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This may get me kicked off Team Knitting.

And I'm sorry.

I've tried to stuff this part of me down inside for more than ten years, and I just... I just can't do it anymore.

I hate center pull balls.

Hate them.

Hate them a lot.

Really hate them.



A lot.

I have owned many winders over the years, from the cheapest plastic one to this number here, the Cadillac of ball winders.

If you love center pull balls, this is a good one to have. It is well constructed, runs smoothly, and will last a lifetime.

Actually, it will last me 12 lifetimes, because I never use it.

I never use it because I hate center pull balls.

They always, 100% of the time, end up tangled. Each and every time. Tangled. Always.

You know exactly what I'm talking about. You're knitting along, and then suddenly, your center pull ball throws up.

This never happens with outer pull balls of yarn.

The yarn around the edge never falls off the outside of the cake.

You never lose the little wick sticking out of the center, forcing you to fish around trying to find it, which probably contributes to the yarn vomit problem above.

What, pray tell, is so bad about this?

This kind of ball takes a few minutes more to create by hand. But guess what? So does whatever I'm knitting.

I'm not knitting because it's cheaper and easier. It's cheaper and easier to buy pre-assembled sweaters at Target.

Yes, these balls roll around a little. So I keep them in my knitting bag. Or I don't jerk them around with brute force.

I pull gently, and the yarn doesn't get motion sickness and throw up.

So. There's my confession.

I hate center pull yarn balls.

Can we still be friends?

P.S. They also stretch out your yarn. If you insist on using these abominations, wind them immediately before you begin your project, and don't store the yarn for long periods in the center pull ball. The tension the ball winder puts on the yarn can throw off your gauge.


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Reader Comments (50)

I adore hand-wound yarn balls. They bring back fond memories of my mum knitting (and more often than not, ripping out).
I wind my own yarn into regular outer-pull balls and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

Ball on, sister!

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKiki

But see, there's a middle ground! I love winding my yarn into those neat little cakes with my squeaky swift and plastic ball winder. But, after buying all sorts of beautiful yarn bowls, I realized I, too, hate pulling from the center. It puts more twist on the yarn, which I then have to work out. So I got a yarn buddy, which my cake sits on. It rotates as I pull from the outside. And we can all be happy. :-)

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Can't argue with a single reason you listed as they have happened to me also and I chalk them up as part of the process. What I found interesting was your comment about the ball winder stretching my yarn. I was always told the outer pull balls did that. Very interesting!

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

If that works for you, Jen, I am all for it! I'm relieved you're still speaking to me!

February 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterYarnista

Linda, no, the ball winder has to tension the yarn to get it to stay in a neat little cake! :)

February 6, 2013 | Registered CommenterYarnista

I don't use my center pull balls from the center, I use them from the outside ;)

February 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSezza

I, also, detest the center pull ball. Everyone looks at me weird when I pull from the outside. But the mess you end up with at the end of a center pull drives me crazy!! So glad someone else agrees!!

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarahG

I agree with Jen and Sezza. I wind a cake, and it doesn't roll all over, and then, I pull from the outside. I use my yarn buddy when I remember, but even when I don't, I am happy.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

That PS is very informative. I did not know that. Thanks teach!

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I do wind my yarn into center pull balls - I just don't pull from the center. I put them in my fibersphere and knit from the outside of the "ball"

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

Great to find that others agree and I'm not a dork for refusing to center pull. Recently got a nostepende and do like using it to wind on instead of my finger, balls are neater, but still use from outside. Opinions on using a swift? Don't have one, and thinking about asking DH to make an upright one as he is not fond of holding yarn for winding.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

This post made me HOWL with laughter. Thanks, I needed that! I appreciate that you 'type' the same way you 'talk'. What a voice you have.
I love, love, love, my ball winder & swift, but am not a fan of pulling from the center. I don't like the floppy, empty-centered mess of overcooked spaghetti you end up with toward the end of the skien. So I put it on my yarn buddy and knit away from the OUTSIDE of the ball.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissaM

This may also get me kicked off, but I LIKE the occasional throw-up from the center of the ball. It gives me a sort of marker, bonus round to knit if that makes sense.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Yeah, I also wind center pull balls but pull from the outside. I always always get tangled parts if I do otherwise!

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

You are so right! I usually wind yarn into a center-pull ball, and then eagerly await the moment at which it collapses and I can finally just wind the rest into a regular ball. But why do I keep doing that? It's ridiculous. The center-pull stops now.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Victoria, I also like the occasional yarn barf because then I HAVE to keep knitting until the yarn is used up.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Dont worry, no one on earth could hate you for long. You hold the keys to the good yarn.

And I know what you mean, everything you said made total sense. That being said, winding normal yarn balls hurts my wrists for some reason and the cats have a field day with them. I dont have to pull hard or make them roll around, just the little flip action from the outside works them into a frenzy. They day I chased them across the entire house with a ball in their mouth was the day I invested in a winder. It was a safety issue. Hardwood floors + wool socks = my bum hurt pretty bad that day..

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole (FairyofYarn)

I agree with Victoria and am SO happy I'm not the only one out here who likes yarn- barf ! When I get a 'glob' of yarn upchucked from the center, it's a marker to me of sorts -- an excuse to take a break - and I actually feel a teeny-tiny bit 'accomplished' that I was able to easily untangle it (it's never really knotted, just clumpy). Yes - I'm aware that I'm a little bit weird - but it's nice to see I'm not the only one!
My plastic winder broke and so now I wind my own using a toilet paper roll or just my fingers - I like the cakes - they stay put and have a base to them. I have many balls of wound yard as well (outside pull) and I just make sure i have them secured in a teapot or yarn tamer so they don't go flying off he sofa when I'm knitting - although my 4 cats LOVE when that happens!
BTW - every ball of yarn I wind that is NOT center pull falls apart - EVERY one of them -- all the windy parts will at sometime slip off the ball and make a bigger mess than my center-pulled-yarn-barf. And for that reason I'll stick with center pull whenever I can!

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSue

I love my ball winder bc trying to knit from the skein causes way too many tangles. However, I never knew you were supposed to pull from the center! It makes no sense to me to do that bc then it collapses in upon itself - or throws up as you eloquently describe it - and you'd have to re-wind it. And I had no idea about the tension! I wind my yarn as soon as I get it be it stores easier.. Must break that habit now.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Some of us are incapable of making a pretty hand-wound ball of yarn like in your picture. Also, since I know I'm not an accomplished hand-winder, when I do try, I'm sure I'm introducing a fair amount of tension in the yarn. So it's the ball winder for me. After that, I'm pretty equal opportunity between taking the yarn from the center versus from the outside. Depends on the yarn's inherent twist & how much of the yarn cake I'll be using.

You'll be happy to know that I do put any extra yarn back in to a skein when I'm done & I'm careful to not introduce too much tension when using the ball winder.

February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah JS

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