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How to Hand Wind A Center-Pull Ball or Bobbin

Liat Gat - Founder

January 4, 2011

To keep your yarn remnants orderly, wind them into a center-pull ball, or bobbin. These nifty little packets of yarn do not roll around like balls of yarn do. They simply dispense the yarn from the inside of the bobbin without coming undone.

What do you do with your leftover scraps of yarn? Do you wind them into little round balls? This method has some serious drawbacks…

Cat eating red yarn ball
"Don't worry - I got it!"

If you are tired of your balls of yarn rolling all over the floor, attracting unwanted “help” from your cats, picking up fuzz, and tangling in your yarn basket, all you have to do is learn how to create a center-pull ball, or bobbin.

Back of knitting Intarsia with two bobbins
Bobbins are used in color-knitting to keep small pieces of yarn separate

These little figure-eight bundles are really fast to wind.

You can also pull your working yarn straight from the center – keeping your yarn neatly tucked in your purse and not adventuring all over the house.

Bobbins are also used in Intarsia knitting to keep small amounts of different-colored yarn tidy and separate while you knit your color chart.

Another time you will likely use this technique is when you’ve unraveled part of your project and find yourself with 20 yards of unraveled yarn. Now you’ll know how to keep it safe!

How To Hand-Wind A Center-Pull Ball or Bobbin
How To Hand-Wind A Center-Pull Ball or Bobbin

If you liked this tutorial on how to hand-wind a center-pull ball, post in the comments!

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17 thoughts on “How to Hand Wind A Center-Pull Ball or Bobbin”

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  1. I have the silicone bobbins from Knitpicks, which I have always loved, but this is so much better! I have tiny- to mid-sized balls of leftover yarn everywhere, in addition to which I can now make a bobbin anytime if I am in the middle of a project or starting a new one when I’m out and about. I love it when a tiny new piece of information or skill like this can make such a big difference in one’s arsenal! Thanks so much, Liat!

  2. Wow! Glad to learn this. No more small balls of yarn rolling around all over the place. Thanks for posting this.

  3. Grand tip! I’ve been taught other ways to do this and none of them worked…did this and my yarn stash looks so much better.. I love how you mentioned “Now were going to look like Spock for a bit.” I’m a huge Trekkie so it’s great when my nerd side combines with knitting! Now when I think of Spock I’m going to see a picture in my mind of him winding yarn around his fingers making a bobbin…How cute!

  4. Hi Liat Gat,

    That was very nice. I’ve seen others do this where they seem to keep the yarn very neat, keeping the rounds lying side by side. You showed that that wasn’t necessary–you could overlap, which may be necessary depending on how much yarn you plan to wind into a bobbin or ball. I also liked that you pulled out the bobbin of yarn, from beginning to end with no snags or knots. Thank you very much.

  5. Thanks for reposting this through email, just in time for my first bobbin project. And the photo is too cute!

    1. Yep, that’s what I had to do for all the yarn I bought in Argentina, where I had no ball-winder. Sometimes if the ball is big I just wind it into a regular ball that pulls from the outside.

    1. It’s SO much easier to deal with your scrap yarn when you know how to do this. Helps you make friends at knit night, too! :)

      Thanks for commenting!

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