Knots! And what to do when you find them.

Knots can be the bane of a crafter’s project. During the industrial spinning process, the yarn is pulled with a fairly high tension through the machinery. As the machinery pulls on the fiber, occasionally breaks happen and the machine operator, rather than lose all the work, will tie a small knot to rejoin the yarn. It can be a big nuisance for us knitters but it saves a tremendous amount of waste of fibers that would be left unusable otherwise. Of course, yarn companies such as Berroco always strive for NO knots but sometimes knots happen. Here is what you can do about them.

The first, easiest option, is simple—keep knitting over the knot. If you’ve ever worked with a highly textural yarn you’ll have noticed that the nature of stockinette is to pull the textures toward the wrong side—if I encounter a knot when I’m working  a knit stitch I’ll give the knot a little tug to ensure it won’t come undone and keep knitting over it. This works only for stockinette stitch and it works best with a sport,  DK, or worsted weight yarn.

Of course, not all projects are stockinette or those yarn weights; if you’re knitting a sock, if your project will be seen from both sides (like a scarf or blanket), or if you’re working in a very fine yarn where the knot will be visible, what do you do? Treat the knot like you’re joining a new ball of yarn. Watch this video for a step-by-step how-to or continue reading below:


Option 1: When you encounter a knot, stop 4–6″ before the knot, cut out the knot, rejoin the yarn in the next stitch (again leaving a 4–6″ tail) and continue on. Later, you will weave in the ends. If you’re working with a non-felting yarn (cotton, linen, rayon, acrylic, etc) this is your best option.

Option 2: Splice the ends. There are various methods methods of splicing— for animal fiber yarns the quickest and easiest is a “spit splice” which will fuse the ends of the yarn together by felting the fibers. If the idea of spitting on your knitting makes you uncomfortable, you can use a little water with the tiniest drop of soap in it. Regardless, the method is the same. First open up the fibers—if the yarn is plied, un-twist an inch or so from each end, then dampen the fiber, layer the ends over each other and vigorously rub them together with the palms of your hands.

That’s all there is to it. Knots? No problem!


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