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How to use a ball winder

How to Use a Ball Winder - a video from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

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Today, I’ve put together a little video to show you how to use a ball winder.

What is a ball winder?

A ball winder* is a handy device that allows you to make neat center-pull yarn balls (also called ‘cakes’). They’re a great alternative to hand-winding yarn, and contrary to popular belief, aren’t terribly expensive.

About the Lacis Ball Winder

Specifically, I’m going to show you how to use the ball winder that I own, the Lacis Wool Yarn Ball Winder*. Why this one?

In my opinion, this is the best ball winder for the at-home crafter: it’s inexpensive and very reliable. You can read my full review about the winder, by clicking here.

However, I’ve read some not-so nice things about this winder in online reviews: saying that it doesn’t work properly. Unless the reviewer received a defective model, I think the problems experienced come from improper installation/usage of the ball winder.

So, I’m going to show you how to install, tension and use the winder… and you’ll be a happy camper!

The Video

To view the window in full-screen mode (which is probably easier to see), click the icon in the lower right corner of the insert.

With proper installation and usage, I think you’ll find that your winder works like a dream!

Here are handy links to all the posts about yarn. . .

Return to the main table of contents for Let’s Learn to Crochet Amigurumi.

Move on to the lessons for the basic crochet stitches.

Happy stitching!


  1. My old roommate used that same chair with her ball winder. Looked exactly the same. Rather eerie to be watching your video, because I remember quite a few times working with that same setup.

    • Haha! Gotta love the ‘Ikea-style’ setup πŸ™‚

  2. I love my current ball winder ( but it is electric and noisy, which means that when I have the sudden urge to wind balls of yarn at 10 p.m., I can’t unless I want my next door neighbors to kill me. (Oh, the joys of apartment living!) I completely trust your review – and the fact that you’ve made a video so I can use it properly is even more awesome! – so now I’ll have to add the Lacis to my list :).

  3. nice video – you make it very clear. i don’t have a ball winder, but after watching, i kind of feel the need to wind my shelves of yarn into pretty little balls…i wonder if that would be space saving?

    • I love the look of nice balls on my shelf!
      I’m not sure if it’s space saving, but I find it very helpful for getting a nice look at all of my yarn at once… sometimes when they’re in skeins, I find them getting smooshed…

  4. This is a basic Q: but why the need for a winder in the first place? I just wind up the excess by hand, OR is this for spinning your own wool?

    • @Rachel-
      For me, it’s an issue of time. I work with a lot of yarn (sometimes I’m winding multiple skeins a day), and so the amount of time I save by using a winder is oodles!

  5. I think that’s the same ball winder I have! Great video!

  6. Max SAYS...

    Yippee, I just got the same ball winder!! And I had the exact same thing, all my ikea furniture is too thick. But I have the exact same chair too (LOL) so I’ll use that!! So smart! And thank you so much for the instructional movie, it;s so clear, very helpful. Do you have a special way to mark your balls of yarn, so you know what yarn it is?

    • To mark the balls, I take the ball band, fold it up and stuff it in the center of the wound ball πŸ™‚

  7. Tangerine SAYS...

    I just finally got a ball winder. I had been waiting to find a good price, and was on Ebay looking at replacement needles for a knitting machine, and on a whim I did a search for ball winder and there it was! Its base is exactly like yours and attaches exactly like yours (to my kitchen chair!) but it has a little spiny roller to guide the yarn into that crisscross pattern and a shorter tension rod. It also came with 2 cones, which you are supposed to use to wind, use, and store the yarn. The cones are smooth so all I have to do is slide my newly wound ball right off. I am so tickled about this, I had several hanks of yarn that I hesitated to use or wind into a ball because of some tangly experiences in my past and because of renegade yarn balls I had to chase. Love this thing!

  8. Sara Romine SAYS...

    I’m shopping for a new ball winder, my old one stripped after years of use. Lately I’ve been winding by hand using my knees which is not ideal, time to bite the bullet and get a new ball winder, lol.
    Still not sure which one to get, there are quite a few out there and I’m not a knitpicks fan, their stuff is kinda junky.
    Any thoughts on the above list of yarn winders or what truly is the best one available that won’t break on me?