Youve probably seen a scene in a movie where someone is winding a ball of yarn and the hank is being held between someones (usually the knitters suitors) outstretched hands.
The old-fashioned way is a great way to deal with a hank of yarn. If you dont have a friend handy, do what I do and turn two dining room chairs back-to-back. Put them close enough together so that the yarn stays up when stretched over the backs of the chairs.
If you have a hank of yarn with a small circumference, you could probably wrap it around just one chair back.
Ive also successfully rolled a hank while leaving the yarn spread out on the floor, but it did get a little messy toward the end. If you want to get really wild, you could hold the yarn with your feet.
Or, if you want to be fancy, you can buy a yarn swift, an adjustable, umbrella-like device that holds the unrolled hank firmly in place as you wind.