Lazy Knitting


As much as we love crazy prototype style hacks, we really enjoy seeing things that get used after their creation. [Marcus] sent us the information about his automatic yarn winder. Noticing that his friends who knit had to go through the monotonous process of winding a ball of yarn each time they started the process, he sprung into action. After finding only a few commercial solutions, which were out of his price range, he decided to build his own. He found a hand cranked version and gutted it to add a motor. Now, they simply need to get it started and walk away. Great job [Marcus].

19 thoughts on “Lazy Knitting

  1. Something exactly like this was on a recent episode of “Pushing Daisies”. The inventor became a millionaire of sorts. I had no clue someone would actually BUILD the thing, but it looks like a functional, useful tool. Kudos to the builder.

  2. “dimmers take raw chunks of power right out of the current and like trying to vary the speed of fixed speed motors, it’ll burn out your motor.”

    man don’t you just hate it when something takes raw chunks of power right out of your current? happens to me all the time.


  3. My wife winds yarn like this but with the hand crank. I wouldn’t have thought it was a big deal — it’s like the difference between the old pencil sharpeners you used in school and the new kind that run on batteries. I mean, I’m a big fan of lazy and all, but this just doesn’t seem like a big enough problem to warrant the response given.

  4. @dan: Not necessarily. Or rather, you might want to spend it doing something other than winding balls of yarn. A lot of people who knit do it in what would otherwise be wasted time, like while riding on the bus.

  5. Now knitting is mostly a spare time or multitasking thing. There was a time when purposeful knitting helped cloth the family.

    In the same stores where one can buy yarn one can buy string already wrapped in a ball. Rather than wrapping the yarn into a skein, why don’t yarn manufactures wrap the yarn into a ball? On could say hackers have a lot of spare time as well. :)

  6. Don’t forget to harvest a perfectly good gear motor from a car windshield wiper mechanism.

    They run pretty slow and can go from 3v up to 14 with no trouble.

    This is cool, not as cool as if they hadn’t used a hand-winder to start with, but pretty cool as a finished product.

  7. @ anony mouse: The yarn is usually wound at the manufacturer in skeins or hanks. Skeins are usually okay to use as is, but hanks need to be balled, otherwise they’ll knot up and be a huge problem to the knitter.

    It’s easy enough to ball yarn by hand, but it’s usually a waste of time to a knitter who would rather be using that time to knit.

    Hence, I really want this contraption. Yarn winders are usually around $40-$60 which just does not work for me.

  8. Hey, we’re 14 comments in, and no one has made the obvious point that what’s been shown here is a simple method of making low capacity Hi Q inductors! I’m buying one of those robowinders today to try that out. Universal wound coils, here I come!

  9. @coderer,

    Regarding the amount of time saved, he said he made this for a friend’s yarn store, where she likely has to ball many skeins a day, and probably does it for lots of customers. Hand balling yarn takes several minutes (I seem to remember it taking my mom about 5-10.) This machine probably does it in about a minute, without the repetitive wrist strain.

    One ball here and there may not take up their whole day, but if this tool lets them cut two hours from the start of a multi-color project, I’d let them decide if it’s worth it.

  10. Hey if you aren’t a knitter then you don’t know what all is involved. I’m 70 years old and have done my share of rolling balls on winders, because when the yarn comes out of the center it does not twist while knitting. Also you don’t have to stop and pull on the ball to unwind it or pull out of a store bought skein. Also it gives the yarn a chance to relax before you start your project and the tension on the yarn is more smoothly knitted.

    I’m a double amputee and can’t get to my knitting machines upstairs and not sure if I can still get the carriage to go across the bed. Also I don’t have the flexibility in my fingerd nymore. So it seems like hand knitting may just be out of the question here soon. I can still crochet. Or do what I’m doing now surfing on the net.

    So if you are just in your 20’s, 30’s and just plain jealous because you couldn’t figure out how to make the modifications that this young (?) guy has done. Then I think you better just shut your mouth until you have something better to contribute to this site.

    In fact it seems to me alot of you are chewing on sour grapes. AT least he has used his BRAIN to help a friend. Who know maybe in the future what he has accomplished on this small project may lead to a big and better future in his life.

    As I said before seem if you can do any BETTER!

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