No More Tears

Thank you, Ozzy Osbourne, for this week’s blog title.

It’s true, though. No more tears . . . over tangled yarn. Really.

As you’d expect, there’s a story leading up to this.

One evening many months ago, I was winding a beautiful skein of 100% cashmere with the use of my umbrella swift*.


I was thinking I’d use it to make a Polar Opposites cowl, an easy and quick pattern that yielded some pretty awesome results. It would be used as the laceweight yarn portion of the pattern.

Well, as I remembered (of course, after it was too late), laceweight 100% cashmere is v-e-r-y fragile. I was spacing off (like I usually do when winding up yarn), cranking the handle on my winder*, and didn’t notice that it was picking up quite a lot of speed, when the inevitable happened . . .the yarn broke.  Sigh.

Not only did the yarn break, but because of the high speed of my winding, the broken end bungeed back and proceeded to embed itself into the balance of the skein still on the swift. Grrr.  By hand, I slowly turned and turned and turned the swift around, looking for the broken end of that yarn. Of course, because it broke under tension, the end of it was frayed and tapered so naturally, it blended into the yards and yards of yarn left on the swift.

After what seemed like hours, I got impatient and found the other end of the yarn and attempted to hand-wind that end so I could eventually get to the broken end. Frustrated, I then removed the remaining skein  from the winder and put it on the floor trying to find an end, ANY end, to the yarn. The tension was building and my face was starting to feel hot.

I picked up the mess and took it into the living room into better light. Fiddled with it for about an hour while hubby watched me, offering help, but I was beyond intervention at that point. I. was. going. to. figure. this. mess. out. Dammit.

Bed time rolled around, still no headway. The veins on my neck were bulging. I had developed a tic under my left eye. Hubby slowly backed away from me.

I looked down at my hands. The tangles had gotten worse than when I started because I cut the yarn and started two teeny tiny balls from ends I could find (but weren’t the ends that I was looking for). On the verge of tears, I dumped the whole thing into a plastic baggie to work on the next evening.

As you can imagine, when the next evening rolled around, prospects of fixing this mess didn’t get any better. Absolutely F.U.B.A.R.ed. Irritated with myself, I stuffed the baggie under some other yarns in a plastic bin under the bed.

Six months later, I remembered a conversation I had with Dina, my knitting coworker, when she introduced me to Ravelry a few years ago. She told me Ravelry had a group for just about everything, even a group of folks who love to untangle yarn. Perfect.

The search term “untangle” in Ravelry pulled up Knot a Problem,

A group for people who love to untangle or detangle skeins of yarn that are in a big, giant, tangled mess!

WHAAAA???? Really??? Who would EVER want to untangle yarn for FUN???

According to Knot a Problem’s link, String Theory,

There are other people in the world who actually like untangling things! They enjoy the meditative process of creating order from chaos.


So, I checked out their Detanglers by Location list and found a detangler near me, the lovely and talented Teri. After exchanging messages, we met and I presented my baggie of hell to her. She didn’t even blink.

I offered her something in return for doing this super awful undertaking, but she kindly refused. So, all I could offer was a “no hurry” timeframe. You know, if it were anything other than 100% cashmere, I would’ve probably thrown it away. Once I left it with her, I put it out of my mind. I figured it was in a bin under the bed for half a year, what difference did it make that it was somewhere else?

A few weeks later, Teri messaged to tell me my yarn was untangled! Wow! And there it was! Nicely rolled up for me to wind back up (but this time, s-l-o-w-l-y) into a cake:


Teri did have one suggestion for me:  Next time, don’t cut the yarn. Noted. I will never cut the yarn again. I will just leave it for the experts to handle. Should you choose to attempt this yourself, the group has posted a list of Tips for Untangling Yarn.

I still marvel that there is a whole group of people who ENJOY untangling yarn! And when I stated this to her (annoyingly, several times since I began exchanging messages with her), she told me to look at it this way–it’s a puzzle to solve. I get that. I’m happy to have provided Teri with a few weeks of entertainment! 🙂

So, with that, and her invitation to join the Sunflower Knitters Guild (sponsors of Knitting in the Heartland featuring Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, April 1-3, 2016!), we said our goodbyes.

As I drove away, I thought about how amazing people can be and how awesome it is that folks want to help others. I was so delighted, that I found a pattern on her Ravelry wish list and gifted that to her.

. . . and they all lived happily ever after.

So what did I do with the yarn? It just so happens that another Ravelry member was interested in it. When I told her it was out being detangled, she asked if I would let her know when it was back. So thanks to the magic of Ravelry, this yarn will soon be going to a new home!

And I did end up making the Polar Opposites Cowl with a different yarn. Turned out fabulous, if I do say so myself.

image_medium2 (1)

Keep the Knot a Problem group in mind if you ever have tangled yarn. String Theory, mentioned above, gives a great overview of how it works.

And when you visit their group’s page, . . . Tell ’em I sent ya!

OSKnits on white

*The photo I linked here is just a representation of an umbrella swift and yarn winder for those folks who are unfamiliar with these yarn-y tools.

15 thoughts on “No More Tears

  1. Maggienesium says:

    Thank you SO much!!! It had never occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one who loves a good tangle! I’m not sure why, but it has to be one of the most satisfying feelings in the world to untangle and wind a ton of yarn 😀 I think I hated it at first. My mom used to get yarn super cheap because she bought big bags of huge tangles – and she got the best of both worlds : cheap yarn and at least one kid staying out of trouble for hours at least and days on end at most. I’m going to check this group out and see if I can’t help anyone with their bit of chaos.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. dmj says:

    LoL Cindy …. serendipity at its finest. I’m thrilled SontheYounger grooves on untangling. I’d have set fire to some gorgeous cashmere if it weren’t for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the desert knitter says:

    This post reminds me of the horrific tangle I have sitting in a bag in the bottom of my work basket! It’s a sweater I frogged that slipped the first stitch of every row, which for some reason made frogging VERY difficult. I do not have the patience to love untangling myself – but it’s amazing there are people who enjoy it. I don’t even like winding yarn very much, though I know some people find it meditative. (Perhaps this story makes me glad I’ve never bought a winder, though – I have a swift and a nostepinne, and I love my nostepinne so much I can’t bring myself to buy a winder, even though I know it would be much quicker.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Orange Smoothie says:

      I have to say that winders are awesome. I just spaced off when I had a special yarn that I couldn’t “floor it” when winding. I probably should slow down anyway. But I’m influenced by the temperature in the sunroom where I have my winding station set up.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s