A niddy noddy is a great tool for the spinner. Used to wind yarn into skeins, the length around the niddy noddy makes it possible to measure the length of yarn. As an example, a 1,1.5 or 2 yard niddy noddy will make a skein where each loop of yarn is that length, so counting the loops will tell you how much yarn you have in order to mark the yarn for future projects or for sale. Wrapping yarn into a skein gives the fiber artist the opportunity to set the twist of their yarn, dye it into a self-striping or variegated style, and make a skein for neat storage.
A niddy noddy is in the shape of a capital I, with a stick in the middle and two perpendicular sticks forming tees at both ends. Though traditionally made out of wood and running in the range of $40-80 new, it is possible and very easy to create a niddy noddy out of a few dollars worth of materials, either using wood or plastic piping. When using wood, you will either want to use a hardwood with a tight grain or really seal the wood well in order to prevent splinters that will catch the yarn. If you want to make a 1.5 or 1 yard niddy noddy instead, please substitute a 13" or 8" piece for the 17" pieces used in the directions.
To make a 2-yard niddy noddy out of wood, you will need a length approximately 17" long and two approximately 12" long. For materials, I would suggest nothing too much larger than a 1x 2 dimensional lumber, and probably not much smaller than a 3/4" hardwood dowel. You can fasten these items together either with a nail through the middle of the 12' piece into the end of the 18" piece, or if you want to try something a little more complex, you can carve the ends of the 18"piece into a smaller round, and then drill a hole of a similar size in the middle of the 12" piece and put them together. Please note that you can use wood glue; however, if you leave the joint unglued, you will be able to let it lie flat for storage.
To make a 2-yard niddy noddy out of PVC plumbing pipe, you will need a 17" length and four 5" lengths of 1/2" PVC, as well as two tees for that size of pipe and (optional) four caps. Assemble the PVC by putting the two tees on the ends of the 17" length so that it forms the capital I shape we talked about earlier, and then insert the 5" lengths into the open ends of the tees to extend the top and bottom of the I. If you have purchased caps, place these on the ends of the 5" lengths at this time. You can use adhesive to hold the niddy noddy together, though it is not necessary. If you do choose to do so, you may want to leave one of the 5" lengths unglued to make for easier starting and removal of the skein from the niddy noddy, as well as leaving one end of the 17" piece unglued in order to fold it to store flat.
To start a skein, fasten one end of your yarn to the niddy noddy, either by tying on or by slipping it into the tee and then replacing the 5" length that was removed to insert it. Open your niddy noddy by rotating one of the ends 90 degrees so that if you look at it from the top or bottom, it will form an X. Draw the yarn to the next peg on the opposite end of the I, continue to the peg opposite the one you started with, go back down to the remaining peg and then return to the peg you started with. Continue this sequence until you have wrapped all your yarn into a skein, remove the skein from the niddy noddy, secure the ends (I usually either wrap the two free ends together or knot loosely each individual end), and enjoy!