Yarn twists (not the stitches) when using circular needles

This is really confusing me so I hope I can explain it so it makes sense.
I’ve only ever knitted one thing in my life and sorry to say I found it rather boring. Don’t hate me yet. :slight_smile: That was years ago. I’ve decided to give it another go and I found a pattern for a very pretty afghan that is on circular needles. Every two rows in the pattern, you have to go back to the beginning of the row you just finished and I’m assuming that is why this pattern requires circular needles.
I cast on using a long tail cast on method and I liked the way it looked. It was not twisted so no problem there. Then I continued on to the pattern. I checked the internet on how to do the various stitches, it’s pretty simple, so no problem there. The pattern shows a white on white afghan but I like color and the pattern has a place where you could logically change colors, so I’m using three different colors.
I’m using all Red Heart yarn, worsted weight, the colors are a variegated one called Sangria, and two solids Flame and Shocking Pink. I told you I like color and it is colorful.
I’m using a Susan Bates 9mm (8 US) Silvalume, 36 inch circular needle.
When I got about three rows into the pattern, the yarn between the afghan and the skein was so twisted that it reminded me of the old phone cords where you had to let the receiver hang down so the cord would untwist. Remember those?
The stitches look great but the yarn is making me crazier than I already am. Does anyone have any ideas why that might happen and how I can prevent it?
I got around the problem by rolling the skein between my hands for many many revolutions to untwist the yarn. But I’m another two rows in and it’s twisting again. I don’t want to keep rolling the skein every two rows. And I can’t let the work or the skein hang down like I could with the phone receiver.
Right now, I’m about 5 rows into the pattern but I just ripped it all out because I decided I wanted the afghan wider than what the pattern called for. So don’t worry about telling me I’ll need to rip it out because I already did.
Also the cable between the needles is very twisted but I saw on this site that I could dip them in hot water and straighten them out. So I’ll be doing that next. But I can’t believe that would cause the yarn to twist. It’s just aggravating.
Thanks so much for any help you can give. I’m glad to have found this forum since I’m such a newbie to knitting I’m sure I’ll have more questions.

Welcome to KH!
This can happen and it may be due to the way the yarn itself is spun or it can be due to the way the yarn is wound on a ball or skein. You could check Ravelry to see if there are any complaints about your specific Red Heart Yarn.
Let the yarn untwist periodically by holding the yarn and letting the project dangle and untwist (this is going to be difficult as the afghan gets larger) or by securing the yarn to the ball with a short needle or dpn (thank you Becky Morgan) and letting the skein untwist.
Are you pulling from the center of the skein? That may be adding to the twist. One of the best ways to avoid extra twist is to pull from the outside of the skein and let the skein bounce around or to use a lazy susan type device.

Thank you for the prompt reply. I didn’t know that yarn would twist like that. I’ve never had that happen before.

I realized I had made a mistake with one of the yarns in my previous post. The Sangria is Michael’s Craftsmart brand, not Red Heart. And the Sangria color was definitely the worst with the twisting. I’ve never bought anything but Red Heart before but this color was beautiful and the price was really good so I bought it. Now, I’m thinking I should have stuck to Red Heart.

I checked on Ravelry and didn’t find any complaints about either Red Heart or Craftsmart twisting. Although I found many comments about rewinding yarn into balls.

Do you think rewinding this yarn might solve this problem or would it just be a waste of time?

I thought about pulling the yarn from the outside rather than pulling from the center. The skein bouncing around would drive my cats crazy. I have a large 3 liter pop bottle that I’m going to put the skein in and see if I can unwind it from the outside while it’s in there. I use that bottle for the skeins when I’m crocheting but I’m always pulling from the center which is why the bottle works so well.

A soda bottle might work or a large bowl. Anything that the yarn can tumble and maybe untwist in.
I’ve certainly had yarn twist (still do) and it sent me search of answers.

Thanks so much for the suggestion. I have a large plastic bowl that may work well. I’ll give it a try.
And also thank you for including the URL on the Ball Winder.
Who knew I would find such a great site as this one and learn so much just by trying to make an afghan.
Warm Regards, Morlaine

I have found my yarn twisting more when I knit using circular needles. Mostly because when I get to the end of the row and turn the needles around, I turn them in the same direction.

What I’ve done before is turn the needles in a different direction at the end of a row. That’s what has worked for me anyway!!

Hth, Knitcindy

knitcindy, Your idea makes perfect sense and I will keep that in mind as I think it would help. However, in this particular instance, I believe the problem was with the yarn because the yarn was extremely twisted after only about 6 rows of work.

Salmonmac, I did as you suggested and started over, pulling the yarn from the outside rather than from the center of the skein and that has eliminated about 99% of the twisting. I’ll bet using knitcindy’s idea will take care of the rest of the problem. Thank you both for taking the time to help such a novice.

