To wind a centre-pull ball of yarn by hand:
1. First, unwind a skein (hank) of yarn using either a swift, or just by draping the skein over my knees, and gradually unwinding it and dropping it loosely onto the floor, or into a paper bag or box, so that it forms a loose pile of yarn spaghetti. If you have pets or children, I think the best thing to do is to drop it into a bag or box, so the critters can’t tangle it up.
2. Holding the end of the yarn with your thumb, begin to wrap the yarn around 2 fingers, several times in one direction, then switching the angle at which the wraps are made every so often.
3. Continue winding until you have a little ball on your fingers, and then take your fingers out, and put your thumb into the centre hole, and then continue to wrap the yarn, turning the ball every so often to wrap at a new angle.
Wrap gently, being careful not to make too tight a ball, as this will put strain on the yarn.
Be sure to always have the yarn end poking out of the centre, and be careful not to lose it by wrapping over it.
4. Eventually you will run out of yarn, and have a lovely hand-wound centre-pull ball of yarn!
For most types of yarn, it works to pull from the centre of this type of ball, and this also allows for 2 strands of yarn to be held together from the same ball, or for 2 pieces of knitting to be worked from a single ball (for example, when knitting 2 pairs of socks at the same time from a single ball).
However, some delicate or ‘sticky’ yarns, such as mohair or lace-weight silk yarn can be difficult to pull from the centre, as their strands tend to stick together and tangle. In these cases, it is best to knit from the outside of the ball.
Enjoy your lovely hand-wound balls!