Fix Your Broken Knit Picks Ball Winder

by | May 9, 2019 | Fiber Tools

The Knit Picks Ball Winder is a great, inexpensive ball winder. I love them so much that I have owned two of them. Unfortunately the Knit Picks Ball Winder has a tendency to slip gears. When this happens, your beautiful yarn cakes turn into a loose, tangled pile of mess. In this article I am going to show you how to fix a broken Knit Picks ball winder, step by step.

Fair Warning: This will probably void your warranty. You can call Knit Picks, and they might send you a replacement winder. But sometimes you just can’t wait a week or two.

Broken Knit Picks Ball Winder

Broken Knit Picks Ball Winder: Yarn is loose on center post, does not create the typical diamond pattern, and tangles when used a a center pull ball.

Equipment Needed

  • Screw Driver
  • Small Towel or Bowl – to hold screws and parts (optional)

How to Fix a Broken Knit Picks Ball Winder

Step One: Remove Post

Remove the center post on the broken Knit Picks Ball Winder, by twisting it counter-clockwise while holding the collar firmly. Turn until the tabs line up with the holes and pull up to remove.


Step Two: Remove Collar Top

Underneath the center post is the screw that holds the collar on. We will need to remove this to get to the gears. Using your screwdriver, hold the collar firmly and remove the screw in the top.

Then carefully remove the collar. The collar maybe a tight fit. If it does not come of easily, rock it back and forth to help work it off.

Step 3: Loosen the Gear Screw

There is a screw that holds down the main gear. This screw may already be loose. If there is a gap between the head of the screw and the base, then you can skip this step. If there is no gap, use your screw driver to loosen the screw. DO NOT REMOVE THIS SCREW. This screw holds the main gear, and can be difficult to get back on if removed.

Step 4: Pop the Gear Back In Place

Turn the winder over, and clamp onto your table. Clamping the winder will make it easier to manipulate the gears.

You may be tempted at this point to clean the inside of your winder. DO NOT REMOVE THE GREASE. The waxy, dirty looking grease inside the winder helps it run smoothly and reduces any squeaking sounds.

This is the scary part. Carefully push the large gear down until it pops in alignment with the small gear on the bottom. I have done this multiple times and have never broken the winder. You will need to be firm, and may need to flex the dark purple spin body in order to get the gears back in alignment.

Don’t get crazy and put all your body weight on it. Remember that the winder is plastic and can break if you push it too hard. Be firm, but gentle.

Step 5: Reassemble

Now, repeat the steps in reverse order to reassemble.

Reassemble Ball Winder:
  1. Tighten screw underneath the spinning body, this will hold the large gear in alignment
  2. Replace collar onto gear head
    Note: there are grooves that line up the collar correctly. If you have trouble getting the collar on, you probably have the grooves misaligned.
  3. Screw collar on
  4. Reinstall the center post

Step 6: Test Ball Winder

Starting slowly at first, wind a small amount of yarn onto the winder. If you winder is working correctly it should look like the photo below when finished. The yarn should cross over itself to make a diamond pattern and the cake should be flat on the top and bottom.

Step 7: Celebrate & Maintain

Take a sip of your hard cider / coffee / wine and pat yourself on the back. You just saved yourself $20 and kept a perfectly good winder from going to the dump.

Every few months check the screw on the bottom of the spinning body, the one that holds the gear in place. This screw can come loose and cause the gears to slip more easily. If you notice a gap under the screw head, tighten it down to prevent the gears from misaligning.

Didn’t Work?

There is a second set of gears in the base of the winder. If these gears slip, there is no repairing the winder. The winder is assembled in a way that you have to break the plastic base in order to gain access to the lower gears.

Give Knit Picks a call. They are super helpful and may be able to send you a new one for free if it is still in warranty.

If it is beyond repair, it’s time to get a new one! Yay for Knit Picks orders. I think that the Knit Picks Winder is such a great value, that it is worth buying again, even if yours is a hot mess.

Check It Out: Knit Picks Ball Winder


Have a question? Or just want to celebrate? Hit the comments below!