How To Make a Travel Niddy Noddy

When I first stumbled across Ravelry, I ran into a lot of terms and tools that I had never heard of before.   I was especially intrigued by two spinner’s tools- Nostepinnes and Niddy Noddy’s.  Not only are they  great tools for winding and measuring yarn, I was pretty sure that I could easily make my own versions to use for my crafting.       

Nostepinne with partially wound Ball

 A Nostepinne is used to wind a center pull ball or cake by hand.  Using the Nostepinne is a wonderfully contemplative way to rewind small bits of yarn or to make balls from delicate yarns that can be damaged by the more mechanical winding methods.     

PVC Niddy Noddy with yarn wound on it.
PVC Niddy Noddy with Yarn

A Niddy Noddy is often used by spinners and hand dyers to “skein” the yarn.  Depending on the size of your Niddy Noddy you can also use it to get a  measurement of the yardage you have.  I use my one-yard Niddy Noddy to measure out small hanks of color for free form crochet projects, or for trading with other freeformers.  I have used my two-yard one for dying yarn.  The best bit is the 2 yard skeins/hanks fit nicely on my swift for winding later.  Whether with the ball winder or the nostepinne.       

When I checked with fellow crafters on Ravelry I was pointed toward  PVC piping from the local DIY store as an inexpensive way to make a niddy noddy.  So I first made one out of that.  But I found it a bit bulky and heavy.  Using it got to my wrist after a time.      

I went in search of a lighter version.  I then discovered there was a variety of PVC piping that was thinner in diameter and much lighter weight called CPVC HiTemp.   I purchased a 3 foot length and some connectors and headed home to my studio to create a Travel Niddy Noddy. 

Travel Niddy Noddy in pieces with Storage Bag

It is a travel one since I can easily take it apart and bring it with me in a storage bag.  This works with the one-yard Niddy Noddy, but the center bar for the two-yard version is too long for my current storage bag.  The following are my steps for making it. 

Step One: Gather all the tools and supplies you’ll need.  In my case this was a 3 foot length of CPVC Hi Temp pipe, 2 T-connectors, 4 end caps, a marking pen, wet/dry sandpaper and a hacksaw.  Not pictured but very necessary is a tape measure or ruler.      

My Supplies and Tools

Step Two:   Mark your length of pipe for cuts to make four – 2 3/4 inch bits for the “arms” of your niddy noddy. You can make the arms longer if you wish,  these are the spots where your yarn wraps round,  for thicker hanks it helps but it also makes it a little harder to remove the hanks. You also will need to cut 2 lengths for the cross bar. Mine were 8 and 17 inches.     

The cut pieces before Assembly

Step Three:   Sand all the ends of the cut pieces, especially the cross bars and the end of the 2 arms that will have a removable cap. You want the T-connector and the end caps to be snug but not so much you can’t remove them.  I then used epoxy to attach the arms to the T-connector.  I also marked the 2 end caps that would be removable.     

Assembly layout

Step Four:  Now you can put the pieces together to use to skein or measure your yarn.  Twist one T-bar to make the arms at a 90 degree angle to the other T-bar.  Your niddy noddy is ready for use.  Once you’ve finished skeining or measuring your yarn removing the end cap will make it easier to remove the yarn. 

Assembled 1 yard version

Or using the longer cross bar gives you a 2 yard version of the niddy noddy.      

Assembled 2 yard Niddy Noddy

Now I don’t know how I ever lived without them. Well those and my Swift and Ball-winder. I purchased the later two, but the former two seemed relatively easy to make on my own so I asked some questions, looked at some photographs and decided to take a run at it.  I hope you enjoy your own Niddy Noddy, despite the odd name it is a very useful tool for any fiber artist.

5 thoughts on “How To Make a Travel Niddy Noddy

  1. This is a great project! I wonder if there is an inner adaptor available (or creatable) that could join two of the shorter lengths to create the longer length. Then all the parts could fit in the travel case and a two-yard skein would still be possible.

    1. That is a good possibility. Though you would have to have a fairly precise cut on the length to be sure that the pieces fit together well to avoid a spot that would snag the yarn.

    2. You can get a coupling to join two pieces of the same diameter (sometimes called S x S coupling). That would help with the longer center shaft. It would have a bump in the center of the shaft, but I’m not sure it would snag anything just because of where it’s located.

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