Working with Cone Yarns

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Cone yarns have been the secret of machine knitters for years, but hand knitters and crocheters are discovering the advantages of working from the cone! Cone yarns are more economical when you need a larger quantity of yarn.  And because many garment projects can be completed using one or two cones of yarn, there are drastically fewer ends to weave in when working large projects.

Because cones are designed to work with a machine, there are a few tips to keep in mind so that they are just as easy to use as a ball of yarn.

  • Cones want to be drawn from the top: The conical shape of the cone makes pulling yarn from above very easy, but it is not so easy to pull the yarn from the side.  When you reel off yarn from the side, many times the cone just falls over.  Try some of these tips when working from the cone:
    • Help the cone spin: Put the cone on an inexpensive plastic lazy susan and it will allow your cone to spin as you need.
    • Draw yarn from above: Draw the working yarn over something such as the arm of a floor or table lamp so that the yarn is pulled off the cone from above.
    • Push out the cone: Sometimes you can push out the cardboard cone and pull the yarn from the center like a center-pull ball.  It can be tricky so the first 2 options are good fall-back methods.
  • Coned yarns are sometimes treated with wax to facilitate feeding into a knitting machine.  Whereas cotton is not usually treated, fibers such as wool typically are. You will be surprised at how fluffy your cone yarn feels after the first wash.  You might also consider washing the yarn before you use it.  Just use a chair back or swift to wind the yarn into a hank. Tie the hank in 4 or more evenly spaced locations, then wash the yarn and let it dry flat.  (We typically wash the yarn AFTER, since we need to wash and block our project anyways, but this tip is a great one for those who really love super soft yarn to work with.)