It’s a Purl, It’s a Chain, It’s …

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It’s a Purl, It’s a Chain, It’s …

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I was sitting in an airport, waiting for the flight to a teaching engagement, winding yarn. Travel with a swift being sadly impractical, I was making do with the back of an empty chair. Without warning, a screeching ninny plunged into view and grabbed at the unwound skein.

“So cute!” she screamed, jangling a fistful of wool in one painted claw. “Are you, like, doing some crochet or something?”

“That was the plan,” I said.

But it was too late. The skein had become a tangle so dense not even light could escape from it.

Working out occasional small snarls is part of knitting. There’s no avoiding it. But really big messes like this? Forget it. I’ve always taken them as a sign that I wasn’t supposed to knit with that yarn, anyway.

When I got to the guild I mentioned what had happened and displayed the ruined skein.

“It was so pretty, too,” I said. “But now it’s dead.”

“No it’s not,” said the Chief Guild Lady. “Somebody get Eileen.”

There was a general chorus of agreement: Eileen must be got.

There’s was nothing in Eileen’s physical appearance that would have made you look at her twice. She was nice-looking. Pleasant. Neatly dressed. Polite. But Eileen had a special talent.

“Give it to me,” she said. I handed her the tangle.

Ten minutes later, she handed back the yarn–not only free of snarls but wound neatly into a ball.

I was gobsmacked.

“How did you–?”

“I’m just good at it,” said Eileen, smiling shyly. And she melted back into the crowd.

I think Eileen was selling herself a little short. That had been no run-of-the-mill jumble; you could have lost a pack of hounds in it. No, Eileen wasn’t merely “good at” untangling yarn. She had a super-power.

Everybody in the guild knew it. They all laid their hopeless cases at her feet, trusting that in short order she would have set matters to rights. To be a proper superhero, all she needed was a cape, a mask, and a lair.

The more of you I meet, the more I firmly believe that every needleworker is a bit of a superhero. It’s a rare practitioner of the yarn arts who doesn’t possess a knack for something that reduces most others to tears. It may not enable him to leap a tall building in a single bound, but it may get him unscathed through a chart more riddled with hazards than a minefield. It may not stop a plot to destroy the planet, but it may stop an otherwise law-abiding knitter from stabbing random passersby with an angry needle.

Every villainous tangle in Gotham has a sworn enemy–and she or he may well be sitting in the chair next to you. More likely, she or he is sitting in your chair right now.

What, I would very much like to know, is your superpower?


Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008–now in its third printing) and proprietor of The Panopticon (, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue KnittingYarn Market NewsInterweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkCast On: A Podcast for KnittersTwist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for

These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with an Ashford spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.

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  • I, too, am an untangler. Many people have given me yarn tangles with the words, “If you untangle it — you can have it.” There is no better motivator. I will also freely untangle for friends. It is exceedingly calming for me.

  • I love untangling too. My Dad & I were actually fighting over who was going to untangle some yarn on New Years Eve. We ended up doing it together 🙂

  • I am usually pretty good at untangling as well. I always think of my grandmother, who was the most patient person in the world when it came to ripping out, untangling, or coming up with a solution to a problem, be it sewing, knitting, or crocheting. she is my inspiration and if there are tangles in heaven (probably not!), she is untangling them! great article….

  • What I’d like to know is “where can I find Shirl?”

    • Over here. Although it’s my mother’s name, it’s my superpower.

  • I feel like my crochet super power is learning any new stitch or technique and being able to pick it up right away. I have yet to find a crochet technique I can’t master!

  • MY mother says that in Eastern Europe, where her grandparents were born this was this custom; Upon becoming engaged, the mother-in-law to be gave the bride-to-be a tangled mess of yarn or string or thread. If she could patiently untangle it and roll it into a ball it was an indication that she would be a kind and patient wife for her son.

  • the ability to read and work out weirdly written patterns I can visualize!

