During college I worked part-time at a yarn shop. One day a customer came in clutching a big black trash bag, which was kind of unusual. As I approached her, she opened the bag to reveal the most gigantic hank of yarn I have ever seen in my life. This thing was monstrous – it was big enough for my 5-year-old cousin to use as a beanbag chair. With a look of desperation in her eyes, she asked a question that still cracks me up to this day: “Can I use your ballwinder for a minute?”
Having a single continuous strand long enough for an entire project is a knitter’s dream. I’m sure that was part of the humongous hank’s initial appeal! Of course the reality is that any large project will generally require weaving in a few ends. Even if you’re making something small, there’s no guarantee that a single hank of yarn will be a continuous strand. Knots are a natural part of the spinning and packaging process, and sometimes they’re unavoidable.
There’s always that little moment of disappointment when encountering knotted yarn, but it’s extremely common and easy to deal with. Some knitters just ignore knots and continue knitting. While there’s nothing inherently wrong in doing that, there’s always a chance that the knot will eventually undo itself and end up making a hole in your project. To avoid that, I recommend untying the knot. Stop at the end of the last row you can complete before getting involved with the knot, then cut or untie it, treating the two ends the same way you would when switching to a new ball of yarn (see my earlier post on this topic for a video on weaving in ends in knitting).
Next time you see a knot, don’t despair – just untie it and carry on!