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The Zen of untangling yarn: how to make it a calming experience

Kitty in tangled yarn on Yarn Obsession

The Zen of untangling yarn: how to make it a calming experience

Did you ever think there could be Zen associated with untangling yarn? Well, pull up a cup of coffee/tea and take some notes. If you work with yarn chances are you’ve run into the dreaded tangled yarn mess we cannot escape. Tangled yarn can be a source of stress for anyone working on completing a project only to be stopped by the need to untangle yarn. However, tangled yarn doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. I hope this post will help you find the Zen in untangling your yarn.

Not all yarns are created equal

Before you begin the task of untangling yarn it’s important to note that not all yarns are created equal. What I mean by that is it may not be the best use of your time to untangle some yarns especially if you are in business. Can you answer yes to any of these questions?:

  • Did the skein/ball of yarn cost less than $5?
  • Have you already spent about 30 minutes trying to untangle the yarn with little success?
  • Is the yarn tangled with other items?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may want to consider simply buying another skein and discarding the tangled mess. If the yarn you’re working with is not expensive, your time is more valuable and using it to untangle yarn may not be the best use of your time. In which case the most calming thing to do is buy new yarn. If the yarn that has gotten tangled is a more expensive brand the value may be worth your time. Evaluate the situation and act accordingly.

Not all tangles are created equal

Now that you’ve determined that the yarn is worth saving, you may want to consider how the yarn got tangled so you’re ready for the time commitment it may take to untangle the yarn.

If the yarn was tangled by a child or pet, it may be riddled with knots that may not come out easily. It may also be tangled with other items making it a double task. If it was tangled by movement while working then you’ve only got a series of loops to work with so it should be easier to untangle.

Remember, the point is to make sure to start untangling a ball/skein of yarn that won’t cause stress in any way. Working with a tangled mess that can take hours means you need to be sure the time put in is worth the value received once the untangling is done and the yarn can be used.

Options for staying Zen

Here are a few ideas to help keep the process of untangling yarn less stressful:

  • Consider watching a movie while in the process
  • Consider listening to an audio book while in the process
  • Now may be a good time to call and talk to a friend to catch up
  • Consider cutting out any knots you find and tying the yarn together leaving long tails for easy weaving once the project you’re using the yarn for is complete.

These activities will keep your mind busy while you work with your hands keeping your stress level down.

Once you’ve untangled the yarn, some things you can do to make sure to keep your yarn tangle free for the next time are:

  • As you untangle the yarn, begin rolling the untangled part into a ball so you can keep track of the yarn and so it’s more difficult for the yarn to get tangled again once you’ve done the work.
  • When you start using a skein of yarn, be sure to pull the end from the middle of the skein to keep it from bouncing around.
  • Create an easy yarn holder from soda bottles with this tutorial, to help keep yarns untangled especially when working with many colors together.
  • Use the plastic bags that come with comforters or other linens to hold all the colors of your project, then punch the needed holes in the bag pulling one color through each hole. That will keep the yarns clean, untangled and stored until the end of the project

Untangling yarn doesn’t have to be stressful. Determine the value of untangling a ball of yarn and go from there. Do you have any tips, tricks or ideas to share on how to easily untangle or keep yarn from getting tangled? Leave your ideas below, we’d love to get any help we can.

Comments

  1. I’ve come to realize that if I don’t get bent out of shape because I have to untangle yarn and am present with the experience, doing it can be very calming. I take my time and focus on each step of the untangling process, following the yarn wherever it leads me. It generates that spacious, present moment awareness that Eckhart Tolle writes about.

  2. I love the plastic bag idea! Loved your post – you managed to make a stressful topic a lot of fun.

  3. I love the large plastic bag idea. Especially in light of my elderly cats who urinate on unfamiliar items (and/or find the need to knead)

  4. Untangling yarn is how I learned patience. I remember when I first started my husband was the only patient one who could take on the task. I’m so much better at it now.

    To keep yarn untangled I wind them into balls and put into a basket. I also have a clear plastic tube that was made for the craft yarns with a hole on top. A clean pringles can works well too.

    For smaller bits of yarn I wrapped them lengthwise and then tie into a loose knot.

  5. Gertrude A. Carter says:

    The key to untangling is patience. If the yarn is not too badly tangled get it done take your time and rewind as you go. If it’s a real tangled mess think “is it worth the time and frustration”, i.e. how expensisive was it? Save it for stuffing!

  6. After the balls are rolled, put a rubber band around them. This keeps the yarn from straying.

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