Yarn unplying during cast-on

When casting on using long tail method, I find the plied yarn I am using becomes more and more “unplied” as I proceed. I cast on 164 stitches recently and by the time I was half way through, the yarn was separated into strands completely. It was so annoying, and I feel it made the edges look less tidy, although I tried to wind it back up as I went along.

How can I avoid this in the future?

Many thanks for your consideration, oh great knitting ones.

This happens with some yarns. What you can do is re twist it as you go along, that may help some.


my LYS said that it sometimes has to do with how the yarn is wound and then how we “unwind” it as we use it but he said it in a way that made me :??

Usually it starts winding itself back up as you work. no good answers for you though…sorry. :shrug:

Thanks for posting this. I was wondering about that.
It’s always the tail yarn, and I keep having to let it go after every stitch, so it can re-twist itself.

Good answer. That is what I do.

If you are unwinding your yarn from the outside of the ball, try pulling it from the center instead. You’ll be reversing the way the yarn twists when you knit with it, and that should help resolve the unplying.

I do pull from the center, but it’s possible that on the most recent occasion when I noticed the untwisting to a greater degree, I was not. Someone (either my little girl or the cats) got to some of the yarn, and I may have been casting on with a portion of a skein which I’d rewound after the mishap. It looked good, but who knows which end I was using?!

I confess I do not particularly enjoy casting on. Using my usual method “long tail”, I have to do it very slowly or I get an uneven edge. I recently watched the casting on section of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Glossary on DVD, and it was fun to see so many different variations. I also tried casting on in Kitchener stitch by following instructions in “Big Book of Knitting”. Not sure I did it right, but it made an incredibly neat but also very tight edge. I’m just not that kind of knitter, I guess! I’m on the loose side. But I might try some of the exotic cast-ons I saw on the E. Zimmerman glossary video. There was a knotted cast on that gave K1P1 ribbing a sort of picot edge.

BTW, I think the wording of the instructions in that book, “Big Book of Knitting” by Katharina Buss, is weird. I can read instructions for something I know how to do without understanding it. I’m not completely happy with that book at all.

Aha! So maybe it’s the cat’s fault, not yours or the yarn’s.

I had the same reaction to the Buss book.
It was first published in German; what you’re reading is a translation into English. Especially with instructions and other technical material, something seems to have gotten a bit lost in the translation.
I kept the book around for a while because the pictures were so good,
but eventually sold it on Amazon.

You know what? I suspected as much! It’s the syntax: just kind of off kilter. It does have good pictures, though.