  • I am known, since age 7, as the “Queen of knots” I can UNDUE any knot, or yarn tangled nightmare, you hand me. I have been tested by the Boy Scouts during knot learning, and Every single yarner i meet. Bring it on!

  • My dear Hubby is my champion untangler, doing it with patience and skill. He can also wind a ball using the swift & ball winder to perfection. My superpower? Still working on it. Would prefer not to be champion starter of projects to completer of UFOs.

  • I am lucky enough to have a friend who is a master untangler. I am, sadly, hopeless at it. However, my knitting superpower is always having scissors. Always, without fail. Even at the beach or in the supermarket.

  • Apparently this isn’t a rare superpower, but I am not only an untangler but also an unknotter. My daughters come to me all the time with knots that won’t budge and tangles that seem hopeless. Not just yarn or string, either; I’m equally adept at untangling chain necklaces. As a mother, I’m happy to have this superpower. It ensures I will always be needed. 😉

  • I’m a speed demon! I can draw and hypnotize crowds with my flashing needles in minutes. Kind of fun, actually. 🙂

  • I can knit or sew garments that fit my sister like a glove – and she lives 3,000 miles away. For me? Not so much. But she’s my muse and everything I make for her fits her perfectly and makes her look even more fabulous.

    • I can fix tablet weaving that has gone hideously wrong. My superpower sometimes extends to inkle looms, which surprised me because i’ve never actually tried doing any. I do compulsively de tangle so the skills are related. Record is 5 hours untangling some loom warp.

  • Looking for Angie. I changed my pattern and ran out of yarn. Duh

  • My superpower is the vertical fix: I can recross a miscrossed cable or rescue a dropped stitch in a lace shawl, as far down as needed.

  • Me too I don’t mind to untangle, mama was pretty good for ripping and untangling, she loved to crochet and did very nice things with the needles. Thanks for such a nice article.

  • There’s an entire group of detanglers on Ravelry, who will let you mail your tangle to them, and untangle it for you. In fact they will compete for your tangle 🙂

  • I can teach anyone of any age any knitting or crochet technique. I am SUPERTEACHER! Great at untangling yarn too.

  • I’m pretty good at reading other people’s knitting quickly and fixing their mistakes; conversely, I’m pretty terrible at working out when a project really needs to be ripped, without spending hours agonising over it… I have friends who have that superpower though…

  • I’m a champion untangler — my greatest challenge to date was a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk that I couldn’t bear to cut. My best talent so far, though, is finding projectsand homes for unloved yarn. People keep giving me their granny’s acrylic stash, or clearing out closets of things thhey’ll never use, and now I have the stash that ate TOledo.

  • I think my superpower is finding the right color for the right thing – for other people. I can do that with needlework/cross stitch, and I have had a few small successes at it with knitting, so I think that’s my power.
    Untangling? That’s my oldest daughter’s superpower (and she’s not a knitter, so she helps out with those nasty things when I encounter them)

  • I’m a fixer. People make a mistake in their knitting and (barring it being 6 rows down on an intricate lace pattern), I can fix it.

    • Tell them to use Lifelines when they are doing intricate lace work. I just made two lace shawls and was so glad I used Lifelines. That is a lot of figuring out for you, unless you like doing it.

      • What is, or are, Lifelines?

        • A lifeline is a length of yarn (usually cotton or crochet cotton) that you run through your stitches following the needle, if you make a mistake above the life line you can safely take your needle out and rip back to the line without losing stitches. Make sure you mark what row you put in your lifeline so you know where to restart!

          • Thanks! I’ve never heard of that before,

          • I should have explained that when I wrote the note. Thank you Gardienne for doing that. I keep a piece of paper beside me and jot down the row that I am placing the lifeline on. If I’m doing lacework I use a lot more lifelines. I have made a point of learning to read my actual
            knitting not the pattern. It didn’t come naturally to me but was surprised at how fast I picked it up . Believe me nothing comes naturally to me, I’m a struggler but once I learn it I don’t seem to forget. Maybe that’s a talent. I think most crafters would agree that we need to stick at it and not give up. Definitely put it down even for a day. Don’t forget to ask a friend or the lady at the local wool shop or on Facebook. Two heads are often better than one.

