Whether you’re a handspinner, knitter, dyer or any kind of fiber artist, you’ll likely need to wind yarn into a skein or hank with a niddy noddy at some point.
You can skein directly after spinning a single, plying or at any point that you want to keep the yarn neatly organized or stored. When a skein is untwisted, it makes a neat loop. This is the best way to keep the yardage from getting tangled when dying. It is also a good way to calculate yarn yardage. Simply measure the distance for one trip around the niddy noddy and mulitply by the number of trips made.
If you’re using wheel spun yarn, the bobbin can either be removed from the wheel and placed on a lazy kate, or skeined directly from the wheel. If the bobbin is left on the wheel, loosen the tension on the drive band to allow the bobbin to turn freely. Yarn spun on spindles can either be left on the spindle, or slipped onto a dowel. If you’re skeining directly from a spindle, put it in a bowl to keep the spindle in one place while winding off the yarn. Once the yarn has been skeined, it can be dyed or washed to set the twist. Weavers often dry their yarn under tension with a weight at the bottom of the loop, to stretch it out and remove some of the elasticity.
Historically, knitting hanks to be sold were required to be a certain length, so you had to count how many times around the tool you went. Then you could use simple math to figure out the yardage. If you’ve ever tried to count dozens or hundreds of wraps or stitches on a knitting needle, you know how easy it can be to lose track. To keep track of the number of wraps, the niddy-noddy was used to the rhythm of a counting song. It went like this, Niddy-noddy, niddy-noddy, two heads and one body. ‘Tis one, Tain’t one, be one soon. ‘Tis two, Tain’t two, be two soon….and so on.
This quick video shows you how to wind yarn with a niddy noddy. It may seem confusing, but give it a try and work slowly at first. You’ll soon get the hang of it. Enjoy!