Knot! The word, when it comes to knitting, is akin to a swear word. Some people don't mind coming across a knot or two in their yarn, while others classify it as a disaster. It's a bit of a touchy subject, but I thought it was an important issue to address. So here we go.
Yarn is essentially a piece of string that, during the milling process, sometimes breaks. The mill isn't going to throw away good yarn because of a single breakage. So, what they do is tie the yarn together with a knot and the process carries on. Now, unless a yarn company or dyer inspects every millimetre of each skein looking for knots (and let's face it, who has time for that!) nobody is going to know a knot is there until someone discovers it while knitting. It is a pain, especially when you're mid row, BUT HERE'S THE GOOD PART: knots can be fixed!
Firstly, check that it's actually a knot. Sometimes yarn gets a little tangled and may look like a knot, but if you can't see the join just give the two ends a little pull and hopefully the yarn will untangle. If you've discovered a real knot at the beginning of your row, then it's really easy. All you need to do here is cut the knot out and re-join the yarn as you would if you were joining a new ball. However, if you discover a knot mid row, this is what you need to do:
I've read that it's an industry standard to consider three knots in a 50g skein acceptable. That to me sounds like a lot. Here at skein we consider three knots in 100g acceptable but no more than that! Usually our yarns (as well as most indie yarns) are knot free. Sometimes one or two knots are found, but rarely three. Yet if more than three knots are found in your yarn, I think that it's fair to contact whomever you bought the yarn from and tell them about it. This issue can then be further dealt with by the company with both yourself and the supplier. In saying that, every yarn company and dyer has its own way of dealing with knots, so check with them as to what their policy is.
I personally accept knots as a part of the knitting process. I don't believe it's realistic to expect yarn to be knot free. It's string, and string breaks. I like the challenge of being able to deal with knots. I feel rather accomplished when I join the yarn together and it looks seamless. It's a skill knitters need to know, because knots are a reality of knitting. So, my parting advice would be: embrace the knot, see it as a challenge, and use your awesome knitting skills to deal with it successfully.
We would love to hear your thoughts! Let us know what you think about knots in the comments below.