  • Undoing knots and untangling yarn.

  • I’m a good untangler. Got lots of practice recently when our dog decided to spread yarn all over the carpet in the family room. Four skeins! Took two days to get it wound again!

  • I have to say that I’m rather good at fixing other people’s knitting mistakes! I have picked up stitches from 10 rows down and sorted out shaping and all sorts of other stuff. I love the challenge!

  • Maybe mine is figuring out patterns. Give me yarn and needles and I can work through most everything. I have two aunties who knit throughout my childhood. To me, they were always Master Knitters. Now they come to me when they can’t figure out a pattern instruction. So strange!

  • I think I have the same power as Eileen. Whenever there’s a snarl in someone’s yarn at my LYS it’s me they turn to. A twisted skein on the swift? No problem. Your cat got at it? Hand it over. And I don’t even MIND doing it. It’s nice.

  • My husband is an untangler. No, you cannot have him.

  • My Mom, may she rest in peace, was my untangler….just as I find peace and solace in my crochet, she found it in untangling my yarn….no matter how nasty it was…..I, too, had a beautiful skein of yarn to be worked into an equally beautiful filet rose afghan that was tangled out of spite…….I showed it to my Mom but before I could say anything she said “you’re not going to throw that away are you?” I said I had planned on it but she took it and untangled it for me…..the balling was up to me though……which I did happily since I didn’t have to waste my yarn…..the Rose Afghan was made and, rightly so, I gave it to Mom……so no that she is gone I have learned to untangle my own mass and I’ve learned a new balling technique that I really like coz it allows me to pull the yarn from the middle like I would with a regular skein…..but I would have to say that my super power is filet crochet……and stuffed toys like monkeys, dragons, bunny rabbits and teddy bears……thanks Mom…..for your inspirations and your love 🙂

  • I like to untangle yarn, it’s a puzzle. But I am being told my “superpower” is color work. I like to make “scrappy” projects and am always unsure until my group Love how the colors work.

  • Put down your project and lost your place in your stitch pattern or chart? I’m your girl. I’ve picked up lace projects months later with missing row counters and have no problems finding my place. Comes in handy when I have to rip back too.

  • I’m a detangler, hereditary,
    from my Mom. She would untangle fishing line! Once you can do that, yarn is no problem. LOL

  • I am a super project starter, buy the yarn (first otherwise it might be right amount), find the correct pattern, and start. Work work work at it and then … oh look a butterfly pattern (or whatever), focus lost. Repeat first two steps, then ….. oh look a ……, repeat first two steps again, find the first uncompleted project .. and wouldn’t you just know nothing else. What was the hook size? where is that pattern? Repeat again and again .. and well you are able to see the hampster on the wheel. I am a GREAT project starter.

    • Oooh, me too! So glad I’m not the only one! I will NOT, however, disclose how many of those started projects I have . . .

      • Me, too, and not only kknitting or crochet. I have an embroidery project for a bedspread that my mother gave me the kit for, the Christmas before we were married. I have it embroidered, and partially quuilted. We celebrate our 39th this coming March. There’s alwasy so many nifty things to do and new yarns to love.

        • I too had a bedspread to embroider….gave it to a ‘project finisher’ 15 yrs ago. I tell myself it would only make me sad now since it was a double and we have a king! LOL My superpower is ripping out other folks work. We had a group for a few years, and the girls would bring me something that had gone so wrong it had to go to the pond….rip it rip it rip it!

    • I am equally distractable. I promise, I absolutely love every project I begin, searching diligently for the correct yarn, or for the perfect pattern to go with what I’ve got, and then some other shiny object catches my eye. Maybe I should move all my stash to another state, and promise myself to just work on what I have started until they are all done… No, I know I’d never be able to stick to something like that.

