If you like to knit or crochet, you may find yourself having to make trips to your favourite yarn store just to wind skeins of yarn into balls. While some yarn is sold in ready-to-knit balls, more expensive or handspun yarn often comes in long hanks tied together with bits of string. You can create your own electric yarn winder out of a hand mixer, using a yarn swift or a friend's arms to hold the skein taut while you wind.
Place one beater into its notch on the electric hand mixer.
Slide an empty paper towel tube over the beater and push it up until it touches the body of the mixer. This will keep the yarn from winding around the stem of the beater.
Place a skein of yarn over a yarn swift or around a friend's arms. If using a swift, push the base up until the swift is fully open and the tension holds the skein in place. Lock the base into place by tightening the handle that sticks out of it.
Use scissors to snip off the ties holding the skein together. Locate the end of the yarn on the outside of the skein and pull it toward the mixer.
Tape the end of the yarn to the middle of the cardboard tube.
Run the mixer on low speed to wind the yarn. You may find it easier to press the open end of the paper towel roll against a plate set on a counter or table. Be sure to hold the plate steady as you wind to keep it from flying off the flat surface.
Once the yarn is wound, you can trim off the empty ends of the paper towel roll with a pallet knife. This makes it easier to fit the ball of yarn into a bag and take it with you.