Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY Yarn ball winder from scraps

Here it is people.

I finally managed some time to post this craft that I made from scrap.
I was always envious of the yarn balls other people presented on the internet. So ready to knit without bouncing the ball.
As for the yarn swifter, I took my research and documented several models on the market.
Of course nobody list anything for free ( plans I mean).

So I had to do some reverse engineering based on photos and youtube videos.
I decided in the end to take the easiest way out ( the one model that involved less work).
I must state first that I live in a country where the art of DIY has been somewhat forgotten so all I had to work with are materials that I could find at a local DIY store ( I realize that it's impossible to have everything but it was the best store that carried almost all that I needed - I'm not making a commercial but if some other Europeans read this post , it's about Hornbach ).
This is what I came up with( notice that I choose the Strauch belt drive yarn winder for inspiration)
Now to state the components of my yarn winder:

1.The base is a leftover beech board from the staircase.
2.The big wheel is made of pine that I cut with a jig-saw and then carved a middle groove with a hand saw.
3.The smaller wheel is actually 2 beech wheels that I bought at the store and glued together.
4.The metal bracket was originally an L bracket with some holes in it that I had to hammer down and drill new holes to fit my needs.
5.The belt drive is in fact laundry rope with a synthetic fiber on the inside.
6.The grey rubber shaft nob that allows for the yarn spindle to rotate is a door stop.
7.The counter weight that is attached on the end of the metal bracket is a left over ball bearing from a cabinet wheel ( the wheel broke and I had the ball bearing left)
8.The yarn spindle and yarn guide is made from a broken broomstick

I added some nuts and bolts, washers of course and this is the end result.
It's not perfect or fantastic but it does the job just fine.Here you can see the results of winding a ball. A nice crosswind center pull ball ready to be knitted.
PS : After a while , Pepper doesn't seem to care about my new toy.

See the specifications and more pictures in my next posts here


  1. What is the angle that you used for the platform the ball is wound on? I'm making my own and want to make sure I get the right tilt for a good wrap.

  2. Hi Katy. I will measure all components and post the details. At the beginning , since all I had to go was a picture, I adjusted things while building it in order to match up with the door stop, the length of the base, etc.

  3. Hi Katy, sorry for the delay, the L bracket was hammered down to 120 degrees. This angle worked for me with the size of the rubber door stop that I have but depending on your dimensions and other use of materials you may need to adjust the angle.
    I will make a new post specifying all the materials and sizes I have used, hopefully soon.

  4. I am also interested in instructions to make the ball winder. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you, JC

  5. I would love some more specifics on the steps and construction. Also as to the pieces used.

  6. Thanks for posting your parts list. I've been trying to design a ball winder project to help others make their own but it has been challenging. The biggest problem is the pulley! I thought you could just buy some pulleys or wheels at hobby stores, but that doesn't seem to be true anymore. I see that you made your own pulley, but I am trying to figure out how to do this without making people use a jigsaw or handsaw. I'm still working on my design, but I'll use yours for inspiration.
    Thanks, Inez

  7. Thanks for the comment Inez. At first I tried to find also some hobby wooden wheels but the problem I encountered is that the largest diameter they had was 5 cm ( that I end up using for the 2 small wheels glued up) and you definitely need a large wheel to increase the ratio movement for the small one.
    However, even if someone finds the proper pulley you still have to use an electric screw driver and a drill bit to attach the parts in place.
    Good luck with your design and let me know if I can be of some assistance.Please send me a link with your post so I can exemplify your version too. In a future post I would like to remake the design , maybe make it a bit more professional.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Inspired by your ball winder, I have looked at your pictures and measurements, you did a great job of putting this all together! I found you can purchase plastic pulleys in Lowes or Home Depot, but I like the wood too much so, I went to AC Moore and purchased two 8" discs and two 4" discs, I then used Gorilla wood glue and glued the 8" together with the tops together, same for the 4", voila, wooden pulleys! I used paracord to fashion up a belt, and used another wooden disc and dowel for the "ball holder", still making adjustments, but it is getting there! Thank you!

    2. Hi Donna,
      I'm glad you manage to find parts for your version . Let me know if you need more data and I'd love to see your version and maybe have it featured on the blog too. Good luck in assembling it.

    3. Laura, I have not given up, having a problem with the angle there the ball is wound, it's winding wonky balls so I think it is too steep of an angle. Still trying to figutr out what the best bet is for a belt.

    4. I used screen spline cut to size and melted together for the belt. I cannot get my spindle to spin while it rotates. Mine is also winding a wonky ball. Any ideas on how to fix this?

    5. Hi Melissa, I've posted a YouTube video on this blog showing my winder in action to help in understanding the pressure on the spindle wheel on the rubber door stop. Another thing , the screen spline is a bit too soft ( I had this option too but it failed because was not able to transfer rotation properly to the spindle shaft). You should try with something less malleable ( I bet even regular rope would work) . Another reason might be that perhaps your spindle does not come in contact properly with the door stop. It's rotating less either due to too much pressure against the door stop or less pressure ( you should know the case, if it needs to be further on more in contact with the door stop ) These are finesse settings and you have to gently pull or push the bracket by hand according the case you encountered ( too much pressure-pull apart, less pressure - push it towards the rubber door stop). Please check also the Featured area in my blog . It will have a picture of a winder made by Donna ( see comments above) and maybe you find her version more doable. Let me know if there is any change .

  9. Thanks Laura, still tweaking, mine is not as nice as yours :( My youngest Grandson didn't want Grammy to boo boo herself with a saw.

  10. Why do we need the rubber door stop to rotate the post with the yarn on? Why not just have the whole thing with the yarn bloted to the pulley and have just the rotation of the pulley turning the dowel with the yarn?

    1. If you refer to the actual winder (disk+bar) on which the yarn ball is formed, the winder is connected to the pulley in a fixed position in relation to the pulley but it spins along his own axe and it needs the mobility to be driven around it's own axe so it will make a criss cross winding of yarn. If the winder would be fixed to to pulley with no mobility at all around his own axe( there for no need for the rubber door stop to impose a motion to the winder) , he will have just one type of rotation togheter with the pulley and your yarn ball will not be a ball but actually just a simple winding because you took out of motion the part that variated it's position in order to make a ball by directing the ups and downs of the yarn in diffrent parts of the ball. As I said in the video , the winder needs to be able to complete a revolution rotation around the rubber door stop ( the same moovements that the earth does in relation to the sun- the rotation and the revolution). Easiest way to understand that by stopping the revolution movement of the winder you get just a wonky wind and not a ball wind , is to try and make one yarn ball winder and keep the winder fixed .

  11. Well done, and thanks for sharing...

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