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21 Best Yarn Bowls to Prevent Tangles

I’m obsessed with yarn bowls because after crafting with yarn most of my life, I’m done with running into tangles that break up your groove and make you dread opening your yarn bag. Yarn bowls hold your yarn steady so it doesn’t roll away as you work and feeds the yarn out in one, untangled strand, similar to spools on industrial embroidery machines. Plus, they’re beyond cute.

These make great gifts for crafters for the holidays.

Price: $ – $
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Untangle Your Yarn for Good.

I've been knitting since grade school and crocheting textile art pieces for gallery shows for about 10 years now. I've been through all the trials of yarn life from the panic of batch color changes mid-skein to knots bad enough to make me break out the scissors. 

The design of a yarn bowl feeds your yarn through a small slit which keeps it from tangling. It also keeps your yarn from rolling away. Thanks to Newton's Third Law, when you pull on your string of yarn, the yarn ball rolls back away from you, enticing cats and becoming an overall hassle. These bowls keep your yarn right where you want it. 

Why Is My Yarn Constantly Tangling? 

It's like you put a couple bundles of yarn in a bag and then two minutes later it's managed to create elaborate knots you couldn't have tied on purpose.

We've all had this thought with yarn, jewelry, and headphones, but as it turns out there's been a fair bit of study into Knot Theory to try to explain this phenomenon. 

In a 2007 study called 'Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String, researchers put lengths of string through tumblers that sometimes formed with only seconds of agitation. 

The study also showed that the longer the piece of string, the more likely it is to spontaneously knot making yarn a prime candidate for tangles. 

Another neat fact broken down Science Alert is that the study showed that strings that were coiled up to begin with formed knots very easily so wrapping your headphones in a tight circle before you put them in your bag might actually result in more knots than just shoving them in there. Now think of a yarn skein--it's one long coiled string. 

Having tangles in your yarn doesn't necessarily mean that you're unorganized or not taking good care of your yarn. It's straight-up physics. Next time someone gives you sass for your tangled yarn stash, blame Entropy.

Should I Get a Wood, Metal, or Ceramic Yarn Bowl?

That's totally personal preference as they'll all perform about the same.  Ceramic tends to have the cutest designs but if you have young kids or are as clumsy as I am, you may want to stick to less breakable materials. 

Do I Need an Oblong Yarn Bowl for Skeins?

Depending on the size of your skein and the size of your bowl, it may fit just fine. There are oblong bowls out there made for skeins but they're not multitaskers as they give a ball of yarn too much room to bounce around and end up forming knots. One simple solution is to roll your skeins into balls. 

If I have the time, I prefer to rewind my skeins into balls anyway. I know people say that center-pull skeins are designed not to tangle, but in my experience, they pretty much always do. You'll be pulling your yarn and suddenly a huge clump comes out and now your evening is all about teasing that apart instead of crocheting. (Not that I'm bitter.)

I know it can seem like a hassle but winding your skeins into balls also has the double benefit of allowing you the chance to inspect the entire length of your yarn so you can deal with knots where ends were joined together and check to make sure the color is consistent.