  • I too am a untangler, even with fishing line which is much worse to untangle than yarn! When my husband & I go fishing and he gets a tangle in his line, he’s ready to cut the line, but I always ask him to give it to me & I always get it untangled. I’ve had some badly tangled yarn given to me as the person couldn’t do it, I enjoy the challenge!

  • I can spot the most expensive hank/skein of yarn in a store within 10 seconds of entering it! On-line it’s within half that time. At least that’s certainly how I feel.

  • My

  • My fiber superpower is that I can fix things. Mend sweaters, sometimes shoes, soft luggage, most things made of fiber. I don’t claim to do it invisibly, and always issue a disclaimer that the item may never look like new or even the same, but the owners are usually pleased with the results. Sometimes a fix ends up as a design element, such as Ultrasuede patches over torn buttonholes on a denim vest, or a tuck taken where there is no seam allowance, which looks intentional if done on both sides of a garment. In a way it’s more fun than making something new. You can take a failure, something that’s been in a drawer for a year, and turn it into a proudly worn success.

    • Now that is a Super Power I would like to have . . . I have things that I adore that are stuck away in boxes because it is just too hard to figure out how to fix them!

    • Everyone seems to think this is my superpower, and perhaps I am very good at it, or they wouldn’t ask me for repairs all the time, but it’s the bane of my crafting life. “Can’t I make you something new instead? I have this new pattern for a hip scarf I’ve been dying to try and it would cover that pocket tear perfectly. No? OK. Hand me the jeans, you’ll have them back tomorrow.”

  • Many years ago, my knitting friends and I went on our annual “Fiber weekend” in the mountains. Just as we all settled in to have a fiber session, one of the gals held up a great wadge of yarn and said “Who wants to untangle this?” to which another instantly shouted “I do!” We all had a good laugh about that! (And she did it, too.)

  • I guess I share my super power with Rosa, I am known to be a very fast knitter. I don’t try to beat any records, I just knit fast. When someone wants a baby sweater, hat and pair of booties, they know that they can ask on Monday and they’ll have it by Thursday. I can also do a pair of gloves in one afternoon.

  • I am good with a tangled mass of yarn, but I hate sewing knitted or crocheted pieces together. I would rather knit another item. Our knitting teacher at the library, Doreen, who over the years became our friend, is a whiz of a knitter and a patient seam sewer. If we’re really good, sometimes she will sew up a seam or two for us!

    • I, too, dislike sewing items together. So, I have learned how to adapt patterns to be knit in the round. No more side seams – YEAH! I also learned short rows and the 3 needle bind off for shoulders. Now, all my sweaters get finished.

  • Elaine’s lair is undoubtedly filled with shelves which are filled with wool and patterns and….

  • I am the queen of snarling yarn. That is my Super Power! Show me a skein, and within seconds it jumps off the table and snarls itself into a snarled mess even Rumplestiltskin couldn’t untangle – but with her Super Power, I bet Eileen could!

    I am also much like Darcy09 (see below). I start a project I am incredibly excited about, and then —- Ooooo! Shiny! Wanna Do THAT! and there I go, new pattern, new yarn, new start . . . then another, and another, and another. I am the Queen of the UFO’s!

    • I finish the knitting, but I don’t sew them together. My closet is hall full of sweaters and slippers that just need to be assembled and the ends woven in. There’s even one suit jacket I did as a newlywed in 1964!

  • Just when I think this can’t get any funnier, it does! (And sweet.) Your super-power is to be the funniest knitter who has ever lived & bring joy to millions. Thanks!

  • I, too, like to untangle…I would rather untangle a mile of yarn than weave in ends of a finished project. I have learned to incorporate them into my project but that doesn’t eliminate them completely. For me, it’s as bad as sewing on buttons.

  • I think it is a meditation. Once I am in the “zone” no tangle can thwart my nimble fingers and dexterous joints.

  • Love untangling – it’s almost therapeutic for me (most people would put that in the opposite camp!).

