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what's the difference between a ball and a skein?

Posted by on Aug. 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM
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i know that is probably a stupid question.  when reading patterns, sometimes it calls for balls and sometimes, it calls for skeins.  what's the difference?  

by on Aug. 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM
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jean_marie1987
by Member on Aug. 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM
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kiweerose
by Silver Member on Aug. 10, 2013 at 10:59 AM
1 mom liked this

i am a beginner ....i restarted crocheting again.

for me ....skein is like the ones in the stores.

i like to take the yarn apart and roll them into balls.

not sure on those for the reading patterns.

fiddlerbird555
by Member on Aug. 11, 2013 at 9:18 AM
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In the old days, yarn was only sold in skeins, and they were not "center pull". It was impossible to knit from skeins, so the first part of any project was to wind your yarn into balls (with the help of a family member or the back of a chair -- most people had at least one chair in the house that was suitable) Nowadays, commercial yarn is usually sold in skeins that can be worked from directly from whichever end you can find. However, many crafters make & sell yarn in traditional skeins.

So in context "skein" may refer to the yarn as you buy it. "Ball" might be the yarn as you use it, and any given pattern writer may have their own ideas. You also may see references to yarn "cakes" which is yarn wound so that it sits flat (kind of cylindrical) and can be pulled from the center.

Also note: many people don't like to keep their yarn stored as balls. They claim it stretches the yarn and distorts the final product. (To date, I have no such experience, and many balls of yarn, but that could be that most of my "been-there-awhile" balls are acrylic, not wool.) 


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