A traditional sized Niddy noddy. Wind yarn into a skein and estimate length. This Niddy-Noddy forms a 2 yard, 72 inch. (Shaft is 18 inch) kein or hank of yarn when using all four arms while you hold it by the handle.
A niddy-noddy (plural niddy-noddies ) is a tool used to make skeins from spun wool. It consists of a central bar, with crossbars at each end, offset from each other by 90°. The central bar is carved to make it easier to hold. Either one of the crossbars will have a flat edge to allow the skein to slide off and is be completely removable. Wood is traditional. This Niddy noddy produces a two-yard skein. By counting the number of wraps for the skein, and measuring the length of one wrap, the approximate yardage can be calculated. The yardage is approximate because an exact yardage requires an even tension throughout wrapping the whole skein. Also, a very large skein requires wrapping the new layers on top of the old, which increases the length of the top layers. A niddy-noddy is held by the Christ Child in Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarn winder, owned by the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. Traditionally the niddy-noddy was used to the rhythm of a song, the opening line of which ran, ‘Niddy-noddy, niddy-noddy, two heads and one body.’