Knitting right from the cone?

I was given this cone of lovely cream colored alpaca today with the request that I knit a scarf for the woman who gave it to me. It was given to her by a friend of hers who lives on an alpaca farm near Chicago. It's a nice DK/Sport weight and I put my cell phone in the picture to give a bit of scale. The Pharaoh Hound was just an unexpected bonus at the last second!

I've got a pattern in mind, just feather and fan. It looks nice and I need something a little more mindless than the Pi shawl I'm working on at the moment (and desperately need a break from). But, can I knit right from the cone or should I bother with winding some of it into balls first? It's got a lovely twist to it that I don't want to f*ck up, and it comes off the cone quite easily, so my hunch is that I don't need to do anything but knit.

What would you do?

BTW - I get to keep whatever's left.

Image icon IMG_0749.JPG705.97 KB


MMario's picture

I've never had a problem knitting direct from the cone - but I will admit I don't think I've ever worked from the cone with a yarn plied in quite this way. Test swatch!

You should be able to tell in just a short while if it is adversly effecting the yarn.

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Kerry's picture

I've knitted directly from the cone without any problems.

I'm currently knitting MMario's Easy-Peasy directly from the cone. I'm almost finished with it and nothing untoward has happened to the ply.

rjcb3's picture

Knitting right from the cone is just fine as long as you turn the cone like a spool and DO NOT draw the yarn up and around over the top.

If you draw the yarn vertically over the cone, it naturally adds or subtracts twist in the spinning or plying: meaning, you could either loosen the ply/spin, or tighten it, which changes the gauge of the yarn. So just remember that when you're pulling out your yarn, to turn the whole cone, or put it on a lazy susan or something.


teejtc's picture

I've never had any problems knitting straight off a cone... even pulling off the top. But then, I've never made a big project off of a cone either. Small projects should be much of a problem. If you're planning on knitting up the whole cone, I'd put it sideways on a bar and pull it off (so that the cone roles...)

Grace and Peace,

TomH's picture

I knit right from the cone. I just set the cone in a bowl, set the bowl on the floor by me and knit away. I don't turn the cone or anything.

mrossnyc's picture

I've knit several sweaters and afghans from a cone while it sat on the floor and I've never had any problem with twisting the yarn or disturbing the ply-twist. I did use a yarn once that was almost as twisted as yours, but not quite. I always make swatches before starting so I agree with MMario about swatching first to see if there will be a problem. Good luck!

Tallguy's picture

It's true you are going to be adding or subtracting twist in the yarn. You do the same when you pull the yarn from the centre or outside of a ball of yarn, or when you are winding the balls by hand. Using a ball winder does not change the twist.

This is an S-plyed yarn. Since this cone is wound in a counter-clockwise direction, pulling it up will add an S-twist to the yarn. You also add S-twist to the yarn with every stitch if you are throwing your yarn (you might also do that if you knit Continental, but not always). This is a soft twist yarn, so I don't think that little bit of extra twist is going to make too much difference. In fact, I would want just a bit more twist in the yarn if I was using it.

Again..... swatch. That's the only way to find out!

Aaronknits's picture

Well, I've been pulling from the top of the cone rather than turning it. The yarn does relax and fluff into more of a (light) worsted weight, but this is really NOT a bad thing! This stuff is just dreamy!!! I opted for size 9 needles and I think it's working out perfectly.

mwkbloom's picture

I'm knitting a wedding shawl in old shale from a cone of alpaca. Sometimes I pull straight up, somtimes I turn the cone. I haven't been able to tell any difference. The only disadvantage that I see is that the cone is heavy to lug around (hence the project doesn't travel much), but it will be nice to get to the end and only have TWO ends to weave in!

chipsir's picture

I agree that knitting from the cone is not a problem, I have only ever had one unfortunate experience and the yarn I was working with sheared as I was not paying attention to what was happening with the twist or should say in my case the untwist lol and it was quite fine to start with. What a wonderful gift!!!!!!!!!!!

I knit straight from spools of cotton thread when I make coasters, dishrags, and hotpads.