How to Wind a Yarn Butterfly

Sometimes you need just a small amount of yarn for a project, and it would be uncomfortable to use a full ball of yarn. That’s when you need a yarn butterfly! Here’s how to wind a yarn butterfly. It’s quick and easy.

A yarn butterfly is simply a “re-packaging” of yarn into a small butterfly-shaped bundle. If prepared right, the bundle stays wrapped and secured, making it possible to use the working end of the yarn for your project while the rest of the yarn waits patiently.

Yarn butterflies are usually used for the intarsia method (knitting or crocheting), but they can be used any time.

It can be easier to use a butterfly than a yarn bobbin. In my experience, plastic yarn bobbins get tangled more than butterflies. Plus, I can never find enough bobbins when I’m ready to start a complex intarsia project.

OK, I didn’t say that very well in words. It’s really quite easy to do, so let’s try some pictures. Follow these step-by-step instructions or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to wind a yarn butterfly Step 1: Hold yarn tail under thumb.
  1. Hold the yarn tail under your thumb and out of the way.

Begin wrapping in figure-8.

2. Begin wrapping the yarn around your fingers in a figure-8 pattern.


Keep strands parallel.

3. As you wrap, keep the strands parallel to each other. Don’t let them cross over each other.


How to wind a yarn butterfly Step 4: Pinch the yarn bundle together at the center.

4. When you have wrapped enough, pinch the yarn bundle together at the center point, and slide it off your fingers.


Wrap the tail around the bundle

5. Leaving at least 12″ [30 cm], cut the working yarn. Wrap this end around the center of the bundle. Wrap tightly, but not too tightly.


Tuck end under center wraps.

6. Tuck the end under the center wraps. A crochet hook is handy to use for this task.


Step 7: Use the free end of the yarn to work with. It should pull neatly out of the butterfly.

7. When you have finished, use the working end (the end that was under your thumb). It should pull out neatly as you need it, leaving the rest of the yarn still wrapped up in its butterfly shape.


The yarn I used for the demonstration is Chic Sheep by Marly Bird. Looking for more yarny information? Check out How to Wind Yarn with a Yarn Swift and Yarn Winder and How to Block Knitting and Crochet.

Now that you know how to wind a yarn butterfly, what will you make with your yarn butterflies? Leave a comment below.

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