cheap yarn here.

It might not be easy at first, but with practice, it gets easier

There you have a great source of information about yarn winders for a chance to make your life easier. Several knitting tools to suit your preferences. Also great for crocheting. (For more helpful tips, read my other articles.)

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