How to Untangle Yarn
Learn how to unravel yarn and roll it back up neatly and ready for use!
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When you're sitting in your comfy chair working up the latest crochet design, the last thing you want to run into is a tangled ball of yarn. Even when you're just beginning a new project you don't want to encounter that pesky knot. Learn how to untangle yarn with this easy-to-follow tutorial.
These yarn tips will show you, step-by-step how to detangle yarn in one of the best ways available. If you crochet, knit, or work with yarn a lot, then you know how often this problem can occur. No need to get those scissors out and ruin the strand. Keep it as one piece with some patience and careful maneuvering. This tutorial answers your yell for tangled yarn help.
PLUS! Once you are done untangling your yarn, learn how to wind a yarn ball with this video tutorial directly below from our in-house yarn specialist. You will be all set for your next yarn project.
Learn more about yarn with our page on Types of Yarn and Yarn Weight
How to Untangle Yarn:
Most of us do not get all happy when faced with something like this:
However, if you take your time (and maybe grab some chocolate and tea/coffee/wine), you can get through this! The first thing to remember is: Do. Not. Pull. Really, don't do it. No pulling, no tugging, no yanking; you must be gentle or you will make it worse.
Sometimes your yarn is one giant tangle, but often there are groups of tangles, in which case you want to separate them. Once you have laid out your yarn into its little piles of tangles you need to find at least one end.
If it's not as easy as it was for me (it is clear that there is an end in the small tangle on top), then one way you can do this is look at how many strands of yarn are stretching between the various piles. If there is an uneven number, there is most likely an end in that pile.
Once you have found it, see how much you can free easily, and began rolling it into a ball. Now you are ready to begin with the first pile of tangles. (If you cannot find an end, you can still untangle your yarn, it's just going to be a lot easier once it appears).
As you work each tangle, look at it and decide the best way to approach it. In the photo above, you can see the yarn coming from my ball is wrapped around a lot of other parts of the yarn. The best way to untangle this part is to weave the ball through following the path of the yarn so that it will unwrap.
Most tangles consist of a bunch of loops, so if you gently loosen up the tangled loops, you can unwrap the loops. This is really the "trick" to untangling yarn: free the loops. This works even if you do not have an end. Once I unwrapped the loop above I had a very large amount of free yarn to wind onto my ball.
As you untangle, you may come across the other end of the yarn. When this happens, I recommend starting to wind that end as well. There will be points when one ball of yarn is easier to unwind than the other, and as you work it will most likely switch.
Here you see I came to a point where it was very clear that the large ball of yarn was just wrapped through one of the tangles. I took my pointer finger and ran it along the path of the yarn. I then gently opened up that space and placed my entire hand inside. I was able to grab a hold of the large ball and pull it through freeing it from the tangle.
At this point, I had two small piles of tangles each leading to one of the balls of yarn. I was able to carefully and gently untangle them and finish winding the balls. This left me with the yarn wound onto a ball from both ends, so I simply kept winding the large ball, unwinding the small one as I went.
I do need to point out the biggest reason I see people ending up with tangled yarn: If your yarn comes in a hank, you must wind it into a ball before trying to use it. Personally, I own a swift and a ball winder, and have never regretted a single penny that I spent on them. If you want to DIY it, then check out the video at the top of the page!
Of course, you can also always check out these 43 Tips on Keeping Your Yarn Tangle Free.
Take a few minutes, hours, or days to work up some of these crochet patterns. They vary in size, style, color, and purpose because, obviously, it’s a collection of everything you like the most! 22 Popular Free Crochet Patterns eBook
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