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unwind the yarn into a hank...
wet the yarn thoroughly in cool water, being careful not to get it tangled up (in other words, don't leave it to float around while you take a picture)

   Bonne Marie was kind enough to send me this tip: If you take pieces of scrap yarn about 4 inches long and tie your hank in 3-4 places it will NOT get tangled. Sometimes, re-cycled yarn benefits from a washing at this point with some soap and this way you can wash, swirl and rinse to your hearts content.

gently squeeze excess water from the yarn and hang it to dry with some sort of weight attached to the bottom to pull the kinks out -- these plastic coat hangers worked fine
when the yarn is thoroughly dry (overnight in this case) wind it into a ball
One excellent way to do this is to use an old papertowel or toilet paper roll as a "nÝstepinne". Hook the end of the yarn into a split in the cardboard to keep it available and begin winding the yarn around the roll. When the yarn has built up a bit into a ball, wind the yarn around in so it lays diagonally across the ball. When you're finished, tuck the last bit into the outside of the ball, gently remove the ball from the roll and use the end sticking out of the middle to begin knitting.
Ta da! A center pull ball of yarn!
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