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Boye Yarn Winder – My Complete Guide With All The Facts

The Boye Yarn Winder was excellent for winding your yarn into usable center pull yarn cakes. It was an electric ball winder, so it did the winding by itself.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to manufacture it anymore. I’ve reviewed the best alternatives for boye yarn winders.

Boye Yarn Winder Feat Img

Want a manual yarn winder? See my review of the best yarn ball spinner.

Table Of Contents

Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder

Boye Electric Yarn Winder

The Simplicity Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder was a yarn winder created by the popular craft and yarn company Boye for Simplicity. It ran on electricity and did all the winding for you.

I’ve done a lot of searching, but unfortunately, for some reason, they’re no longer manufacturing it.

Many users found it convenient, though others reported it to be unreliable, a not powerful enough engine, and tended to fall apart or break after prolonged use.

While you can sometimes find it in stock on Amazon and there are second-hand versions available online for purchase, I wouldn’t particularly recommend it. There are other models available that are much better alternatives, and I mention them below in my reviews.

Click to Learn More from Amazon

Best Heavy-Duty/Jumbo Option – Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Winder

This is truly a workhorse of a yarn winder, built to last for years. Made of quality materials, and able to wind up to 16 oz of yarn. A favorite of yarn stores for a good reason!

This has a motorized drive option. It can turn into an electric yarn ball winder.


  • Made of maple hardwood, and heavy-duty steel shafts
  • Table clamp and instructions included
  • Comes partially assembled


  • A true workhorse, this is designed to last for many years
  • Looks beautiful as well as getting the job done well


  • Quite expensive, probably out of most people’s budgets

We cover this option in more depth in my electric yarn ball winder post.

Other Electric Yarn Winders

Unfortunately, there aren’t many other options available in the market for electric yarn winders. There were only two models worth your time.

One is the one mentioned above, which is the best by far but is a considerable investment. The one many yarn stores have, a true workhorse.

The second is more of a cheaper option.

For other recommendations on these, please visit my review here.

Which Is The Best Boye Yarn Winder Alternative?

Note: The following options are all manual, but they’re the best ones we could find to suit people’s needs. If you don’t mind cranking by hand, these are sure to make it easy, pleasant and convenient.

Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder, 10-Oz

Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn Ball Winder, 10-Oz

Created by Stanwood Needlecraft, a company that manufactures many different types of yarn winders, this is one of their most popular models. Made from durable and robust metal, plastic, and nylon.

It’s a workhorse without being unaffordable and has a capacity of winding 10 ounces of yarn at a time. An excellent choice for most people.


  • Able to wind up to 10 oz of yarn at the time.
  • Made of heavy-duty, high-quality materials
  • Creates center pull yarn balls
  • Protected gear shaft, with gears made of durable nylon
  • No tools required to set it up


  • Excellent capacity of yarn it’s able to wind
  • Heavy-duty, so it’s built to last and withstand some serious cranking
  • Well made and designed to last for years
  • Great value for the price
  • Smooth base so it won’t mark the surface
  • Quiet, continuous winding.


  • Sometimes the gears knock against each other
  • Can be a little bit noisy sometimes
  • Can wind the cakes a little too tightly.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Knit Picks Yarn Ball Winder

Knit Picks has nearly everything you need to further your fiber arts hobby, so it makes sense they sell a yarn winder.

A budget choice without compromising on quality, for the price, it’s a pleasant surprise on how well it works. Just something to be expected of a company like Knit Picks.


  • Able to wind up to 3 ounces or 100 grams of yarn at one time
  • Small, and doesn’t take up too much space
  • Simple set up and disassembly
  • Instructions included


  • A perfect choice for those on a budget
  • High quality for the price
  • Helpful customer service if anything goes wrong
  • A great first yarn winder, though it doesn’t compromise on quality.
  • Easy to assemble


  • Might be too small if you want to wind hanks over 3 ounces
  • You’ll have to cut larger skeins into two or more pieces

Your Questions Answered

How Do You Use A Boye Yarn Winder?

Here’s a step by step guide on how to set up and use one:

  • To begin attach the strong suction cup at the bottom of the winder to any smooth surface.
  • Position the winder in a place you will find comfortable.
  • Lower the carrying handle and push down on the suction cup lever.
  • Postion the yarn guide bar over the ball holder tube.
  • As the yarn winds, the yarn guide bar will rise to accommodate the ball as it gets bigger.
  • To thread the machine, unwind your hank and connect the loose end of the yarn through the guide hook.
  • Then wrap the yarn through the Metal S tension guide in a zig zag pattern.
  • Slip the yarn through the notch on the guide bar.
  • Then insert the yarn in the notch at the end of the ball holder tube.
  • Place the end of the yarn inside the tube, this will be the end you will have in the center of your ball to make it center pull.
  • Insert the electrical cord into the back of the machine, then plug the cord into an electrical wall outlet.
  • Unwind the hank completely and place over your hands.
  • Switch the winder on, keep it at a low speed when first learning to use it.
  • Move your hands in a circular motion as the machine winds the yarn.
  • As you get comfortable with using the winder, increase the speed.
  • If you are using a skein, place it in a bowl and follow the same steps above to thread the winder, keeping the yarn moving through your fingers to keep tension.
  • When you have a good sized yarn cake, turn the dial to the off position.
  • Gently pull the yarn ball off the holder tube.
  • You can either use the center pull end or the outside end for your projects.
  • Tada, you’re done. Great work.

Why Do I Need A Boye Yarn Winder?

Though the boye yarn winder is no longer widely available, there are many reasons as to why you might need or should consider a yarn winder.

  • You find winding by hand frustrating, tiring, time-consuming, or painful.
  • You want to spend more time crocheting.
  • You buy most of your yarn, or most of your yarn comes in hanks or skeins
  • You want to be able to wind it at home on your own time, rather than doing it at the yarn store.

In short, there aren’t many reasons why you shouldn’t have one.

What Is A Boye Yarn Winder?

The boye yarn winder was designed to help those who didn’t want to or couldn’t wind by hand, it did all the cranking for you and ran on electricity.

It was a good idea, but the product received mixed reviews. Now, it’s no longer manufactured, but there are second-hand models available online.

Unfortunately, though the boye yarn winder is no longer available, I’ve found what I hope are some good alternatives. Hopefully, these will serve as a functional, high-quality replacement for this popular machine.

Did you have a yarn winder from Boye? What did you like about it, were there any problems you encountered while using it? Which of these ones do you think is the best fit? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Crochet Penguin. (Yes, I’m real :) )

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2 thoughts on “Boye Yarn Winder – My Complete Guide With All The Facts”

  1. Hi, I just found this post because I have a Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder that I want to sell, and I don’t have any idea of what could be a fair price. I don’t have the receipt but it is clean, and it has the original package and the instructions, so it is like new. Could you give me an idea for the price?


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