What is a Nostepinne?
A nostepinne is one of those fun fiber tools that can be found under alternative spellings. Sometimes called nostepinde, nostepinder(plural) or nøstepinde, the term comes from the Scandanavian region where the tool originated.
A nostepinne can be as simple as a rod which tapers at one end or it can be an ornately carved art piece. It is used to create center-pull balls or yarn cakes.
Even a large knitting needle or a cardboard paper towel tube can be used as a nostepinne. Without a taper, these items don’t make the best center-pull balls, but they’ll work in a pinch.
But Meagan, why do I need a nostepinne when I have a ball winder?
I get asked this question frequently. In the age of technology, why do you need a fancy stick when you have the ultimate in center-pull-ball-technology?
Can you carry your ball winder in your project bag? Chances are the answer is no. I like to keep a mini nostepinne in my project bag so that I can rewind balls that start to fall apart while I’m out and about, especially when I’m using precious handspun or expensive yarns I don’t want to tangle.
The act of winding a ball can also be meditative. Let’s be honest, we didn’t get into fiber arts because it is the fastest, easiest way to do a thing. We have the benefit of choosing the level of technology we use. If we want to spin yarn on a spindle instead of on a wheel, we can do that. If we want to wind a ball on a fancy stick or on a hand cranked machine, we can do it.
Price point can play into the value of a nostepinne, too. Many ball winders can have nice dollar tags attached to them. Generally, a simple nostepinne will be less expensive than the least expensive ball winders.
How do I use a nostepinne?
1. Begin by anchoring your yarn near the base of the handle. Some nostepinnes have a groove or a notch. If not, wrap the yarn two or three times around the handle and use your hand to hold it in place.
2. Hold the nostepinne at a 45° angle to your body with your wrist in a neutral position. With your free hand, take hold of the yarn and wrap it around the center of the nostepinne, forward to back.
3. Turn the nostepinne slowly as you wind. This will create an even build of yarn around the ball and help prevent it from collapsing in on itself. Continue to layer your yarn in this way. If you find your ball beginning to become heavy on one side, you can switch the direction of your winding hand to wind on at the opposite angle.
4. When you are done, tuck the loose end of the yarn beneath the nearest strand and remove your ball from the nostepinne. The strand that had been anchored is now at the center of your ball, ready to go to work.
Winding on a nostepinne takes a little practice to create a stable ball, but is a great skill to have. It has saved me hours of untangling mid-project and is a simple, but effective tool to have on hand.