I was first inspired to try this after reading in Knitting Workshop that it can be done by hand. Who knew?
I don’t have a swift so I usually put my to-be-wound yarn on the legs of a chair:
Wrap the starting end a few times around the bowl end of a wooden spoon. Or in this case I’m using my son’s wooden sword. This ensures your end is secure and that you’ll have you center to pull from when you’re done.
Go to the other end of your winding implement- sword, spoon, it doesn’t matter as long as you can slid the ball off the end easily. Start wrapping the yarn gently (not tight, not sloppily loose) in a cross-hatch pattern.
For a small-ish amount of yarn I usually make my skein about 2-3 inches tall. A large-ish skein is 4-5 inches tall. So start winding. Always go around at a diagonal, and rotate your work a 1/4 turn every little bit so it gets wound evenly. The main thing to avoid is wrapping around the middle of the skein. You want this to look like a cylinder, not a sphere. And you keep winding and winding…..
As your ball gets larger you can start making several wraps on one diagonal, do several wraps on the opposite diagonal, 1/4 turn and repeat. Having your wraps go just over the tops and bottoms of your skein really helps it hold together and have flat ends. When all the yarn is wound, tuck in your end, slip it off your winding-spoon and……
If you have a hard time getting the skein off the spoon try to wind more loosely next time. Getting this right does take practice, but if you’re as
broke frugal as I am, it’s well worth the time and effort. Best of luck! Happy Skeining!