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mtchen
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
564 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  12:03:52 PM  Show Profile Send mtchen a Private Message
Excuse my ignorance, but what is the difference between a ball of yarn and a skein or a hank of yarn?? I've heard different people use different terms for the same yarn...

Knit-M-Up
Warming Up

USA
74 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  12:59:28 PM  Show Profile Send Knit-M-Up a Private Message
IMHO (and I've been knitting for 35 years now) 'skein' is the term for an oblong machine-wound amount of yarn that you buy in the store. I am thinking of: Lion Brand HomeSpun or Coats & Clark -- to my mind, those are excellent examples of skein prototypes.

Hanks of yarn are really large circular loops that are wound around and around, and then they are folded into a figure-eight pattern and tied with smaller threads to keep them in place. If you don't have a willing partner, these have to be placed over a chair-back or end-table legs to be wound into balls before they can be used for knitting. Some of the very best yarns/fibers (particularly natural fibers) are available only in hanks because being wound in skeins and then sitting on a store shelf for an indefinite amount of time would make long-term creases and ultimately damage the quality of the yarn.

Balls of yarn (to me) are simply yarn which has been wound by hand into a spherical shape. You don't see 'balls' of yarn for sale in stores (you wind them at home). I cannot remember the names of any right now, but I have seen some yarns wound into non-oblong or 'shortened' skeins (almost spherical in shape) and some people might call these balls, but I would still call them skeins.

It will be interesting to read what others post about this.

Veni-Vidi-Kniti!!! -- Marilyn V. -- Keep On Knitting On!!!
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Knit-M-Up
Warming Up

USA
74 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  12:59:28 PM  Show Profile Send Knit-M-Up a Private Message
IMHO (and I've been knitting for 35 years now) 'skein' is the term for an oblong machine-wound amount of yarn that you buy in the store. I am thinking of: Lion Brand HomeSpun or Coats & Clark -- to my mind, those are excellent examples of skein prototypes.

Hanks of yarn are really large circular loops that are wound around and around, and then they are folded into a figure-eight pattern and tied with smaller threads to keep them in place. If you don't have a willing partner, these have to be placed over a chair-back or end-table legs to be wound into balls before they can be used for knitting. Some of the very best yarns/fibers (particularly natural fibers) are available only in hanks because being wound in skeins and then sitting on a store shelf for an indefinite amount of time would make long-term creases and ultimately damage the quality of the yarn.

Balls of yarn (to me) are simply yarn which has been wound by hand into a spherical shape. You don't see 'balls' of yarn for sale in stores (you wind them at home). I cannot remember the names of any right now, but I have seen some yarns wound into non-oblong or 'shortened' skeins (almost spherical in shape) and some people might call these balls, but I would still call them skeins.

It will be interesting to read what others post about this.

Veni-Vidi-Kniti!!! -- Marilyn V. -- Keep On Knitting On!!!
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Knit-M-Up
Warming Up

USA
74 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  12:59:28 PM  Show Profile Send Knit-M-Up a Private Message
IMHO (and I've been knitting for 35 years now) 'skein' is the term for an oblong machine-wound amount of yarn that you buy in the store. I am thinking of: Lion Brand HomeSpun or Coats & Clark -- to my mind, those are excellent examples of skein prototypes.

Hanks of yarn are really large circular loops that are wound around and around, and then they are folded into a figure-eight pattern and tied with smaller threads to keep them in place. If you don't have a willing partner, these have to be placed over a chair-back or end-table legs to be wound into balls before they can be used for knitting. Some of the very best yarns/fibers (particularly natural fibers) are available only in hanks because being wound in skeins and then sitting on a store shelf for an indefinite amount of time would make long-term creases and ultimately damage the quality of the yarn.

Balls of yarn (to me) are simply yarn which has been wound by hand into a spherical shape. You don't see 'balls' of yarn for sale in stores (you wind them at home). I cannot remember the names of any right now, but I have seen some yarns wound into non-oblong or 'shortened' skeins (almost spherical in shape) and some people might call these balls, but I would still call them skeins.

It will be interesting to read what others post about this.

Veni-Vidi-Kniti!!! -- Marilyn V. -- Keep On Knitting On!!!
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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  1:21:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
At one time, skein and hank were distinct measurement of length.

According to American Heritage:

SKEIN 1a. A length of thread or yarn wound in a loose long coil. b. Something suggesting the coil of a skein; a complex tangle: a twisted skein of lies.

HANK 1. A coil or loop. 3. A looped bundle, as of yarn.


To me a skein is yarn that is wound on either a skein winder or niddy noddy and then tied. Skeins will hang loose and can also we twisted and then fixed into that familiar figure eight arrangement. As a spinner, storing yarn in skeins allows me to calculate yardage and I can also store several skeins of yarn in one twistee bundle that I think of as a hank simply because to me the hank is a definite measurement. I cannot remember where I came across this but will take a look to see if I can find it.