  • I LOVE to weave in ends! I find the meticulous nature of the work to be very calming as well as very rewarding when the final piece looks flawless. I pride myself on being able to find the best path to weave through for an invisible, but secure finish.

    • I wish I could channel you – that is a super power that I so admire and am so lacking in – I have so many projects that need the ends woven … I know that I should do it … and I know that it won’t take much time, but I just keep finding other things to do. I’d much rather be knitting.

  • My daughter who lives 600 miles away, saves her tangles for my visits. She also saves garments with holes in them for me to mend invisibly.

  • My mother is the untangler in my circle. She has the patience of a saint.

  • I love weaving in ends. Although since I started doing the Russian Join I don’t have ends to weave in. Just go to You Tube and learn how to do it. I love untangling messy, messes of yarn. I find it relaxing while watching a good movie.
    I always finish my projects, just too cheap to waste the wool, the guilt trip I go on isn’t it worth it. I’m awful at choosing colors for my projects. I ask at least a thousand people what they think. Maybe THAT’S why when they see me coming they don’t walk they run away. I can’t knit fast but my admirers say they wish their knitting was so beautiful. I can’t see any difference but will take the compliment.
    My superpower isn’t really anything but absolutely adoring knitting whether it’s a tricky pattern or just plain knitting.

    • Loving weaving in ends is a super power to be proud of!

  • I was given some free extremely tangled yarn to use with some autistic boys that I was teaching to knit. We 5, 4 boys( all non verbal) and I, stood in a circle and started to disentangle separate colors. I supplied the talking saying who gave us the yarn etc. I told them that the night before I’d worked on it at the theatre ( I do wardrobe on Broadway shows). Anthony SPOKE up.. “You are to pay attention to the actors on stage, not do other things. You were being disrespectful.” It was all I could do to not faint. He had never spoken before, but here he was using “disrespectful!” I believe that we fooled some connection in his brain to allow him to get his thoughts out for once. We kept at the untangling and Anthony kept talking, responding to my ? about theatre, transportation etc. The other boys were as amazed as I and his regular teachers. From then on, when he appeared to want to say something his teacher gave him some fiddly hand project to work on and often he would be able to talk.

    • I LOVE IT! But then we yarn artists always knew that working with our hands is therapeutic.

    • What a wonderful experience! A super power for helping others find their voice through the tactile nature of fiber! Fantastic.

  • My husband is a very good untangler.

  • we have an untangler in my knitting group here in NJ. She is so very valuable. No yarn snarl is too tangled and knotted for her hands. We all love her for it.

  • I am a freehand ball winder and love doing it. I find it very cathartic.

  • My hero ‘untangler’ is someone not interested in the fine art of needlework, It is my husband. Whether it is a tangled chain, yarn, floss, or thread he has the gift. He has saved my bacon many a time. Who knew????

  • The hall needs Rosie, she finishes your unfinished items!

  • My family and friends refer to me as the knot queen. I have yet to be given a knot I cannot untie. Could be all the time I’ve spent untangling my crochet yarn but more likely it’s due to the years I spent in Scouts teaching gals how to tie those little buggers!

  • I love balling my yarn before every project just because it makes it easier to unravel while working. Plus I have a little ocd and I hate when the skein gets al tangled and lopsided.

  • Usually I am not a patient person (putting it mildly, I think) but untangling yarn is something I DO have the patience and affinity for. I don’t know why, but I, too, find it calming. And it gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I succeed. Perhaps making order out of chaos….?

  • I can equal Shirl and Wayne. I can look at a knit stitch and see what somebody did wrong. Crochet, however, I have to take the stitch out to find what was done wrong.

  • I loved the article… I respond to humour and I’m usually the first to see the humour in most situations. That could be a super power, but I also am a detangler. I will be looking forward to reading more of your insights and stories.

