Are you an Innie or an Outie?

A question came up this week, regarding how you pull your yarn from a wound “cake”? This made me think about the way I do it and why.

I am not an expert on yarn, far from it. But, I figure that yarn is wound on a cone with a certain twist and is meant to be used straight off the cone. This means that when I wind some off on my ball winder, into a “cake”, I create a center pull “cake”.

Hanks of yarn, like the hand dyed varieties are another thing altogether. The lace weight yarn I purchase in large hanks and wind using my swift and ball winder doesn’t indicate which way to wind it. So, after winding them, I end up using these “cakes” of yarn as center pull also.

Having said that, if I was to purchase yarn already wound into “cakes” I would probably pull from the center as well. However, not having wound it myself, I would be slightly nervous about knots and such. Believe it or not, I don’t have but a handful of pre-wound yarn “cakes” in my stash, so I haven’t had to face this issue yet.

Conclusion, even though the “cake” of yarn tends to collapse from the outside, the assurance of no knots or bad spots in my yarn makes me a definite Innie. What are you? Why?

20 thoughts on “Are you an Innie or an Outie?

  1. I like the idea of pulling from the inside but I always get tangles and yarn “barf” (I can’t think of a better way to put it). In fact, when doing my Secret of the Stole, the tangles were so great I had to break yarn several times. How do you avoid that?

    Yarn barf…too funny! That is what I was referring to when I was talking about purchasing pre-wound “cakes”. When you had this problem, were you using pre-wound “cakes”?

    I think if I bought pre-wound “cakes” I might consider re-winding them on my ball winder just to save the agrivation of cleaning up future “yarn barf”.

  2. It all depends. If it is a center pull cake, I will attempt to pull from the center. If, it seems it is going to knot into itself and create yarn puke, I will grab and outside line, you know kinda like a life line:) The same with skeins and balls, if I can get to the middle without making an undoe mess, I will. I have never knit from a cone though, so I cant answer that question. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year:)


  3. I’m both. Innie for everything except laceweight. I find that the tangles and yarn barf are way too much to untangle with laceweight, so I knit from the outside.

  4. I ordinarily pull my yarn from the center. But lace weight is the exception to this practice. I found that if I pull from the center on lace weight, the yarn tangles when the cake or ball starts to collapse on itself. This is no biggie with larger yarn but a real headache with lace weights. If I pull lace weight from the outside I have far fewer tangles to deal with. I learned this the hard way with my first lace project that I like to call the Giant Tangle. Needless to say, that project was never completed.

  5. Let me throw something else into the mix. I’ve never heard of this, but “Mortaine” on Ravelry says that she’s been told “…to knit from the outside, because of the “halo.” Lace yarn should have a little bit of fuzzy on it, and pulling from the center could rub that off…”
    Back to the cake, so are you saying that I maybe should take my 1980 yard “cake” that I got from Sarah’s yarns (Jaggerspun Zephyr) and rewind it on my winder? Will that much yarn fit on a standard home winder?
    Cant’ wait for the knitting to begin!! – Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

    Cindy, I really don’t think that the whole cone would fit on a standard ball winder. When I buy cones with this much yardage, I usually wind off about 700 yards or so. For the Secret of the Stole II, this yardage would give me two manageable cakes of yarn to work with.

    I will have to watch my yarn from now on and perhaps do some swatch samples to determine if the “halo” effect difference is noticeable when the yarn is used from the center versus the outside. I think it would not be enough of a difference for me to worry about, but it would be interesting to find out.

  6. I would say I’m an innie about 95% of the time. It was 100% until a certain little tragedy with some Sea Silk. Don’t ever, EVER pull Sea Silk from the center of a wound cake!! I lost my entire project and the entire skein to the hidden mess that came out of that cake about halfway through. 😦

    Because of that, I’ve taken to pulling any laceweight and/or slick yarns from the outside of the cake as a precautionary measure. Aside from that, I love to pull from the center of the yarn cake whenever possible.

  7. Just a couple of notes – Just because yarn is wound on a cone doesn’t mean that there is something pure about its direction. I was at a well-known brand’s factory this year and bought a 1 pound hank of sock yarn (Woo-hoo! A bazillion yards of lovely stuff!). They offered to wind it to a cone for me and I accepted. As far as I can tell they put it on a swift and wound it off like I would use my ball winder at home, without regard to direction.
    Also, I have bought 2 balls of self patterning sock yarn in the same dye lot from my LYS that were wound in opposite ways from the factory(I could tell by the patterning), so I don’t get very excited about direction. I just try to be consistant in a project.
    As for the product of my ballwinder at home, I generally pull them from the center, but only after I put a large rubberband around the outside. This keeps a bit of tension on the yarn as I pull, so I don’t get chunks of yarn escaping, and the ball doesn’t collapse into yarn-barf (love that term) as it empties.

    I was wondering about that myself. I assumed there was some magical reason the yarn was wound on the cone in a certain direction. Consistency, I would agree, is the most important thing.

    I love learning new stuff from you guys!

  8. Oh, I’m definitely in the minority here. I used to try pulling from the center on cakes that were either wound by me or the yarn shop, but I don’t anymore. Could have been some Sea Silk that made the turn for me, as well, but I’m a dedicated outtie now. If it’s a large ball of dk or worsted or something heavy and I can get it to pull from the center, I will, but for sportweight or smaller, the cakes aren’t terribly big, so I pull from the outside. Just seems smoother and I get no “yarn barf” that way…love that term! 😉

  9. I’m an innie, I don’t like the ball rolling around when I pull on it. I take a lot of my knitting to the soccer field, meetings, etc. and it’s a pain to chase a ball onto the field during play time!

  10. I’m an innie too (except for laceweight).

    We use the term “yarn peter” around here for the description of what flops out of the inside when you’re searching for the end that’s tucked down in there. Use your imagination! Sorry to be so crude, but it’s incredibly funny how much it looks like one! Thus our endearing term!

    Don’t “tsk, tsk” – we’ve all seen one!

  11. I’m in the minority, too. I usually have trouble finding the innie “end”, so always just end up knitting from the outie “end”. I don’t like that yarn peter flapping at me, so just knit from the outside. Have never had any trouble with it. Just got my own ball winder for Christmas, so we’ll see if I convert to an innie after I’ve had time to work with it!

  12. I’m so glad that I read this blog. I wound up some seasilk yesterday and was planning on casting on later tonight. Thanks to y’all I know to go with the outside in on that. I’m an inside out girl normally. Y’all saved me a world of bother. Thanks!

  13. I’m an innie, haven’t done it with lace weight yarn yet. This way I don’t have to ran after my yarn everytime I pull it. 🙂
    I remember the first time i did the center pull, winding it using my bare hands, got all stuck and have to pull the yarn so hard, I almost break (is that the right word, pardon my english) the yarn.
    Now, I can say that I’m a bit experienced when it comes to winding my yarn, no problems, no tangles!

  14. Most of the knittings I’m an “innie”, because the skein can’t dancing ;o) through the room and during the knitting with several colors the threads doesn’t swirl around.
    If the yarn is “fuzzy”(I don’t usethis very often) and stick together, then I do prefer to be an “outie”.

    Greetings from Berlin


    (WinniWollte on ravelry)

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