i’ve taught a couple of knitters this as it has come up in person, and they have suggested i do a tutorial. every now and again, i like to be useful, so i thought i’d give this a try. i came up with this late one night, when i really wanted to cast on for a new project, and the yarn in question was still skeined up. i’m not a fan of pulling from the outside, as more often than not, i have to chase down the ball of yarn. center pull balls tend to stay in place much better.


-1 toilet paper roll (empty), or paper towel roll
-1 skein unwound yarn
-1 pair of scissors
-a comfortable place to sit

2-prep #1

cut two slits (maybe a half inch, 1.5 cm) directly opposite of each other on the edge of the roll. keep this near at hand, and get yourself situated on your chosen sitting surface.

3-prep #2

arrange skein of yarn so that your knees can hold it taut. before clipping off the waste yarn that holds the skein, remove any twists on its path, try to get it as straight as possible. this will make your winding job much simpler.

4-find the ends

once the skein is straight, clip off waste yarn knotted at various places, and find the ends. pull at each end and figure out which one seems to be coming from the outside. this is the one we want.

steps 5 & 6

tuck this end of the yarn into the inside of the roll, and pull it into one of the slits. fold it back over, and tuck into the same slit, and guide the yarn across to the other slit. you can do it with just one slit, but i got annoyed at the frequency with which i pulled the end out. this is more stable.

7-wind a little guide

begin winding the yarn around the roll. i tend to wind myself a little base to work off of.

8-it begins!

once you have the base, **begin winding the yarn at an angle away from you. as you wind, turn the roll towards you at about the same pace as you are winding.** as you go, you will be creating an x on the last layer of winding.

9-mid skein ball

if you wind just above the very top and below the bottom of the yarn on the roll, then you will have a rounded, ovalish ball of yarn. i tend to do this until it’s about the height i want the ball. then if you wind just to the very top and bottom, it will start to square up. you’ll figure out what you like ultimately.

at the end of winding

when you have one or two lengths of yarn still wrapped around your knees, stop winding at an angle. wind the last length of yarn around the center of the ball.

securing the tail

when you get to the last few inches, tuck those under the middle winds you just did, keeping track of both sides of this piece. tuck the tail under the other side and pull tight. this will stop the ball from unwinding at this end.

14-so close

pull the center tail out from the slits.


if you wind like me, it’s really difficult to pull the roll out intact. so smoosh it in half from each end, and pull it out.


tada!!!! your very own center pull ball of yarn! feel free to do a happy dance, and start your knitting!

if you have any questions, i will try my best to answer them. you can contact me at ifandany@gmail.com, my ravelry id is ifandany, and of course you can reply here.

also, the photoset for this process is right here if you want it!

**this is the key to this entire thing.