  • I love , love this story. I had been knitting scarves when my mother was ill; my puppy found my yarn and had a party with all of it after my husband and I had gone to bed. I couldn’t sleep from worry about my mother and got up found that my yearn was all mixed up in a tangled mess in my living room, I believe that it was therapeutic for me to untangle the MESS that my puppy had created. I used knitting as therapy during the time that mom was in the hospital and after her death. I was able to salvage
    that yarn for my intended projects.

    • Knitting and yarn helped me deal with grief from my Dad’s death. I’m sorry for your loss, but glad knitting helped you after your Mom’s death.

      A friend bought yarn for me to use in a scarf for her husband and their new puppy decided the yarn was his new toy … I untangled the mess and knit up that scarf. Gotta love puppies!

  • I’m not bad at untangling yarn – I have to be since I live with 4 cats (they all think they can crochet better than me)!

  • Hands OFF the yarn! 😉

  • I have two lovely skeins of sport weight yarn given to me free of charge by the clerk at the discount store because I was patient enough to untangle it from the rest of the skeins in the bin.

  • I call them “patience projects” and while it may take me up to several hours, I do find a certain release of tension in untangling a mess of yarn, coming to that last little knot and seeing a nice wound ball as reward.

  • I have recently found out another super power. A mouse got into an afghan and chewed several holes and I cut away the damaged areas and reworked the pattern and filled the hole. This also included another super power. I found the small leftover ball of the same yarn out of the stash of 10 bins in the very first one I looked.

  • I used to get my mother to correct mistakes, finish projects, and to untangle my messes. Now she is gone, I am left to my own devices which are pretty much hit or miss! I presently have a beautiful sweater I knitted for my older daughter; when I began to pick up around the neck to finish, it began to un-knit itself, leaving me with a tragic heap of knitting that I fear to touch anymore! Any suggestions? I need a MASTER knitter!

  • My superpower is – there isn’t a knit or crochet technique that I can’t learn and master instantly….

  • Untanglers of the world unite. wouldn’t it be great. I myself love to unpick my old sweaters after a couple of years and reknit in a different design. Am I mean or just industrious?

  • While i’m a good detangler, my real talent is in being able to repair heirloom crochet projects, resewing things that have come loose and recrocheting places where the thread (or yarn) has disintegrated whether it’s rows or motifs.

  • My grandmother is said to have been able to knit socks on double pointed needles from memory while watching a movie at the theater. I never saw this but I trust that my Mom was not exaggerating because she said people would watch my Grandmother knit and forget to watch the movie.

  • I call myself a Crochet Technician. I can usually decipher any pattern, figure out what stitches are used by looking at a finished piece and can write and edit / test new patterns on the fly.

  • I am an untangler, too. However, I untangle jewelry chains. I have no patience with my kids, but I can spend hours untangling a chain and never get upset. Hmmmm.

  • Am also pretty good at untangling, although it always makes me feel very uncomfortable. The reason for the discomfort is that the tangles remind me of dreams I had as a child, actually nightmares, that had tangles everywhere that never could be removed. I could remove one, then another would take over, etc.

  • I’m pretty good at untangling but my super power is finding the end of the yarn in the center pull skeins. All my friends give me their skeins to start them out. I guess I should have been a proctologist – pretty much the same….

    • Finally! Something I also can do!! My students in my crochet class just wordlessly hand over the skein when it fights back at her! I get inside that skein, and in a couple of minutes, I hand the skein back to them–the end hanging out!

  • I not only enjoy untangling I am obsessed with it. Periodically I straighten my yarn stash and inevitably get tangles. It is impossible for me to cut away the tangle and dispose of it. It must be untangled!

  • I am an untangler also. I love the challenge, actually….so I am a sick untangler. LOL The secret is to not pull the knots too tightly…..keep it loose and take it slow. There….now all of YOU can be untanglers too!

  • Untangling yarn sometimes scares me but sure helped untangle the Christmas lights that everyone was ready to throw out. Now, if only I could figure out how to work those darn double points. I want desperately to learn how to make socks but even my friend who is a master knitter has given up on me. The one pair I made at the LYS was really a disaster. One sock was big enough for Paul Bunyon

  • I’m like Alala — good at repairs, even way down in knitting. And I loved reading about the tradition of having a potential wife untangle a mess of yarn to prove her patience. Should be extended to the husband as well — or some similar more masculine problem.

