Tips On How To Untangle Yarn - Darn Good Yarn

Tips On How To Untangle Yarn

Here are our top 7 tips for how to untangle yarn!

There is one, singular thing that all fiber artists hate. It's an unfortunate situation that we all deal with at one time or another. What is it? This object of our disdain and frustration can be defined with two words: Tangled Yarn. (Insert groans, distraught sighs, or horrified screams here). 

Because this a problem that all knitters and crocheters face, it is also something that many of us, through various methods, have learned to overcome! You don't have to let your tangled yarn defeat you. You can beat this annoying obstacle that stands between you and working on your creative projects, and today we'll tell you how!

Here are our top tips for how to untangle your yarn! 

1. Use your needles or crochet hook.

Woman's hands using knitting needles to untangle purple yarn on a wooden surface

One of the most traditional ways to untangle a mess of knotted or twisted up yarn is to use your knitting needles or crochet hook. 

Use one or both of your needles to comb through your yarn and pull out the tangles. If there are tight knots, use one needle to loosen these knots. Work the end of the needle into the center of each knot and then use your hands to pull it apart. 

If you only crochet, use a small crochet hook on tight knots. 

2. Find both ends.

Purple yarn ball on a wooden surface

Near the beginning of your untangling process, find both ends of the yarn that you're handling. After you have located these ends, roll them both into balls up to the point where the tangles begin. This will make it easier to keep track of both ends and to untie knots and tangles with your hands, without creating new ones. 

3. Set it down on a flat surface and use your fingers.

Woman's hand untangling purple yarn over a wooden surface

Set your tangled yarn down on a flat, clean surface such as a table or tray. Using your fingers, spread the yarn apart, untangling knots and intertwined sections as you go to create one strand of continuous, untangled yarn. 

Remember to roll this freed strand into a ball as you are untangling it so that it will not become tangled again!

4. Wrap your yarn around the back of a chair, untangling it as you go.

Do you have chairs in your home? Most of us do. The backs of your kitchen chairs are excellent tools for untangling and balling up your yarn! 

Wrap one end of the yarn around one of the chair posts or rungs and then move your yarn in a circular motion, winding it into a large loop around the back of the chair. 

For a visual example of this great tip, click the button below to watch a video of Darn Good Yarn's CEO and Founder, Nicole Snow, using two chairs to wrap a ball of yarn!

5. Use a Tapestry Needle.

This method is similar to the knitting needle method from tip #1. However, tapestry needles can be of more help when you are dealing with thinner yarns (such as lace weight) or especially tight knots. 

Work the end of your tapestry needle into the middle of those impossibly tight ties in your yarn to render them apart and free your yarn for winding!

6. Keep the skein loose!

Woman's hand holding tangled purple yarn


This is something most knitters and crocheters will emphasize when sharing tips to untangle yarn. No matter which method you are using to untangle your yarn, it is important to remember to keep the skein (the yarn being handled) loose while you work! Do not pull tightly on knots or strands. This will not help the yarn to untie more easily; it will only make the knots and tangles tighter and more complicated. 

Holding the yarn loosely and shaking it out can also help to undo minor tangles. 

 7. Prevent your yarn from ever getting tangled again with a Yarn Bowl!

Purple ball of yarn in a wooden yarn bowl on a wooden surface

I think we can all agree that tangled yarn is a nightmare! Nothing should stand between you and your best DIY creation yet. We all just want to knit and crochet beautiful things without dealing with the hassle of taking apart the messy twists and knots that get in the way. 

Thankfully, we're here to help you keep your yarn untangled! If you wind your yarn into a ball immediately after opening it, you can keep it balled and tangle-free with one of our Yarn Bowls! These yarn bowls are available in ceramic, cat-themed, and handmade wooden models. To use one of these bowls, set the ball of yarn into it and thread the end of the yarn through the curved slot in the side. As you knit or crochet, pull your yarn out of the bowl through this slot. 

Maybe instead of traditional balls of yarn, you prefer cakes! If you're not sure what a "cake" of yarn is, you're not alone. This is just another word for a ball of yarn that has been wrapped to resemble a cylindrical shape as shown below.

10 Spice Market Cakes of Yarn on a white background

How does one create a cake of yarn? The easiest way to do so is with a tool called a yarn swift! If you're curious about how to use one, click the button below to watch an instructional video from Nicole Snow. 

What are your go-to tips for untangling your yarn? If you've got a great hack or method that was not mentioned above, let us know about it in the comments! 

Happy Crafting! 

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