All Tied Up!

by Kimber Baldwin December 28, 2020

You are the proud owner of a new skein of our yarn!  Congratulations!  We hope you enjoy the color(s) as well as the yarn itself.  If you are not going to use the yarn in the near future, we recommend leaving it in the skein where the yarn will not be under tension. 

However, if you are ready to begin your project, then the first order of business is winding up the skein into a ball so that you can use it.  There are many different types of ties used to secure skeins of yarn to keep them organized with the strands aligned and to prevent those strands from tangling.  We use a figure-8 tie that is tied from the actual skein of yarn rather than using scrap yarn.  These are often used by hand-spinners to secure their handspun yarn so if you are a hand-spinner, chances are you may be familiar with this type of skein tie.  Because these ties are part of the actual skein, they stay put rather than slipping around the skein, which has the advantage of the skein remaining organized and tangle-free.  This is an older and more labor-intensive method of securing the skein and most larger yarn houses no longer employ this method for their skein ties.  But because it produces a nicer tangle-free skein for the fiber artist, we continue to take the time to secure all our skeins this way. 

If you've never encountered a self-contained figure-8 tied skein, there are a few things you should know.  Lay out the skein in a circle and inspect the skein to see how many ties are used in the skein.  Most skeins will contain 2 to 4 ties.  Our normal size skeins all have 4 ties, at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions (as shown below and denoted with the black arrows), while our mini-skeins have 2 ties each. 


If you look closely at each tie, you will see that they don't simply wrap around the skein, but rather go through the middle of the skein. Hence, the name given to this type of skein tie; figure-8 tie.  


One of the ties will have a knot, as shown in the photo to the left.  This knot is the end of the skein.   











You can either cut or untie the knot.  If you choose to cut the knot, you will want to cut close to the knot on the side closest to the skein, through all 3 strands, being careful not to cut any additional strands. Done properly, you will have the small bit of yarn containing the knot itself, a few inch long piece of yarn which was the first figure-8 tie, and the rest of the skein of yarn, as shown in the photo to the right.



If you look closely at a figure 8 tie, you can see that it is not simply a 'bracelet' of yarn around the skein.  Instead, one strand of yarn comes in (far right photo), wraps halfway around the skein, goes through the middle of the skein bisecting it, wraps around the other half of the skein, and then continues on to the rest of the skein (near right photo).

Once the terminal knot has been undone as described earlier, all you need to do is trace back the strand through each figure-8 ties around the skein.  Once all the figure-8 ties are undone, you can wind the skein easily into a ball.  To test if the ties are all completely removed, unwind a round or two of yarn.  If should come away freely from the skein.  If the skein appears to have a slip knot and pulls tighter while you are trying to wind it up, then there may be a figure-8 tie that is still partially wrapped around the skein.  When this happens, it is usually the last figure-8 tie that has not completely been unwound - remember it needs to trace back the entire figure-8 path not simply half of it. 

Don't want to be bothered winding up one of our skeins?  Just leave us a note with your order, drop us an email with your order or give the studio a call and we would be happy to wind any full size skein at no additional charge***. 

Happy knitting (crocheting...weaving...whatever your yarn passion may be)!  -Kimber

***Yarn wound into cakes is not returnable.

Kimber Baldwin
Kimber Baldwin


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