When I am buying yarn, I am always happiest when it comes in ball or skein format. And if I can locate the end that’s stuffed in the middle so that I can pull the yarn out from there, all the better. I prefer a center-pull ball to a ball where the working end is on the outside, because it sits still nicely and doesn’t flop around in my project bag, or roll around the floor (as is often more likely).
Still, it’s not always practical to shop for yarn based on the format it comes in, and I quite often end up with a pile of hanks that need to be turned into balls. I don’t have easy access to a ball-winder, so I usually just start the ball winding on my fingertips like my grandmother taught me. The result? A ball with one end hidden inside and the working end on the outside. In other words, a ball that flops around in my project bag or rolls around on the floor as I use it.
Last year sometime, I found instructions for using a toilet paper roll to make a center pull ball. I liked the theory, but in practice it was clunkier than I liked. Yesterday I had a little brainstorm, and this is the result.
- Pencil, stick pen, or small dowel
- Masking tape
Tape one end of the yarn to the tip of the pencil, leaving a few inches for a tail.
Begin winding the yarn around the pencil, near the opposite end of it.
After you have wound about half of the yarn, push down on the pencil, so that the end is flush with the yarn ball. Continue wrapping the ball until you have run out of yarn.
Remove the tape from the pencil, and gently pull the pencil out of the ball.
Make something pretty, and enjoy your well-behaved yarn ball
Full disclosure: When I pulled the pencil out of this ball, the eraser didn’t come with it. I now have a pencil eraser somewhere in the middle of my yarn ball. I don’t know yet what kind of problems that will cause, but I recommend using a pencil that has no eraser, a small dowel, a stick pen, or the business-end of an unsharpened pencil. All of those options should work just fine.