Along avec Anna

How to : make a ball out of a skein

If you start knitting, or if you always only knitted balls of your, you must wonder what a skein must be used for and what is the difference with a ball.

A skein is more convenient for storage because it takes up less space; It is also easier to see the colour variations compared to a ball. In addition, a hand-dyed yarn must immediately become a skein, which means that it is more practical for the dyers to leave it like that.

When you buy skeins, know that it is absolutely impossible to knit them directly like this : don’t even try, you will end up with a huge bundle of knots! (But don’t worry, we all tried it once…)

However, be aware that when your yarn is in the form of a skein, it is not stretched like in a ball, and the care is better. This is why it is recommended to put in balls only when you will use them shortly after. So if you buy your yarn in a store and they make balls for you there, please use it shortly.

As you can see from the picture above, the middle yarn is a natural colour with blue speckles. In the form of skeins it is very easy to see the variations, which would be much more difficult in the form of a ball.

To be able to put a skein in a ball, you will need two tool s: a winder that will form the ball, and a knitting umbrella that will hold your skein in place. You can find umbrellas made of metal or wood, but for my part I preferred to choose wood.
On these pictures the winder is a KnitPro while the umbrella is a wooden one from CKB. You can also find them in stores. I first bought a winder at a cheaper price but it really did not work properly; So I preferred to buy a better brand.

I explain in this video how to use them. I’m speaking in french but you can easily see how I do.

Once your cake is formed, it is possible to knit the yarn from the outside, or the one from the inside. It doesn’t matter and is primarily a matter of preference. For my part, I always knit my ball with the outer thread so that it remains well formed until the end.

Be careful, however, if you decide to knit a gradient wool, which goes from the lightest to the darkest as in the picture below (or vice versa): If you take the outer thread you will start with the lightest, but if you take the inner thread, you will then start with the darkest!

Fil gradient Mignonne allons voir si la rose – La Fée Fil

If you don’t have a knitting umbrella, you can always use the back of a chair to hold your skein, or someone else’s arms! Moreover, if you do not have a winder, it is also possible to form the ball by hand … but it will be much longer and the rendering will be less regular and practical!

I hope this new tutorial has been able to answer your questions and don’t hesitate to leave me comments if you need more information!


  • 30 June 2017

    Merci Anna pour ces précieux conseils!
    Je n’ai jamais tricoté que des pelotes et j’étais justement en questionnement sur l’achat de ce matériel afin d’acheter également des écheveaux tellement j’en vois passer de si jolis sur IG et les blogs 🙂

  • 30 June 2017

    J’ai quelques écheveaux à mettre en pelote. J’ai fait la méthode à la main pour le premier, chaise et enroulage autour d’un petit morceau de carton, c’est un peu long, mais ça se fait.
    Je ne savais même pas qu’il existait ces appareils !

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