Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dekink yarn with steam--instant results

Back in 2007, TECHknitting blog showed how to de-kink yarn, but time does not stand still.  In the intervening years, a newer INSTANT-steam method has come into use here at chezTECH.  The old post about de-kinking yarn has been updated to reflect this new trick, but it seemed worthwhile to note the update in a new post, too.  You can actually see the kinks relaxing right out of the yarn, and seeing is believing.

Important--the iron never ever rests on the yarn.  The you-tube shows 100% WOOL yarn, and for woolen yarn, you can sorta-kinda-almost touch the yarn with the iron, as shown. For non-woolen yarn, and particularly for ACRYLIC yarn, do NOT come as close to the yarn as shown in the you-tube, instead, keep the iron about an inch or so ABOVE the yarn, or you will over-steam the acrylic yarn into a rather limp state (over-steaming, alarmingly enough, is called "killing" the acrylic!)

For verrry stubborn kinks, where steam-de-kinking does not work, you can go back to the 2007 post and have a look at how to de-kink yarn the old-fashioned way, by wet-blocking, but do try this instant-steam method first!

Good knitting, TK


Blogger Laura said...

This is a very helpful trick. I unravel lots of knitted stuff, people give me their old sweaters and I make new items from the yarn - but I find the dekinking is reslly testing my patience! Thank you!

December 11, 2012 at 4:23 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

That's amazing magic right before our eyes! As always, the timing is perfect. I have a crescent shawl knit from the top to the hem and the yarn on one of the edges broke fairly near the top. Many, many rows of work followed and now I'm trying to figure out if it's mendable or not. Part of me would like to fix it because it's essentially done and the other part of me feels ambivalent about the shawl and wants to frog it obviating the need for the mend. If I frog, then this post is perfect. If I mend, could you point me to a place in your archives for mending? Thank you as always for teaching me over breakfast!

December 11, 2012 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Suzanne-Sadly, I have not yet tackled the project of writing up mending. Sorry to be disappointing, but glad you liked the post. TK

December 11, 2012 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger kmkat said...

I love it! I have not had as much luck as I would like with re-skeining and soaking and hanging to get rid of kinks. Steaming is a miracle! Besides my steam iron, I have a garment steamer that I bet will work, too. Thanks!

December 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to avoid the hazards of the iron altogether, you can put the kinky yarn in a colander and hold it over a boiling kettle. Even more fun, kinda, since there's no iron obstructing your view of the instantly de-kinking yarn!

December 11, 2012 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger knightlyknitter.wordpress.com said...

I love this! Thank you so much for sharing it - the video was great, it really demonstrated how steam de-kinking works!

December 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM  
Blogger Alrischa said...

I did this when I made Ysolda's "Poppy" with acrylic hair, only I just waved her over the kettle. :) Wish I could fix my own hair that quickly!

December 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM  
OpenID helloloodle said...

What a great trick!
I loved watching it unkink - like magic.

Thanks for posting.

December 11, 2012 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Angeluna said...

Techknitter, I would like to know how you always read my mind. Every time I have a question in my mind, you write a blog about it. I'm certainly not complaining, just beginning to think it's weird.

Just last night I decided the recycled yarn I'm I'm knitting with was just too kinked (I'm unraveling it as I go). Thought I would have to bite the bullet, frog and skein it all up and soak/weight it, seriously delaying my gift project. Then I check your blog and voilà.

Thanks to you.

December 12, 2012 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Angeluna: hahaha! Maybe you are commanding the next subject via mind-rays? :)

December 12, 2012 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Hello again! The absence of a post on mending tips me in the direction that my heart wants to go. Apparently that shawl was a process knit. :-)

December 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger eboston said...

I hope you will post more videos, demonstrating some of your printed content. Thanks.

December 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another way to "unkink" previously knitted yarn, is to unravel it while you have a steam vaporizer/humidifier running. Just pull the unraveled yarn through the steam vapors and voila'....plus it may help with nasal congestion at the same time!

December 13, 2012 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Carly said...

A further way to unravel and unkink at the same time... if you want a Rube Goldberg machine to do it with!

Bike-steam Unraveller

December 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Carly--I am in LOVE with the bicycle steam unraveler. Thanks for that wonderful link, I can hardly stop laughing. Best, TK

December 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM  
OpenID capplor said...

I've got to ask, "Why bother?" I learned to knit with my mother's leftover yarn and knit & re-knit (not to mention crocheted and re-crocheted) the same skein multiple times. No problems, and the yarn eventually relaxed into its new lines.

December 27, 2012 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger TECHknitter said...

Hi Cappalor--if it works for you, don't fix it--like everything else in knitting, no one technique works for every knitter. But for many knitters, it is important to de-kink the yarn before re-knitting, because knitting with kinked yarn yields uneven fabric, since each stitch is made of yarn of a different length. In other words, because the amount of kink differs from stitch to stitch, this changes the amount of yarn in each stitch). Once this uneven fabric is washed, the kinks do indeed relax, leaving behind stitches of different sizes.

December 27, 2012 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger kushami said...

This article from the 1930s has some other creative ways to dekink with steam or heat:


March 2, 2013 at 2:10 AM  
Blogger Gamba Girl said...

This works like a charm, even for yarn that has been blocked.

Another variation: I spritz with water before a brief steam. It seems to accelerate the relaxation process a little.

May 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger rl said...

Wow, I'm glad I kept going with google! This is so much easier than the wetting and hanging method. Thank you for saving me a lot of irritating work!

September 26, 2013 at 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Lee said...

I had good results by boiling water in a dutch oven, placing a closely gridded cooling rack above the opening, and laying my yarn across the cooling rack over the steam. I did have to rearrange the yarn several times so that all got a chance to be on the bottom. It would be a rather slow process for a sweater, but worked well for the amount I had. I did hang it over a plastic hanger until dry.

November 4, 2014 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Gayle Colcone said...

Just thought you'd like to know that this post is still helping people. I started knitting a wool shawl years ago, and didn't have enough yarn to finish it. When I went back to my lys to get more, I was told the yarn was discontinued! So this pretty half-a-shawl has been sitting in a bag, waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. Thanks to your awesome YouTube video, I'm planning on frogging the whole thing, steaming the yarn and using it for another project. Yay! Thanks again!

June 24, 2015 at 9:43 AM  

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