Crochet tip – what to do when yarn cakes collapse

Do you ever get frustrated when a cake you’ve been working from from the middle just starts to collapse in on itself and starts throwing knots or huge loops of tangled yarn?

Here’s what I do to prevent that, with a practical example from a cake I just finished working from.

Follow along with me in this Youtube short video or read on for detailed written instructions.

Turn on closed captions in the video if you need them to follow along with the audio.

How to rewind collapsed yarn cakes

You set the project aside, hopefully with a stitch marker in the working loop, then pull gently on the working yarn coming from the cake.

You stack the yarn in loops on top of itself until you run out of yarn.

You keep the yarn from tangling by only looping the yarn on top of itself and not pulling back on it.

You only pull on the yarn coming from the remains of the cake and gently untangle any loose knots that might form while you do this.

If you are lucky, there are no tangles. With a more slippery yarn like cotton, you will probably get a few knots.

Continue this process until you have laid down all the yarn from the cake, holding on to the end from the outside of the cake.

Do this in a safe space, without any pets or children or adults who might want to “help” and touch the yarn. You want the process to be done quickly and smoothly, without introducing chaos into the yarn.

Do not touch with your hands or any tools the forming mound of yarn.

If you get interrupted, leave the mound of yarn as it is and make sure that nobody else will interact with it. Same with the leftovers from the yarn cake.

Depending on how much yarn is left in the cake, the resulting mound will be taller or shorter.

Once you finish undoing the cake, you take the loose end and start creating a ball.

You can start like me in the video, by winding loops in an 8 shape over two fingers, then folding this and starting to wind on top to create a ball.

Wind loosely and pull gently at the yarn. It should peel off easily from the mound of yarn and, if any loops get stuck to it, you can shake it a little to let them fall back in place.

Keep winding the yarn until you reach the working loop on your project. Use a yarn bowl or a regular bowl to keep the ball in while you work on finishing the yarn from the former yarn cake.

Other uses for this technique

If you ever unravel your old projects to reuse the yarn, receive or buy second hand or thrifted items that you want to unravel, you can also use this technique while unraveling.

Many people use a yarn swift, but if you don’t have one, this is an option. You can unravel each panel by itself and create such a mound, then wind the yarn into hanks, cakes or balls, depending on how you plan to use or store the yarn.

I hope this has been helpful to you and if you want to know when I publish new tips for crocheters, patterns and news about crochet events, make sure you subscribe to my email updates.



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