Knitting from a skein vs a ball

I was informed one should wind a skein of yarn into a ball before using the yarn. Any suggestions from you knitters as to whether this is a fact or not? I do have a ball winder I purchased that works fine but if it is necessary won’t go to the trouble. Oh, also have a container purchased from Jo-Ann’s to hold my yarn, has a hole in the top so the yarn does not tangle so would this be sufficient? I am pretty new at this and so far have only used yarn in balls. Thanks for any suggestions and wish each and everyone of you a wonderful Christmas, much Health and Happiness in the New Year.


I personally just knit from the skein because that is how I was taught. I too have one of those containers but I rarely use it because it’s kind of a pain if you do get a tangle, it can be hard to undo. I’m sure you will get lots of opinions about this and I am eager to know what others think! Great question!

Although I’ve not rewound yarn from skein to ball, many do it just in case there is a spot where the manufacturer may have tied off the yarn. Sometimes there’s a break in cones or whatever they skein their product from and many people encounter a knotted area. Dont’ what to find that in the middle of a row! This way you can cut the knot and start a new ball. :thumbsup:

I knit from a skein, don’t see the need to rewind. I’ve very seldom encountered knots in the yarn, and I would knot in the middle of the row anyway.

Since I will only be using one skein of the yarn in question, hopefully there won’t be a problem. Easier to just ‘get at’ the project and enjoy. Thanks for the suggestions.

Yeah that.

If I use more than 3/4 of a skein and then don’t need the rest for anything anytime soon I hand wind it into a ball so it won’t get tangled. I like skeins because they don’t roll around. I’ve never used yarn from a ball winder, they’re flat on the side, aren’t they?

Yeah, leftover or unraveled yarn gets put into a ball just to keep it together. But first time out… leave it in the skein.

Hiya Wanda n welcome to the party!
As far as I know, there are two different kinds of skeins, one is the twisted skein which a lot of gourmet yarn comes in and the pull skeins which a lot of good ol’ redheart and lion brand come in. I personally, wind the twisted skeins but just pull from the middle on the pull skeins. Didn’t know that one could just forego the whole wrapping the twisted skeins into a ball n all that stuff!! whoda thunkit!!:noway:

With the twisted skeins especially I would think it would depend on the type of yarn and how you were treating it in between knitting sessions.

On some types of yarn, the little fibers will ‘grab’ each other a bit. I’ve noticed when winding them into balls (no ball-winder, alas) I have to be a bit careful. If I’m not paying attention, two adjacent strands will grab each other and pull the whole skein out of alignment. A snarl has often been the result.

In between knitting sessions, I have a habit of just scooping things up and dumping them somewhere safe. I always make sure the stitches on the needles are secure, but then the whole mess just goes away somewhere until I’m ready for it again. A yarn ball is not a problem, it basically can’t tangle. I would think I would need to be much more careful with storing the skein flat, untwisted…in a way where nothing could rub up against it thereby twisting it. NOT my oftentimes favorite place, the bottom of my backpack with other stuff on top!


The twisted skeins are also called hanks and you do absolutely have to wind those in a ball or you end up with several hundred yards of tangled mess. There’s a thread in here somewhere posted in the last week about someone who didn’t wind. I figured we were talking about already wound skeins…

A “twisted skein” is usually called a hank, and it definitely has to be wound into a ball, otherwise it will get really tangled.

The pull skeins, which kind of look like a little loaf, can be used as is, either pulling the yarn from the inside (this way the skein doesn’t roll around as you knit) or the outer layer, which is a lot easier to find but then the skein will flop around as you knit.

For a regular skein, I just knit from the skein, then wind any leftovers into a ball as previously suggested. I tuck the label with it so I know what it is when I come across it at a later date.

SEEE!! Ya learn something new everyday :hug: :thumbsup:

hahahahaaha, I thought she was talking about knitting from a “hank” not from a pre-wound skein. I couldn’t for the life of me imagine doing that!!! When my yarn comes in a center pull skein I just use it as is. Hanks I always wind.

The twisted gourmet skeins are AKA “hanks.” They are really not usable without winding them into balls. Try knitting directly off one of them and you’ll have an unholy tangle which, given the price of “gourmet” yarn, is not a fate to be desired. Whether you use a ball winder, the back of a chair, willing pair of arms or your own knees to do the deed, it take a bit of careful manipulation to open up a hank and get it into position for winding. After that, it’s usually no problem.

I can’t see any real need to rewind pull skeins; they usually work just fine. The only time I do it is if the skein is one of those economy-size monsters that’s a pain to carry around in a small knitting bag.

Well dang guys, that’s what I thought they were called. “hanks” or twisted skeins. I thought that maybe the op had a totally different thing in mind. But that’s all I’ve ever seen are “balls”, “hanks” (twisted skeins) or center pull skeins. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anything else. O ok I take that back, the only “other” type of skein I’ve come across was back in the day when “aunt Lydia’s” rug yarn came in the weirdly wound whatever it was (hank, something or other). So just shoot me now n put me out of yer misery :ick: :thud: :roflhard:

[COLOR=“Magenta”]I vote for balls…from my limited,learning experience in knots and tangles. Although I don’t particularly like them rolling around,knots and tangles kinna ruin the ‘mood’ for me…[/COLOR]

I never wind my yarn into a ball, unless it’s in a hank.

And I’ve seen some knitters [U]ruin[/U] their yarn by winding it into a VERY TIGHT ball. This stretches the yarn, and messes it up.

When you knit with tightly-balled yarn, the yarn [U]might[/U] relax and your gauge will change as the item sits. OR, even worse, the yarn will be stretched out of shape forever and look too thin, making your item look strange.

A few times, I have received tightly wound balls from well-meaning friends. I always graciously say thank you, then immediately take it home and re-wind it very loosely on my ball winder. I kinda feel sorry for the yarn when it gets stretched out like that. :teehee:

Hi. Just read your reply to my quandary. The ball winder I have is not flat, it spins around winding the yarn that has been secured in a couple of slots, a peg-type piece is put into the round winder part, you turn a handle and away she goes, makes a nicely wound ball. I guess one could knit directly from this but the unit clamps onto the side of a table for stability so don’t think that would suit my needs. The ball comes off the round peg-type spindle in the middle (it is plastic as is the unit itself so the wound yarn slides well) and the yarn is in there, the inside middle like the type that come already wound into a ball. Really pretty neat - so far. Hope it doesn’t break. My reason for buying this: had knit the whole side of a sweater/jacket, found the company that put the pattern out had a somewhat ‘major’ correction much to my upset - putting it mildly. I slowly unwound the one side a few yards at a time, and the yarn was wound neatly onto the yarn winder. Actually, got two balls out of it. So, the end of my rather sad story and a ball winder. Thanks for commenting.

My ‘reply’ was to Eccie, don’t think I pushed the right button. Anway, want to thank each one of you for your comments. It is good to hear both sides of the story. I think I will use the yarn winder though. I’d hate to have a nice skein of yarn ‘vomit’ all over me…

I think Eccie meant the `ball’ from a ball winder is flat, like a cake, not round like a ball.