The Yarn Spider
Is there a tangled web at the bottom of your stash?
One of the scarier things you might find in your stash is the tangled web of the Yarn Spider. She is a sneaky character who tries to scare you off working with yarn by making it look impossible.
She often works with her partners in crime the Yarn Baby, (AKA the Yarn Barf) and the Frog Prince 🐸.
You peer into the bag or box and in the bottom all you see is a nasty tangle of yarn. The Yarn Spider whispers in your ear that is probably all knotted together and anything you do is just going to make things worse.
“All that beautiful yarn is just going to be wasted so it’s probably best if you just leave it alone. Hide it away and pretend you didn’t see it,” she whispers.
But, as we know from last week, hidden yarn is corrosive and that tangled web is just going to eat away at your confidence. It will pop right back up in your mind the next time you need to unravel something or wind a new skein and stop you in your tacks.
What to do?
First of all make yourself a cup of something warm, comforting and non alcoholic. Do some gentle breathing exercises.
Thank the Yarn Spider for sharing her worries. Like all the yarn monsters she is just trying to protect you. So reassure her that you have hidden your scissors. No yarn will be wasted today.
Once you’re feeling calm about it pull the tangle out onto a table and look at what you have.
Can you see any ends of yarn?
If you can great. Just notice where they are.
The first rule is NEVER pull tightly on a single strand of yarn.
The yarn is almost never actually knotted. It just looks that way.
It is in loops and those loops can twist and interlock, a bit like knitting.
Your task is to loosen the loops up so they can unravel.
Gently pull the tangle apart.
Open it up.
Maybe pick it up and shake it.
Ease the loops so they can separate.
Keep pulling things open.
You can shake the tangle again, once it’s opened up a bit.
Remember never pull on a free end.
That tightens loops around each other and makes your job harder.
Once you have quite a long strand with a free end try letting that fall to one side. Don’t roll it into a ball just yet.
Don’t start taking this end through other loops yet either. It will act like taking
the yarn through the last loop of your knitting and ‘fasten off’, making untangling harder.
Keep working on opening up the tangles.
By now you may have several separate clumps and it can feel like you are just making things worse. You are not.
Drink some of your drink.
Once you’ve reached that stage wind your free ends into one or more balls.
As you get close to a tangle things get tight.
Follow the line of the yarn into the clump
Find where it’s getting knotted up, and loosen that clump.
Pull out, gently, to the next little bit.
If the clumps are really tight or it is a sticky yarn a fine crochet hook can help
DO NOT REACH FOR THE SCISSORS
Remember what you promised the Yarn Spider!
Her revenge is swift and nasty.
Cutting won’t undo any knots or loops. It just wastes your yarn.
If you feel like cutting it is your only solution STOP!
Put it away.
In a bag. It will not get magically worse, I promise.
Come back to it fresh another day.
Bound Together Not Knotted
Just occasionally two strands of yarn feel like they are knotted. Usually they are being held together by a bit of fibre. It’s like a pill of yarn that forms a little band round two strands.
This is more likely with fuzzy yarns but it can also happen with Superwash Merino.
Once you recognise one of these you need to break it.
Put those scissors DOWN!
I said break not cut 😂
I like to get the two connected strands side by side and then break apart the fuzzy fibre ring with a darning needle.
Now just carry on gently winding the small balls of yarn, stopping to loosen clumps or deal with fuzzy bits.
There you go.
Reclaimed yarn, all neatly wound in balls ready for a project.
What are you going to knit?
Hit reply and tell me or ask for more help with your particular yarn monster.
Till next time