(without any special equipment!)
So your beautiful yarn has arrived but, eeek, its not in a handy to use off the shelf ball. Do not knit directly from the skein whatever you do! I have heard tales that some people do knit from the skein but I cannot see any way that it isn’t going to end in the most horrible tangled mess.
If you have a swift and ball winder to hand then great but what if you aren’t set up for winding skeins? Until last year I didn’t own any winding equipment so this tutorial shows you how I did it.
But lets back up a little, what is the difference between a hank, a skein and a ball?
This is a commercial ball of yarn. Its what most UK knitters are familiar with as it is the most commonly stocked.
This is a hank or skein of yarn.
It tends to be higher end, artisanal yarns that are stocked like this. Why? When independent dyers dye the yarn it comes to them in skeins and is dyed and dried in the skein. Most dyers kept it in the skein because winding it into a ball would raise the cost of producing the yarn. Now some big yarn companies sell yarn in the skein too as it gives it an artisan image and a feeling of prestige to the yarn.
In the UK skein and hank are used fairly interchangeably but in the US a skein can also mean an elongated ball of yarn that has a centre pull.
Now we know what we are dealing with, lets get that baby wound and ready to knit or crochet from!
The first thing you need to do is prepare the skein for winding.
Gently open out the skein by untwisting it. It should now be in a large loop and will probably be tied in at least two places. Place the skein onto whatever will be holding it while you wind it. This is where a swift or a helper (husband/neighbour/patient child) can be useful as it/they hold it for you. Without these luxuries you have two main options:
or use two chairs back to back.
Either works just fine. If you have a bad back or aches and pains it may be best to go with the chairs as sitting with your knees up for extended might hurt you.
Carefully untie the knots holding the skein together. You will sometimes need to cut these away but avoid it if possible as it wastes precious yarn.
Do not untie the skein before it is held in position as it has a tendency to get out of order, any loops that fall out of place are wont to cause a tangle.
Once you have untied the skein you should be able to find an end. Gently pull the end and see if it comes away from the skein freely. If it does you are ready to wind. If it doesn’t then you will need to either find the other end and try that or gently manipulate the skein around to free the end a little.
Lets get winding!
Step 1: Wrap the yarn several times around two fingers.
Step 2: Remove from your fingers and wrap the yarn at 90 degrees so it looks like a bow.
Step 3: Turn the bundle 45 degrees and wind again.
Step 4: Turn the bundle 90 degrees and wind some more.
It should now be looking like a small ball. Continue winding moving the ball around so you are wrapping over a different area and keeping the shape nice and round.
As you wind the ball stay fairly close to the skein and move the ball around with the yarn as you wrap this stops more loops pulling off the skein as you lift the yarn. If extra loops come up then lay them back down before you continue working, this will help keep tangles to a minimum.
Don’t wind the ball too tightly, try not to stretch the yarn as you wrap it. This can stretch the yarn which can cause problems with your tension when you work with it they subsequently wash it.
You should know that these balls really like to go for a walk while you are knitting or crocheting with them. If you are having trouble pop the ball into a soup bowl (clean and empty of soup ideally!)
I hope you found this post useful. The yarn, in case you were wondering, is Manos Fino in Jewel – its beautiful!
This blog entry is my submission to the Deramores Blog Awards 2014. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies.
(if you are joining me via the blog awards page then HELLO! I hope you’ll enjoy a little look around my blog.)