How to Hand Wind A Center-Pull Ball or Bobbin

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!

Keep Learning:

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

About Liat Gat - Founder

Hi, I'm Liat, founder and video knitting expert at If you liked this article, you'll love the tips you learn from our FREE video knitting newsletter. Get it now by subscribing here.
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10 Responses to How to Hand Wind A Center-Pull Ball or Bobbin

  1. Linda McMillan says:

    wow, Liat what a great tip.
    Thanks for posting this, will be using this for sure.

  2. MJ says:

    so simple, but so great…I love it!!
    thanks again :)

    • liatmgat says:

      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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  5. ADRIENNE DOLD says:

    Have you ever used this for winding an entire ball of yarn?

    • Liat Gat says:

      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.

  6. Sydnie says:

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

  7. Eva Tramm says:

    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.

  8. Lydia says:

    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!

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