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3 Reasons to Be Mindful When Ball Winding

Two hanks of yarn before ball winding.
Two hanks of yarn.

When you buy a skein or hank of yarn at the yarn shop, it's not ready to knit. It's just resting in a calm state waiting to be made into a cake or wound onto a cone before knitting or crocheting a beautiful creation. When starting your next project preparing your materials is one of the first things you do. Winding yarn is an important first step. It needs to be done slowly, methodically, and with conscious effort. There are three main reasons why mindful ball winding is important.

Bulky yarn on a ball winder.
Yarn on a ball winder.
  1. Energy. The yarn has its own energy. When it is resting in a hank it has been wound that way at the mill and the energy of the ply or singles is resting. When we start to make it into a cake (the shape it takes on the ball winder) we begin to add tension to the yarn, but we don't want to stretch it or overly wind it. Try to keep a slow steady pace to not over use the energy within the yarn. It is like our bodies in a yoga posture, we don't want to move so quickly we injure ourselves or use momentum instead of our own strength to move from one position to the other.

  2. Tangles. If we rapidly wind the yarn on the ball winder, it can get tangled between the swift and the winder. I have even had the cake jump right off the winder and fall in a tangled mess on the floor. By being methodical and slow, we can prevent tangles and wind a smooth cake ready for knitting. Imagine you were practicing cat-cow pose, and you moved so rapidly the body barely was able to articulate the different positions, your muscles could end up in knots and your breath sporadic.

  3. Concentration. When we are first learning to knit it takes concentration, just as ball winding does. If we focus all our attention on the one task we can learn a lot from it. Concentration is a skill we learn in order to prepare ourselves for meditation. So you can look at your ball winding as a way to train the mind for concentration and eventually meditation.

The next time you wind your yarn notice the energy, go slow to prevent tangles, and allow for concentration to guide you.

Happy creating,


1 Comment

Love this. It also applies to winding yarn by hand, which is what I spend a lot of time doing! It can be a mindful meditation, when I just slow down. ☺️

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