When you buy enough yarn to finish a project, there’s often some left over.
The alternative, however, is to not have enough yarn. Which can be even more frustrating … especially if you’re trying to match dye lots. Or, if you’re blessed with hand-dyed, maybe there is no more of that dye lot.
After a project, sometimes there’s just not enough of a ball left to hold its shape. Leaving it unwound invites all kinds of tangled messes before you can use it.
For years, I rewound yarn the way I was taught as a child. You may have been taught the same way: wind around three or four fingers, and then slip it off and wind a ball. You’ve probably noticed the problem with this method: when using the yarn from the center, the center tends to pop out in a clump, sometimes with more yarn than you want … and sometimes with a tendency to tangle.
Of course, a ball winder will alleviate this problem: sometimes though it’s not convenient or in the budget. My sister, who spins, has a short dowel she uses to wind her yarn. She makes lovely yarn balls with it.
However, I keep forgetting to look for a dowel in my infrequent trips to the hardware store. So, I decided to improvise.
With a pencil!
Here’s the technique:
First, you wind a strand down and around the bottom. Since this is a small ball of yarn, I didn’t use the whole length of the pencil.
Wind horizontally next …
Then just wind your ball …
The yarn will slip off the pencil (or dowel), with the center loose enough to easily use.
The pencil was fine for small balls of yarn, but I needed something larger for bigger balls …
Next I tried a highlighter. Checking first to be sure it wasn’t leaking!
Not quite ideal because the diameter was larger than optimal, and it’s a bit difficult to pull off the highlighter.
A tapered end would work better, and the ball would slip off more easily. And, inspiration struck! 💡
One of my size 15 tips from my Denise Knitting Needles from Alpaca Direct! It’s the right diameter — more or less — and its tapered ends make sliding the ball off smooth and easy. Instead of wrapping the yarn around the end of the needle tip, I just made a U shape to start, then wound the ball.
And voila …