I bought some yarn and it was a skein, I believe. It was wrapped in a big circle, folded in half and twisted, with little pieces of yarn wrapped around this circle every so often. Don't laugh. Anyway, I started wrapping a ball from this and it became so tangled. It took hours to get it all wrapped into a ball. I have one more skein and do not want to make the same mistake. How do you keep it from tangling? Is there a simple way?
I think you could wrap it in a ball if you either have someone put their hands in the circle and hold it open for you...or put it around the back of a chair (for the same reason)...or you could get a table swift (I don't have one, but I think you could order one from knitpicks.com, or get one at your LYS.)
Not sure if that's a skein or a hank. I don't know.
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Amy has a great video on here on how to wind yarn into a center pull ball by hand. It's under "Free Videos" in the "Tips" section, almost to the bottom. It works very well and if you have someone hold the hank or anchor it around the back of a chair you should be happy with the results.
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I either put my hand through the "big circle" and begin winding a ball from the end, or put the circle on my knees (you need to be seated to do this), and use my knees to keep tension on it, while I wind the ball.
That, or ask for someone else to help/use a chair.
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I drape the hank of yarn around my knees while lounging in bed or on the couch and then wind from there. I also bought a table top swift which I occasionally get out to hold my hank while I wind. But sometimes it's just easier to drape it around my knees.