As part of my learning process, I’ve discovered that keeping the yarn on the knitting needles is kinda like herding cats. Take your eyes off of it for one minute and the yarn has managed to escape. LOL. I really like this pattern and would like to post a picture when I’m finished.

Again, thanks for all the help and suggestions. I guess we can mark this thread Closed.

Glad you found some help here!! Can u post a link to the pattern you’re working on?? I’m always interested in new ones!!


Here’s an update to my twisting problem. I knew I had a twisted sense of humor but I didn’t want it to carry over to my yarn.

The idea of pulling the yarn from the outside of the skein works well for about two rows of stitches but by the time I get to row 5 or 6 it is very twisted again. Then I tried cutting the yarn at the end of each row but I don’t like doing that.

Here is the solution that I settled on. It is a bit aggravating but so far it is working okay. I’ve gone back to pulling the yarn from the center of the skein but now at the end of each row, I hold the skein endways so the center pull thread is at the bottom and then looking down at the end of the skein that is now at the top, I twirl the skein counter clockwise about 25 or 30 times and the yarn untwists. Just make sure it is COUNTER CLOCKWISE. It gets worse if you twist it the other way.

And, as requested, here is the free pattern I am using. It’s not difficult at all. The URL is

Thankfully, I like lots of color. Since I have 4 dogs and 3 cats white, although beautiful, is definitely not practical, so I made the following changes to this pattern. The A color is the Craftsmart Sangria (the one that twists so bad), then I changed the B color to a B and C color. The B color is Red Heart Flame and the C color is Red Heart Shocking Pink. I wish the Shocking Pink was as shocking as the Flame is but we can’t have everything we wish for. So the pattern goes like this, A / B / A / C / A / B / A / C etc. I wanted my afghan larger so I cast on 210 stitches. According to my calculations, it should come to approximately 48 inches. For afghans, I don’t check the gauge. It is in multiples of 7, in case you want to make it a different size than mine or the original pattern.

I’m not sure what kind of border I will put on it or which of the colors I will use. The colors will probably depend on the amount of yarn I have left. I may crochet the border.

I attached a pdf of the pattern to save you a bit of time. Also I attached a JPG file for the color changes that I made. I make charts like this so I can keep track of where I am in the pattern and I cross off each row as I finish it. You can make more or fewer rows as you desire. I hope it helps you. Happy Knitting.

Yes, I think the lazy susan yarn holder is the best solution. When the pain level of untwisting the yarn reaches my threshold I’m going to buy one. I’m close now.
I love your notes and organization on this pattern. Pattern is lovely too. Thanks for the link and the tables.

Before you go to the expense of buying one of the Lazy Susans from the internet, Ouch they are expensive, take a look at this article. I found it and intend to make one. It looks pretty easy. Be sure to read all the comments because some of them suggest some modifications that might make it better. I live on Social Security so any time I can find a way to make something myself and cheaper, I try it rather than put out the money.

And here is one that shows how to make your own Yarn Ball Winder using a drill. It’s very simple too. I would change it by using a piece of PVC pipe (the size of the center hole of a DVD) to make the center hole big enough that it would fit on the Rotating Yarn Holder from above. The larger hole would also make it easier for the center pull yarn to come out.

You might need a reducer for the PVC pipe so one end of the pipe would be small enough to fit in the drill. And I’d put a cap on the end of the PVC pipe just to make it look more finished. And if you taped a piece of cardboard (or an old CD or DVD) onto the PVC pipe on either side of where you are winding the yarn, it will make the top and bottom flat so the yarn will more easily fit on the Rotating Yarn Holder. That URL for the Yarn Ball Winder is

I had another idea. For the Yarn Ball Winder, maybe you could use a turkey baster in stead of PVC pipe. Just put the small end of the baster in the drill and wind the yarn on the wider part of the baster. Just a thought. Take a look at the video and see what you think.

Okay, I’ve run out of ideas for now. I’ll post a picture when I get the afghan finished. It may be a while because it takes me 27 minutes to complete one row. The fastest knitter in the world should not worry about me breaking her record. LOL.
Happy Knitting.

You are filled with clever ideas. Thanks very much for the links and explanations. Yes, $30 is a little steep for the store-bought lazy susan.

I finally got the chance to read through the pattern you’re working on and I think you’ll have your yarn twisting no matter what u do!!! Unfortunately, with the pattern telling you to drop the yarn at the end of the rows AND your color changes you are using, you will have yarn hanging all over the place and it will twist no matter what u do.

I’m not sure what u could do to prevent it. Perhaps u could use just 1 color like the pattern says. Try using one color to make a practice version!! See how that works out. But I think all those color changes u want to do will not be easy to do with this pattern

Good luck!!