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Keeping Yarn Leftovers Organized: How to Wind Butterfly Bobbins

Craft & Design

I first learned how to make these great little bobbins in my beginning weaving class at Northern Illinois University. They are great for weaving, especially tapestry weaving, but also when working brocade on the floor loom. And really great for organizing your stash when there are tons of little random balls in there. Unlike balls of yarn, these won’t unravel and unlike center pull balls they won’t tangle either. It’s so much easier to keep these sorted in a bin of yarn that little balls tangling all over the place. Being able to see and then easily use your lovely fiber stash is a key to inspiration. Nothing kills a project quicker than having to untangle a huge mess of yarn strands.

Here is how you wind butterfly bobbins:
Step 1: Lay your yarn over the palm of your hand so the end is by your thumb and the yarn leading to the tangled mess is between your pinky and ring finger.
Step 2: Pick up the yarn leading to the mess of yarn and guide it clockwise behind and to the front of your thumb.
Step 3: Then back to your pinky finger, counter clockwise around the back of your pinky to the front. Just keep repeating. Clockwise around the thumb, counter-clockwise around your pinky. Once you kind of get the hang of it you will be able to rotate your hand to catch the yarn and it goes pretty quickly. Make sure your tail doesn’t get caught up in the yarn winding.
Step 4: Once you get to about the last 4-6 inches, pinch the middle of your butterfly with your other hand.
Step 5:
Wrap the last 4-6 inches of yarn around the center.
Step 6: Tuck the end around the center twice to get it to stay in place.
Step 7: Now find your end again and you can just pull that to use your yarn.
I hope this helps you keep your stash and your fiber work tidy! What’s your favorite way to keep you yarn scraps in line? Leave a comment in this post and let us know.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Yarn Leftovers Organized: How to Wind Butterfly Bobbins

  1. planetjune says:

    Thank you! This is so clever – I’ve been struggling with winding tiny balls that run away from me and unravel all over the floor. I’ve just tried your butterfly technique and it’s perfect!

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Hi! I am an artist, author, and owner of a modern apothecary called Little Woods in Ames, Iowa.

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