  • I’m our group’s “Eileen.”n I can untangle other stuff, like jewelry chains, too. And I’m the one who will whipstich (or any other stitch) the prepared squares together for those charity afghans. I believe it indicates a natural patience and desire to best a seeming unbestable challenge.

    But other challenges seem to elude me, like being able to count rows effectively, or reading pattern charts. What I would really like to be able to do is adapt patterns to fit the people I’m attempting to make stuff for, or even just put it together w/no pattern, just like my grandma used to be able to do. If I don’t have the exact yarn and other materials suggested in a pattern, I’m sunk. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  • Shirl needs to live in my house!

  • I inherited the “untangle gene” from my grandmother about the time I became a mother myself. She taught me to knit and crochet when I was about 5 years old using kitchen string for fear I would ruin a good skein of yarn while practicing my different stitches. I think maybe too your hands and eyes develop a sense of memory along with your brain and the the untangle gene becomes a bit born from evolved from economics rather than waste a beautiful skein or part with the dream therein.

  • Wonderful stories! I’ve never really thought of having any superpowers, but I was lucky enough to be raised by a creative mom,and she just assumed that I could do any creative thing I could think of. Unfortunately, that leads to a lot of UFOs, as most patterns seem to me like general outlines. Let’s see, I like this cable pattern but I want to do it in a finer yarn, oh, and these sleeves, and I’ll make it tunic length, and maybe I’ll add a shawl collar…

  • It’s a challenge to untangle yarn or undo knots, but I don’t know if I’m super at it. I am pretty great at taking a random stitch (I’m a crocheter and hand needleworker) and visualizing it into an item of some kind. I recently had a customer ask me to replicate a knitted slipper for her, just from a picture. I did it without too much folderol.

  • And this is how Ravelry has an entire group dedicated to untanglers! I too adore untangling. There is nothing so rewarding as taking an “impossible tangle” and turning it into a ball of usable yarn.

  • I really don’t mind weaving in ends. It is very satisfying as that marks the completion of my project! I am going to find that unravel group on Ravelry!

  • My Mom is The Detangler in my family. I am The Queen of throwing the yarn across the room as I say some very well chosen words.

  • I will mattress stich, happily, all day long. I have to force myself to return the knitted pieces to my students when I’m fixing a mistake, or I would just sit and mattress stich the whole thing for them.

  • Yep, I can untangle any mess of yarn 🙂 and have taught myself to knit, crochet, sew, embroider, cross stitch, and make my own patterns. I rarely toot my own horn so thank you for the opportunity 🙂

  • My beautiful human being of a husband can sense where to find a lost crochet hook. It’s quite amazing. And perfect because my super power seems to be making crochet hooks disappear.

  • My 2nd ex had the most amazing ability to spot a four-leaf clover in any clover patch. I could stare right at one and never see it.

  • Great story! Superpowers are so often those things that seem small – especially to the person who is good at them. I can detangle to a certain degree and am lucky to have a Husband and good friend who will step in and help when I’ve gone as far as I can … because since I hate weaving in ends, I would never choose to cut the yarn!

    My superpower is that I knit … I took to it literally like a duck to water … 1st project after learning (in College) was a raglan sleeve sweater … expert fiber artists I knew at that time were impressed with my even stitches throughout the entire project. Back then nothing intimidated me – knitting lace, designing my own sweaters, etc. (Back then it was difficult to even find knit lace patterns – today it’s easy.) I think because knitting came so naturally to me, I can recognize and encourage nervous new knitters and help set them at ease – teaching them simple, but intimidating to them things like tinking or fun new stitches.

  • I’m also an untangler – be it yarn, string, wind chimes or Newton’s Cradle ( the five ball thing that shows conservation of motion – kids tangle them pretty well in my hubby’s science classes).

