How to Wind Yarn from a Spindle - dummies

How to Wind Yarn from a Spindle

Your spindle is full when the wound yarn is the same diameter as the whorl, or when the weight of the spindle becomes too heavy to spin on. Wind the yarn into a ball that pulls from the center. Place the spindle in a basket or in a box with a hole in it while you wind to keep it from rolling away.

Three tools are helpful for winding off yarn: the ball winder, nøstepinde, and niddy noddy. All of these tools are used to wind yarn from bobbins. A ball winder and a nøstepinde (pronounced “NOS-te-PIN-dee”) do the same job: They wind yarn into a ball where the yarn pulls out from the center. A ball winder is more mechanical and faster, but the end result is identical to a ball made by hand on a nøstepinde.

A niddy noddy winds yarn into a skein. Most niddy noddies make a 2-yard loop so that you know how many yards you have spun. All of these tools are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and prices. Some are mass-manufactured, while others are made by artisans. Many nøstepindes and niddy noddies are made from exotic woods and are often very ornate.

Wind with a nøstepinde

Using a nøstepinde prevents you from winding the ball too tightly. A tightly wound ball can stretch the yarn and damage its elasticity. You can make a nøstepinde out of dowelling or use a cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels.

  1. Hold the nøstepinde in your fiber hand and catch the end of the single under your thumb.

    Wind a plying ball on a nøstepinde.
    Wind a plying ball on a nøstepinde.
  2. With your spinning hand, hold the yarn and wind it toward the left, at a 45-degree angle.

  3. As you fill up the space, give the nøstepinde a quarter turn. You will start to cross the threads at a 45-degree angle as you wind.

Wind with a ball winder

Ball winders are available from knitting and weaving stores. They wind the same type of ball as a nøstepinde, only faster.


While a hand spindle does spin more slowly than a spinning wheel, the advantage is that you can always have it with you. A few minutes of spinning during a busy day can produce a surprising amount of yarn.