It seemed there were a number of people who commented, e-mailed, or left Flickr comments yesterday that they thought my nostepinnes were beautiful but had no idea how to use one. So, today I took step-by-step photos (and a quick video) so I can show you how to use them.
If you don’t have one there are many substitute options. The cheapest and easiest option is to use an empty tube. This could be from paper towels, toilet paper, a cut down wrapping paper tube etc. I preferred the paper towel tubes because it gave me plenty of room to grip. Your mileage may vary. Others have just used good sized doweling from the local hardware store. If you have a DIY PVC pipe niddy noddy you could use one of the pieces from that as a nostepinne as well. Get creative!
For larger views of the following step-by-step photos please click on the image and you will be taken to Flickr. Some images have notes associated with them as well.
Step 1: If you are using a true nostepinne, make a slip knot in one end of your yarn. Keep the loop large enough that you can slip it over the nostepinne. If you are using a paper tube you can skip this step. Instead, make a small cut in the end of the tube and anchor the yarn in that cut. Put the end of the yarn to the inside of the tube in that case.
Step 2: You have two options if you are using a true nostepinne. You can tighten the slip knot in the groove nearest the handle, or the one at the narrow tip. Some experienced nostepinne users skip the slip knot altogether and instead just keep it anchored in their hand holding the handle of the nostepinne. I prefer anchoring in the wider groove because then you are removing the yarn through the wider opening in the center pull ball. Also, right now I’m getting a much flatter face of the ball towards the narrow top of the nostepinne than I am getting at the wider end. That flat end helps the ball sit still and not roll away from you so it is good to pull the yarn from the end opposite of your flatest edge of your ball.
Step 3: Begin wrapping the yarn around the shaft of the nostepinne a bit closer to the handle than the tip. Wrap slightly loose so the yarn isn’t under too much tension and wrap perpendicular to the nostepinne. You can use your fingers to align the wraps neatly.
Step 4: Continue wrapping perpendicularly around the nostepinne shaft until you have 1-1.5 inches of wraps.
Step 5 (Optional): If you are using particularly thin or slippery yarn (here I’m using fingering weight with a good silk content) you may wish to make a second layer of perpendicular wraps working your way back towards the handle end. It give you a bit more base for the yarn “hook” on when you wrap it.
Step 6: Now begin wrapping the yarn at a 45 degree angle to the nostepinne shaft.
Step 7: With each wrap turn the nostepinne slightly towards you so the next wrap is ~1/4 inch over. Continue until you are back near your very first 45 degree wrap.
Step 8: For the next pass of wraps, lay them right up against the previous round. They shouldn’t be right on top, but they should be quite close. This helps make the yarn ball more uniform. It takes practice so don’t get discouraged. Even ugly balls wrapped this way are easy to work from.
Step 9: Continue as in step 8. However, as the ball grows start catching the yarn on the edge of the forming ball rather than wrapping it up against the nostepinne shaft. This is what will help form the flat bottoms so the ball doesn’t roll. You want to catch it similarly on the bottom of the wrap as well.
To see the wrapping and turning in motion click below. Please excuse the lack of fluidity, but I had my arms wrapped around the tripod to make this video. A bit of a tricky maneuver to say the least.
Step 10: Loosen the slip knot and gently slide the yarn ball off of the nostepinne.
Step 11: Here is the finished ball. Note how the yarn ball doesn’t automatically collapse into the center. If you are winding the ball and immediately working with it stop here.
Step 12: If you are going to store the yarn balls for a while I recommend giving it a gentle squeeze in a few different places to encourage it to collapse slightly. This eases the tension on the yarn and is better for the yarn if it will be in storage. When stored under too much tension yarn looses its elasticity.
That’s it! It is that easy! I’m certainly not faster winding the yarn this way than the crank ball winder (yet), but the yarn is put under less tension and I don’t have to clamp a swift and a ball winder somewhere. Also, a nostepinne slips right into my luggage which means I can enjoy new yarn immediately while I’m traveling or at wool festivals!