Here’s a simple way to make your own center-pull yarn ball if you don’t have a ball winder. It’s a great way to wind yarn that may have been purchased in a hank or wind yarn that has been pulled out to start over on a project. Either way, it’s an inexpensive alternative to a ball winder.
Making a Yarn Ball
If you are starting with a hank of yarn, untwist the hank and lay it out in a neat ring. Look for the little ties keeping the yarn held together. The ties may match your yarn or be different, and there may be anywhere from 2 to 6 of these ties. Snip all the ties off, but one of the ties will be the end of your yarn, so DON’T loose this end!
Place the end of your yarn into a pill bottle and close the lid with the yarn still in it. Start to wrap this end of the yarn around the outside of the pill bottle.
After wrapping the bottle a few times, it’s a good time to grab a friend. Have your friend hold open the loop of yarn as shown in the picture to help prevent tangles. Don’t have a friend? Try sitting on the ground with your legs out straight in front of you and loop it around your feet. (Although don’t get mad at me if your legs cramp!)
Continue winding around the pill bottle, angling and changing the direction of the winding so it begins to form a yarn ball as shown in the pictures. (Note – if you use a pill bottle with a rounded top edge as shown in the pictures DO NOT let the yarn slip above the top edge. If the yarn slides over the top edge, you won’t be able to pull the pill bottle out of the ball.)
When you get near the end of your yarn ball, wrap the last section horizontally around the ball to help hold it all together. Open the pill bottle lid and pull the bottle out from the center of the yarn ball.
Now that you have finished making your center-pull yarn ball, you can get back to knitting!
Additional Note: Michele left a comment below and gave me the best suggestion. She frequently uses recycled t-shirt and cotton fabrics for her projects and I realized a small pill bottle would get swallowed up pretty quickly on the bulky yarns. I poked around in my spice cabinet and found some much taller plastic bottles with lids (specifically a Molly McButter, haha) that would work great on super bulky yarns and recycled T-Shirts. Thanks Michelle!