Have you ever heard of a nostepinne (NAHS-stah-pin)? I hadn’t, before I got one this Christmas! It is meant to help you wind center-pull balls of yarn (which I know some people can do by hand without help, but I’ve never been able to). They apparently originated in Norway and were given by men to women as gifts, particularly for engagements (who knew?). Although all the ones I’ve seen in use are quite plain, old pictures show some that are very ornate.
Even though mine is very plain it is a pleasing shape to handle and very smooth. There’s something soothing about the simplicity. All you have to do is wind it around about a 2 inch section in the middle until you can’t see the wood anymore. Once that is done you begin to wind diagonally, using your thumb to rotate it slowly as you wind (this is the best video I came across demonstrating the motion).
Once you’re done you have a fat, almost square little bundle of tidy centre-pull yarn (what could make a knitter happier than that?). Apparently the bundles are sometimes called “cakes” due to their cylindrical shape (they sit flat on the table!).
I don’t have a fancy yarn swift but I do have to say that a nostepinne makes winding balls by hand a whole lot simpler. My nostepinne came from a local woodworker, which I love, so if you’re on the hunt for a nostepinne your nearest farmer’s market might be a good place to start (here’s a really cool video of someone making one by hand on a lathe).
Have you ever used a nostepinne?