Crochet Tips

The Simple Hack to Double Your Yarn Winder Capacity

This post may contain affiliate links. For more details, see my disclosure page.

Let's crochet together!

3 Easy Steps to Wind Twice as Much Yarn on a Yarn Ball Winder

The only complaint I have about the Knit Picks Yarn Winder is that it is designed to hold very small yarn cakes- about 4oz of yarn.

Usually, my favorite skeins of yarn come in 5oz sizes or larger, which doesn’t comfortably fit on the winder’s spool. The outer bits of yarn can tangle on the yarn guide unless you put a lot of tension on your yarn- but that causes stretching, and makes it difficult to pull evenly from the center of the cake.

But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention! And one day, I NEEDED to wind my entire skein of yarn, without cutting the yarn in the center or making a 

tangled, twisted mess. And I learned that by using one simple trick, you can easily double your yarn winder’s capacity!

This post may contain affiliate links. That means I earn a small commission from purchases at no extra cost to you.

Now, winding neat cakes of yarn from one uncut skein of yarn up to 8oz is a breeze!

Be sure to Pin this post and share on Facebook, because your crochet buddies will love this tip, too!

What You’ll Need to Wind 5-8oz of Yarn on a Small Yarn Winder

  • Your Yarn Winder
  • A bit of extra counter space
  • A bigger ball of yarn- 5-8 oz should do. I used Red Heart Super Saver, with less than 100 yards used up from it.

1. How to Wind the First Half of Your Yarn Onto a Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder

We’ll be winding this yarn from both ends. That means that to avoid tangles, you need to start by finding the outer tail of your yarn skein. Winding from the outside leaves a neater section of yarn from the core of the yarn.

If you try to start from the center to wind the first half of your yarn, the outside will be much more likely to tangle. That’s why I always start from the outside of bigger skeins.

After you find the outer yarn tail, thread it through the yarn guide and secure into the notches on top of the spool. Working carefully, wind as much yarn as you can onto the bobbin without tangling. If you have less than half the skein left, you can stop, and move on to the other end.

Tip: Holding your yarn skein above the winder makes the yarn flow much more smoothly.

2. Fitting Extra Yarn on the Yarn Winder Spool

If you haven’t quite wound half your yarn and need just a bit more space, you can gently push the yarn guide outward with your finger. Just be sure to go slow to avoid tangles! If your yarn cake gets too big, threads can snag on the yarn guide and get caught.

I am usually able to fit a bit more than 4.5 oz onto my yarn spool by just gently bending the yarn guide outward with my finger.

When you’ve gotten as far as you can, carefully remove the yarn cake from the winder. You’ll have a yarn tail coming from the center of the ball, and the outside strand will still be attached to the other half of the skein. Guide the uncut outer thread out of the yarn guide arm, and set this cake aside to chill.

3. Finish Winding Your Yarn Cakes!

Now, locate the center pull tail of your yarn. It might take a bit of work, but since you’ll have wound most of your yarn, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Thread the yarn through the guide arm and begin winding from the other end.

The Best Secret to Avoiding Yarn Tangles

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be tempted to go as fast as humanly possible. A word of advice from someone who has gone before you: go slow, because if you go too fast and get tangled up, you’ll spend more time untangling in the end!

Going slow could potentially save you two hours and seventeen minutes of frustration. (But who’s counting?)

If needed, you can gently extend the reach of the guide arm to finish winding this ball of yarn. Once your skein is completely wound into two cakes, you can stop! You’re ready to crochet from the yarn.

Do You Prefer Working from the Outside, or Center Pull?

Luckily, yarn cakes can be worked easily from either end. However, some people may feel more comfortable with one way or the other. If you strongly prefer pulling from either the center or the end, try and make one of your yarn cakes as big as you possibly can- that way you’ll have more yardage to work in your preferred method.

If you prefer a center pull, start with the center pull of the bigger ball, then you’ll only have a little ball left in the end that needs to be pulled from the outside. If you like to pull from the outside of your yarn cake, it’s okay, we can still be friends. (Ha!) You’ll want to start with the center pull anyway, but use the smaller ball. That way, you’ll have the bigger yarn cake left to use afterwards.

You will be able to center pull from either ball until it’s gone. Then, you’ll be able to pull from the outside of the other cake.

The Easiest Way to Keep Yarn Cakes Neat

Two connected yarn cakes have a greater chance of becoming tangled later. So, I like to use this simple hack to keep them neat and tidy:


Buy one pair of the biggest hose you can find, and you can cut the legs into many pieces and sew or knot the ends together. They’ll fit nicely around your cakes to keep them neat and tidy while in storage.

Did You Enjoy Learning to Wind Double the Yarn?

Let me know in the comments if this tip was helpful for you! When I first learned this tip, I was thrilled, because it meant I didn’t have to spend $50+ on a new expensive yarn winder just to wind up my bigger yarn skeins.

Let's crochet together!

You may also like...


  1. Donna says:

    Hi, So can you show us the pantyhose trick. Please, please.

    1. Katie says:

      Hi Donna!
      Absolutely!! I actually just made a quick tutorial! It’s pretty simple but very handy.

      Here it is!

      Hope that helps,

  2. catherine says:

    have you got a trick for oversized hanks of yarn

    1. This trick is about the best I have! If you’re really ambitious, you can use your hand to help bend the yarn guide out a smidgen to get even more yarn onto each end. Unfortunately, if you have a giant ball, like the pound of yarn, you will still have to hand wind a portion of the middle. But that’s still a lot better than having to hand wind the entire ball!

      Hope that helps,

  3. Rosalie McCreary says:

    Great idea! I usually end up winding when my skien collapses and becomes unruly! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Katie, this is an awesome tip! Thank you so much 🙂

    1. Katie says:

      Glad you liked it! It definitely comes in handy for big afghan projects where I don’t want to have to stop and untangle feisty yarn.

      Happy hooking!

  5. Kathy says:

    Thank you! This will be very helpful.

    1. Katie says:

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad you like the tip, too- this bugged me SO much when I wanted to use a big skein of yarn that wouldn’t center pull nicely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *