How to Make a Yarn Winder

YARN BASKET image by brelsbil from

Things You'll Need

  • Electric mixer
  • Skein of yarn
  • Yarn swift
  • Plate
  • Toilet paper tube
  • Scissors

Knitters and crocheters use winders and swifts to turn skeins of yarn into knittable balls. A swift is a wooden contraption that folds out like a large wooden umbrella and holds the skein taut. The loose end of the yarn is threaded into the winder, which is then hand-cranked to wind the yarn. Yarn ball winders can be expensive, and must be mounted on a table or counter. If you have a swift, a household appliance can do double duty as a winder.

Put the skein of yarn on a swift. Expand the swift and snip off the bits of yarn tying the skein together.

Insert one beater into the mixer.

Cut a 1-inch slit in the top of the empty cardboard toilet paper tube. Slip the tube over the beater with the slit facing up.

Pull the loose end of the yarn from the outside of the skein on the swift. Insert 2 inches of it into the slit in the cardboard tube.

Lay the plate on a flat surface. Hold the mixer upright and press the tube gently against the plate.

Run the mixer on the slowest setting, keeping the bottom of the tube in contact with the plate. Guide the yarn with your hand to keep it flowing smoothly onto the tube.

When all the yarn is wound onto the tube, slide the tube off the beater and knit your yarn.


  • You can get a yarn burn from guiding rough yarn with your hand if you're running the mixer too quickly. Wear a work glove to prevent injury.