  • I can deconstruct a store item – knit or crochet – and reconstruct it from photos or memory… not really a super power but it’s fun when I see a cute bag that they want almost $200 for and I can make it the colors I want for a lot less AND the added pride of being able to say “I made it”.

  • I like restoring order to the yarn. I used to visit my aunt and untangle her threads and yarn bits in her sewing drawer all the time. I can also crochet fast. I made 5 headbands for my cousin’s kids at Thanksgiving dinner this year.

  • I, too, am an untangler. My gift was actually discovered when I was on a “fishing party” boat and 4 other fishermen had gotten their lines hopelessly tangled. I handed my rod to my date and went to rescue the other men from their mess, coming back a few minutes later to reel in a fish that hit my line as soon as I retrieved my rod from said date, who grumbled that he STILL had not managed to catch a fish of his own!

  • Sandra Terra
    My super power is figuring out new ways of knitting something and than finding out the someone else just wrote a blog or pattern for that exact thing. I am a self taught knitter and figured out a sweater pattern based on percentages, socks from the toe up, socks on one needle,and socks two at a time (four if on one needle), I am currently working on double souled socks with single strand tops (but I haven’t found a pattern for this one yet)…..

  • I’m an Eileen, with some Shirl added in. I would LOVE to meet Rosa, though.

  • My sister and mother always give me the tangled yarn and I am happy to un-tangle it. I find it strangely calming…

  • I actually find untangling yarn to be calming. It’s zen-like to me… I actually wish I had some yarn to detangle now… I could use some zen…

  • Love the Knitter’s Hall of Fame

  • I like to crochet; but I have several friends who loom knit and I can fix any mistake they make…

  • I also am sought out to untangle anything and everything! The extra fine gold chains or the transparent fishing line are probably the most fun. I chalk up the pleasure/satisfaction of saving such from the trash, not only because I have always been environmentally aware, but have a deep desire to bring order out of chaos. It is wonderful to “meet” others of the same ilk!

  • Been knitting for 64 yrs now and have developed lots of superpowers, untangeling, reading patterns and converting to charts, intricate cable pattern decoder as well as lace knitting and error fixer. Been a teacher superpower of many friends and acquaintances thru the years. Always happy to share.

  • I can take a stuffed frog and crochet a pair of shorts for him so no naked bodies in my house NO pattern just do it.

  • I have been known to untangle a mess of yarn, but not that quickly. Sometimes I get aggravated and need to put it down and walk away for a little while, but I can usually get it untangled. I need to get out more so I can meet these people with super powers that you speak of. 🙂

  • I can’t believe your timing. Just this morning I was talking about how my friends who are newer to knitting think I’m a genius because I can kitchener together 1×1 rib with slipped-stitch edges, cable crosses and short-rows like a BOSS. Our super-powers might all be different, but we almost all have in common a quite humble, dismissive attitude about what it is we’re so good at: “oh, this? you could do this if you tried.” 😉

  • Yarn and strings of Christmas lights are my specialty. What frustrates others, soothes me!

  • love this story!

  • My husband is my untangler and doesn’t realize how precious that is.

  • I untangle, I can rescue stitches that have wandered off on their own. My mother had knitting needles in her hands most of her life. When she passed away one of her charities set up a chair with a picture of her and yarn and needles on it as part of their memorial service. My mother would make sweaters of all kinds and frog them out when she got tired of them and would knit something else with the yarn. Personally, I think I have a lifetime supply of yearn, even though I bought two skeins yesterday for a project for a friend!

  • I am knot/mess untangler. Not (pun) only yarn, string, or thread but also necklaces, shoe laces in a knot so tight my hubby was going to cut them off his boots, but piles of kids trying to play “Twister” too. I am knot (pun again) a patient person when it comes to waiting on things to get done, but give me a mess to untangle and I will work on it diligently for hours if need be.
    Thanks for all the great info Lion. You’re GGGrrrreat!

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