Frustrated with knotted yarn

Hello all!

Beginner knitter here. I am using some worsted yarn to knit a headband. I was knitting alone quite well until I came upon some random knots in my ball of yarn (like pieces of yarn tied together). My husband and I have been trying to unknot it for almost 45 minutes and I am about ready to explode!

Does anyone have any quick tips to unknot the yarn so I don’t have to begin again with my project?

Are there any steps I should take PRIOR to beginning my knitting so I can avoid this?

Are there any yarn brands that I should stay away from in order to not have to deal with this problem?

Thanks in advance for the help!


Prior I would unravel the ball and roll a new one of my own and caron simply soft sometimes has those problems

I always check out yarns on They will have a comment tab and the more popular ones that have been around a while will have loads of comments where people address these issues. However, this won’t always help you with new yarns when there aren’t comments yet. Sometimes you just have to trust your knitting fate I guess.
I also check out the Knitter’s Review.
If its the problem I think you are having, it is two yarns tied together and that is frustrating. I always like to have my yarn changes happen at the edge that will be seamed or at certain points in a circular piece and so I will unknit back to that point, while grumbling, and proceed as if I’m adding a new ball of yarn. Some companies do seem to have this happen more than others and I don’t know enough about the industry to say its because its not a good yarn although that’s how I feel when it happens.
If its not this problem then maybe the yarn has pulled itself into knots because of issues when it was wound into a skein and then its just an opportunity to practice patience. :hair:

Knots are normal. Some skeins have more than others and some have none. If it’s two ends tied together I just cut it and continue. Weave the ends in later. I actually prefer to change yarns in the middle somewhere unless it’s a different color. Less bulk on the edge.

It’s annoying, but it’s not a deal breaker if I love the yarn.

All yarns can have knots in them, I’ve rarely found any in Caron Simply Soft, and many expensive yarns have them too.

Sounds like you’ve got tangles too, that happens with any yarn. If they’re really bad and you have enough yardage you can cut them out.

It is frustrating but it’s something you’ll face with different yarns. I’m having the same problem with some Rowan yarn right now. I cut out the knot and join the two ends using one of the methods under the Tips videos (see Free Videos at the top of the page) for joining new yarn. You can do this in the middle of the headband so that the edges stay clean if you like.

There are typically two kinds of knits you’ll encounter in yarn, I’ve found. One is where the manufacturer had to splice to pieces together, so once you get the knot untied you have two pieces of yarn. Those I just fix with scissors and horse on. The second kind is one that’s resulted from me getting the yarn in a hopeless tanlged up mess. Those I usually try to untie because… I don’t like joining any more than I have to. I’ve found that a really, REALLY strong pair of those heap reading glasses you get at the drugstore helps a lot for this purpose. And other purposes as well. I’ll also take a small needle, say a US 4 or so, to help pry the knot open. You gotta be careful when you do that not to unply the yarn too much, but I usually find that it does less damage than trying to yank on it from the outside.

It’s not just you. I think they changed the manufacturing process. I didn’t used to have those problems 20 years ago. The center pull skeins don’t want to pull out. Then you have what they call yarn vomit when you pull and a whole bunch comes out. The center pull is fine for a while until you get to the end of the skein. Then it wants to tangle like mad. I don’t think there’s any one company that’s better than another. They’re all bad that way.

It’s a lot of work, but you might be better off rolling the whole thing up in a ball. It feeds easier and you can watch for knots and things like that. I’ll admit, I’m lazy. I use the center pull skein for half of it. I usually do things like mittens and hats. Then when it gets down to the end and things get hairy, I’ll roll it into a ball.

When you have it rolled up in a ball, put it in a plastic shopping bag, run the end out, and tie the ties shut but not tight so it can easily feed out. This keeps the ball from rolling onto the floor and down the street. It also keeps pet hair and dust off it. Some people like yarn bowls, but they can get pretty pricey. I like Michael Sellick from The Crochet Crowd’s idea. He just goes in his kitchen and gets a clean bowl out of the cabinet to use as a yarn bowl. My soup bowl works great and it’s free.

Yarn bowls? That’s new to me. I use plastic pails that had peanut butter or detergent or… People sell and buy yarn bowls? They must have some great feature a coffee can or plastic food tub doesn’t? Maybe I better google yarn bowls.

Pottery ones are purtier than coffee cans…

Yep! My husband makes ceramics and he’s made several of them. The ones he’s made have a curved slot in the side, but I’ve seen them on Etsy with a straight slot or even a hole in the side. He found them a little difficult because the clay wants to collapse or shrink strangely when fired sometimes.

I’d break the darned thing! :gah: How pretty would that be? Huh? :roflhard:
Your soup bowl sounds good to me. :thumbsup:

Did he make some of the ones in the link? They’re really cool. I don’t know if I’d use one for a yarn bowl, but it sure would be nice to own one.

You’re not supposed to be carrying it around! :teehee: It sits on the floor near where you sit or on a table. Other bowls work well, but don’t have the slot so they sometimes bounce out.

No, just for a few women who wanted them at my LYS.

innocent eyes I thought I’d take it in the car when I’m waiting for someone or in a waiting room.

Knowing me I’d stub my toe on it and break it [I]and[/I] my toe! :waah:

My first encounter with yarn bowls was at the Carolina Fiber Fest last May. I saw the sign from a distance, but couldn’t see the bowls, and I was puzzled as to how useful a bowl made out of yarn could really BE. It wasn’t until we actually got to the booth that I realized why Wendy was laughing… My next reaction, of course, was “Oh! So there’s an actual thing you can [I]buy[/I] to do what I do with Ziploc bags?”

They were really nice, but if I bought one I’d blow my entire yarn budget for a month! So… I think I’m still the right 6 numbers away from owning any of them. Until then… Ziploc bags.

Jan, do you have photos of your DH’s yarn bowls? I’d love to see them. Yarn bowls are now on my “I’d love to have it, but I can’t justify spending the money” list.

Hmm…I’m not sure, I’ll have to check.

My LYS got some of these in before Christmas. They were hand thrown pottery and very pretty. Pretty pricey as well if I remember correctly.
I keep my yarn in the bag I carry around with me everywhere I go!
I think my cat would have fun playing with any yarn she could get her paws on.
I came home one time from a long weekend away to find a wild yarn trail all over the living and dining room where she’d gotten into a ball and literally had a ball of fun with it!!!

At over $100, those bowls can get pretty pricey. I can buy a lot of coffee and reuse the cans for that. Lion brand and some other sites sell glorified coffee cans with a hole in the top. I’m low tech with putting my yarn in plastic shopping bags from the store and loosely tying the top shut. My local mom and pop grocery store around the corner uses bright red bags. I guess the owner thinks people will notice the store that way. I call them biohazard bags. When I get done with the bags and the skein of yarn, they do double duty disposing of “land mines” dug out of the cat litter box.