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For my holiday trip I bought a ball of regular crocheting yarn. However, the yarn is wound around an empty cardboard tube, which takes up a lot of space and doesn't fit into my usual crafting bag.

If I wind the yarn into a ball (without the cardboard tube) by hand, can it have any negative effects on it? Can the properties of the yarn change? Can it behave differently or take damage?

I've read this similar question, but it doesn't provide any detail about what exactly happens to the yarn if it's wound tightly.

In case it's of any importance:
The yarn is 100% cotton, size 100, mercerized and gassed.

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  • Maybe split the yarn into two balls? If you encounter a knot, that would be the natural place to make the split. / I hope you will wind so that you pull the yarn from the middle! When you get near the end, it can help to put what's left of the ball into a sock. Commented May 31, 2022 at 8:39

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Yarns that naturally have some stretch to them can get over-stretched and lose their elasticity if tightly wound into a ball. It's something you have to watch out for with wool and other animal fibers. With an inelastic yarn like mercerized cotton, this shouldn't be a problem.

Another possible issue when winding a ball is if your winding technique twists the yarn. If you add twist to the yarn, when you work with it, it will tend to fold back on itself and form kinks. The added twist can also affect the tension of your knitting and cause it to bias. This is more of a problem with mechanical ball winders, so it's unlikely to be a problem with hand-winding a ball. Just pay attention to your winding technique and make sure you're not adding twist.

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I ended up winding a length of yarn around a sturdy cardboard card. I cut an approx. 10 x 5 cm / 3.5 x 2.5 inch piece of cardboard and then cut the long side down to create a T shape at each narrow end (so the yarn doesn't slip off). Then I wound the yarn around this card loosely.

The biggest problem I encountered was that the yarn twisted a lot during winding. I had to stop many times and let the card hang down to untwist on its own. Apart from that, I noticed no negative effects.

I assume there will be kinks at the end, where the yarn had to bend over the edge of the cardboard. If that bothers you, use the cardboard tube inside a roll of toilet paper, aluminium foil or cling wrap instead of a flat card.

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