Monday, 23 August 2010

The Niddy-Noddy

Once you have spun and plied your lovely new yarn, you'll want to make it into a skein. The old-fashioned way to do this was to wind it around the back of a chair or a willing helper's outstretched hands, but there is actually a piece of equipment out there that you can use: the niddy-noddy.

The basic niddy-noddy has a central bar with two end crossbars which sit at 90 degrees to each other. Traditionally constructed of wood, you can also make one out of PVC piping. They come in a variety of sizes, producing skeins of varying lengths. The most common size makes a skein of around 2 meters. The clever thing about the niddy-noddy is that you can use it to see how much yarn you have spun. By counting the number of wraps, and noting the length of the niddy-noddy, you can come up with approximate yardage for your skein.

Here is the one that I made last year. Using PVC pipe, this tutorial and a bit of help from my Dad I came up with this. I’m rather proud of it and it continues to work well for me.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="PVC pipe niddy-noddy, © Ingrid Murnane"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Niddy-Noddy with yarn skeined for dyeing, © Ingrid Murnane"]Niddy-Noddy with yarn skeined for dyeing[/caption]

The images in this post are copyright of Ingrid Murnane. If you wish to use the images please request permission from Ingrid.


  1. I have just tried out making a niddy-noddy like this myself. I wanted it to produce skeins that were 2m long, fairly exactly.
    I begun with the basic assumption that if the skein is going to be 2m long the length of the center pipe should be just under a 1/4 of the length of the skein - so 50cm. I started out with 50cm and wrapped a test yarn around. The finished length of the skein would have been 2.20m. After some extra sawing and measuring I now have a skein of 2m, where the central pipe is 43cm long.
    Does anyone else have experience with this?

  2. John Roued-Cunliffe23 September 2010 at 05:48

    No experience making one, but it looks quite funky and frees up my feet :)

  3. [...] summer 2010 Inny shared with us on Historic Crafts how you can easily make your own niddy noddy out of PVC piping. I decided to make some of my own [...]

  4. [...] worth of yarn onto my arm. By far my preferred method was the chair back so until I get around to making myself a Niddy Noddy I shall continue with [...]


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