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I have slowly made progress transferring all my errant and scrap yarn onto cones. Throughout the process, there have been many times where it's been a breeze to wind the yarn. It relaxes me and makes me appreciate organizing and maintenance as art forms in themselves.

But as with all things in life, I've had some hiccups along the way. And by "hiccups," I really mean big 'ole tangled messes of yarn so bad that I reach the brink of just saving it as stuffing for a future project and calling it a day. I recently felt this way about a particular pink skein of yarn.

When yarn tangles, the chaos begins to feed on itself, and if I'm not careful, I consume that chaos and embody it in my own emotional state.

I often talk with others about how relaxing knitting is, and how much I love it. This appreciation of the meditative and calming aspects of knitting is shared by many of us, and I'm sure you've seen many a meme on instagram about the self-care benefits of knitting. But it ain't always roses and butterflies.

I don't usually talk as much about the shadow side of knitting. The times when I'm on the brink of tears, pulling my hair out, biting my nails, and I can somehow only see a massive failure in front of me. Recently, I started being more open about these moments, and I've shared freely about the mess, the tangles, and the oh-so-many flaws I confront each day as a knitter. It was freeing to be so honest about how I am feeling about my knitting in any given moment.

So, this particular pink yarn that tangled me up inside is single ply, light as a cloud, and pills even before you knit it. As I was winding it, I was slowly getting ticked off by how much it resisted going from a skein to a cone. When I noticed my frustration building, I wondered whether that yarn was tangled before I started or if my own emotional negativity contributed to the mess in front of me. I think if I'm being honest, the yarn and I were equal contributors to this tangled twister.

To find my way out, I put the twister down and walked away to do something else. A few hours later, when I was calmer, hydrated, and well fed, I went back to untangle the yarn and wind it onto a cone. I started slowly and reminded myself I wasn't in a rush. I let myself get into a groove, and before I knew it, it was winding like a dream. When I'm tired, dehydrated and hungry, even a little yarn can set me off. I'm only human and will continue to work on my patience and welcome these small learning experiences!

4 Ways to Salvage Tangled Yarn

  1. Time is what you need: take all day or a few. Set the tangled twister aside if you need a break and come back to it after some water or a snack.

  2. Pluck don't pull: yanking or pulling the yarn will only make it tangle more. Be gentle, kind, and patient with your yarn. It will unravel eventually. Remember you are not in a rush.

  3. When in doubt, cut: at some point if you are totally stuck and can't find an end, you'll need to cut and make two balls of yarn from one. This often saves time and sanity. Most people wait too late to cut and suffer needlessly.

  4. Repurpose: sometimes I've found that when there's only a small amount of yarn left, it may be put to better use as stuffing for a pillow or as a laundry dryer ball.


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