Whenever I try to get the center pull of a commercial skein of yarn, it ends up tangling and I just have to untangle the whole ball.

Are there any tips for a better center pull?

  • Is this center pull from a commercial skein, or a ball of yarn you've rolled yourself?
    – Erica
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:32
  • Commercial skein. 50% cotton 50% acrylic if that matters. :)
    – user4610
    Jun 19, 2018 at 18:35
  • 1
    This is why ball winders exist. Traditional skeins aren’t really meant to be pulled from. Apr 12, 2019 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


Assuming this is a commercial skein, I don't generally have issues. I am usually able to pull out the center of a skein. I would never guarantee that you can do this though.

This can be manufacturer specific. There is no mandate to ensure that you can get a center pull from a skein. However, when it comes to most of the skeins of the following style:

Skein collection

Image from paradisefibers.com

I can go in a grab the middle chunk and find the end in there. Sometimes you can find ones where they are specifically assembled for you to do this i.e. there is a tail stick out from the center. In many cases there is not a simple thread to pull but a small unorganized ball that you have to unravel first so don't give up too soon when looking for it. Once you unravel that chunk or ball then the rest is easy.

  • I believe that put-up is called a “pull skein”, and it’s meant to be pulled from, as opposed to a traditional skein, which isn’t (though apparently it can be done). Apr 29, 2019 at 19:54

I hope you were able to find a good solution! I know that with the kind of skeins that Matt linked, you'll almost always get a frustrating (and huge) amount of yarn barf. Once I had nearly half a skein of it because the center-pull line got tucked into a weird place!
Anyway, I've found that a good solution, if you don't have a yarn winder and don't intend to get one, is a good old fashioned toilet paper tube and hand winding. To do this:

  1. Cut a small slit in one end of the tube (no more than 1/2" or 1 cm is really needed).
  2. Put the lead end of the yarn into the center of the tube and secure it - you can do this with tape, making sure the yarn is snug in the slit, or holding it.
  3. Wrap the yarn around the tube while detangling the yarn barf. To make a center-pull cake that won't disintegrate while you use it, slowly turn the tube while wrapping at a consistent 45-ish degree angle - you'll need to play with how you hold the tube to get comfortable. See the image below for a rough illustration of what I'm describing!

enter image description here

I hope this helps you (or someone else!)!

  • 1
    Thanks @Joachim, I've updated to add detail
    – Charlee
    Apr 1, 2021 at 7:39

Are you using a yarn winder and swift to wind the yarn? We have found through trial and error that being able to maintain a consistent, and steady winding speed while not being too fast helps a lot with pulling from the center

  • The question asker specifies (in a comment below) that they're using a commercial skein, so presumably they're not winding the yarn at all?
    – walrus
    Nov 13, 2018 at 17:34

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