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How to Find the End of a Skein of Yarn

Tangled yarn can really put a damper on your project. Having to put everything down to untangle it or to chase balls of yarn around the room is most likely not how you imagine yourself enjoying the craft. Luckily, knowing how to find the end of a skein of yarn properly will help you avoid the mess and allow you to fully focus on your creative work. 

How Skeins Are Wound

Before we jump into the best techniques for finding the end of a yarn, let’s quickly brush over the two most common types of skein winding. Even if you’re still a beginner, odds are that you’ve already come across these.

Different Types of Skein Winding

Yarn can come in various forms, from yarn cakes to hanks. However, two of the most common ways of winding yarn are balls and skeins.

Pull Skein

A pull skein, or simply skein, is a method of winding yarn that results in a relatively oblong shape. Yarn is most commonly sold in skeins, so this method is likely most familiar to beginners. This shape allows you to pull the end of the yarn from the outside or inside the skein (hence the name pull skein). The main problem with skeins is that they tend to lose shape as you use the yarn, leaving it susceptible to entangling. However, taking a couple of minutes to rewind your yarn should solve this issue.


Balls are another common method of winding yarn. As the name suggests, the yarn is wound into a sphere (i.e. a ball). Most commonly, you can pull the yarn from the outside of a ball, although it is sometimes possible to do it from the inside, too. In general, center-pulling is considered easier, since it prevents the ball from rolling around as you pull out the yarn.

The Best Way to Find the End of a Skein

If you’re dealing with a skein of yarn, rather than a ball, go for an inside pull — your future self will thank you. Here’s how to do this.

A. Examining the skein for loose ends

Even though we’re working on starting an inside pull, the first step is still to locate the outer end of the yarn. Most commonly, it will be located underneath the label. Alternatively, it might be tucked behind the first winding layer, which may make it a little trickier to find. Feel around for the loose end until you find it, and then gently tie it to a piece of wound yarn to keep it in place.

Source: Image

B. Feeling for the end inside of a skein

The next step is crucial — finding the inner end. Since you won’t be able to see into the center of the skein, you will have to feel for it with your fingers, as pictured in the image below with Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Yarn. Simply stick your finger right through the center of the skein, either from the top or bottom (or both) until you feel a little ball of yarn at the very middle. 

C. Unwinding a small portion of the skein

Now that you have found the center ball, pull it out. The end of the yarn will be within that ball. Simply unwind it until you find the loose end.

All that’s left to do now is rewind the loose center around the skein to prevent it from getting tangled up. 


Which end of a skein of yarn to pull?

You should always pull the inside end of a skein of yarn. Pulling on the outer end will result in your yarn getting tangled up, requiring you to stop working and untangle it every so often.

How do I pull from the center?

To pull from the center of a skein, you will need to locate the inner end of the yarn by feeling around with your fingers, pulling the center part out, and untangling it to free up the loose end.