Twisted! Yarn, circular needle cable, etc

Hello all,
First-time poster here hoping for some advice. My mother, who was quite an expert knitter, taught me the basics several decades ago, but I don’t remember ever completing an actual project. I recently picked up knitting needles again when my young daughter announced that she wanted to learn. I knew I would need to brush up my skills to keep ahead of her.

I have questions about two twisted things:

  1. We have been doing our entry-level work with Red Heart acrylic worsted. The yarn comes in center-pull skeins, but I have been winding smaller center-pull balls so we don’t have to be attached to the big skeins. I find that my yarn becomes progressively more twisted as I knit and I have to stop every so often (several rows) and spin my work around the needle to relieve the twist. Why is this happening? I assume I must have introduced excessive twist while winding my balls somehow? It was rather amusing when I began whirling my work around, but as it gets longer it is becoming more annoying. I am just knitting a making-it-up-as-I-go-along sort of sampler to try out different stitches and techniques, but it is already ~16" long and I have plenty more I want to add before I bind off.
  2. I am knitting on brand-new circular needles, Susan Bates, I believe. The firm twist in the cable is bugging me, as I have to turn it back and forth every time I turn my work before I can figure out what configuration pulls the least as I knit. Is there any way to relax the cable?
    Any suggestions would be most welcome. :?

stick your cable needle in boiling water for a few seconds and pull tight! magic! welcome to KH!