I think of the yarn that is sold in the squat logs or bundles still as skeins, but I think that this is a matter of the convenience of using traditional lingo for new packaging methods.....

Ball of course is really obvious and can be either center pull or not. In some ways those machine wound 'skeins' are really balls as they can be used with a center pull, and don't have to be wound. A skein cannot be knit from directly as it tangles too easily.

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  1:21:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
At one time, skein and hank were distinct measurement of length.

According to American Heritage:

SKEIN 1a. A length of thread or yarn wound in a loose long coil. b. Something suggesting the coil of a skein; a complex tangle: a twisted skein of lies.

HANK 1. A coil or loop. 3. A looped bundle, as of yarn.


To me a skein is yarn that is wound on either a skein winder or niddy noddy and then tied. Skeins will hang loose and can also we twisted and then fixed into that familiar figure eight arrangement. As a spinner, storing yarn in skeins allows me to calculate yardage and I can also store several skeins of yarn in one twistee bundle that I think of as a hank simply because to me the hank is a definite measurement. I cannot remember where I came across this but will take a look to see if I can find it.

I think of the yarn that is sold in the squat logs or bundles still as skeins, but I think that this is a matter of the convenience of using traditional lingo for new packaging methods.....

Ball of course is really obvious and can be either center pull or not. In some ways those machine wound 'skeins' are really balls as they can be used with a center pull, and don't have to be wound. A skein cannot be knit from directly as it tangles too easily.

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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kdcrowley
Permanent Resident

USA
4773 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  1:21:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit kdcrowley's Homepage Send kdcrowley a Private Message
At one time, skein and hank were distinct measurement of length.

According to American Heritage:

SKEIN 1a. A length of thread or yarn wound in a loose long coil. b. Something suggesting the coil of a skein; a complex tangle: a twisted skein of lies.

HANK 1. A coil or loop. 3. A looped bundle, as of yarn.


To me a skein is yarn that is wound on either a skein winder or niddy noddy and then tied. Skeins will hang loose and can also we twisted and then fixed into that familiar figure eight arrangement. As a spinner, storing yarn in skeins allows me to calculate yardage and I can also store several skeins of yarn in one twistee bundle that I think of as a hank simply because to me the hank is a definite measurement. I cannot remember where I came across this but will take a look to see if I can find it.

I think of the yarn that is sold in the squat logs or bundles still as skeins, but I think that this is a matter of the convenience of using traditional lingo for new packaging methods.....

Ball of course is really obvious and can be either center pull or not. In some ways those machine wound 'skeins' are really balls as they can be used with a center pull, and don't have to be wound. A skein cannot be knit from directly as it tangles too easily.

Kelley

Everywhere you go, there you are! Imagine that....
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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4395 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  3:07:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message
I agree with Kelley -- a skein is what you make when you wind your yarn on a niddy noddy or a skein winder, or when the yarn is packaged in a continuous circle tied at intervals to prevent tangling. How it's stored, as Kelley says, is an individual thing. A ball is a ball, center pull or not. A hank is also a skein, but at one time I think it had something to do with a specific measurement. I came to knitting through spinning and weaving, and I think the terminology is the same for all three.

Jane
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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4395 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  3:07:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message
I agree with Kelley -- a skein is what you make when you wind your yarn on a niddy noddy or a skein winder, or when the yarn is packaged in a continuous circle tied at intervals to prevent tangling. How it's stored, as Kelley says, is an individual thing. A ball is a ball, center pull or not. A hank is also a skein, but at one time I think it had something to do with a specific measurement. I came to knitting through spinning and weaving, and I think the terminology is the same for all three.

Jane
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Jane
SustaYning Member

USA
4395 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  3:07:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jane's Homepage Send Jane a Private Message
I agree with Kelley -- a skein is what you make when you wind your yarn on a niddy noddy or a skein winder, or when the yarn is packaged in a continuous circle tied at intervals to prevent tangling. How it's stored, as Kelley says, is an individual thing. A ball is a ball, center pull or not. A hank is also a skein, but at one time I think it had something to do with a specific measurement. I came to knitting through spinning and weaving, and I think the terminology is the same for all three.

Jane
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barefeetslp
Chatty Knitter

199 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  4:55:40 PM  Show Profile Send barefeetslp a Private Message
Hank refers to a bunch of hair or rope whereas skein is a flock of geese in flight.
I love playing with words!
Happy Knitting!!
barefeet

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barefeetslp
Chatty Knitter

199 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  4:55:40 PM  Show Profile Send barefeetslp a Private Message
Hank refers to a bunch of hair or rope whereas skein is a flock of geese in flight.
I love playing with words!
Happy Knitting!!
barefeet

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barefeetslp
Chatty Knitter

199 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  4:55:40 PM  Show Profile Send barefeetslp a Private Message
Hank refers to a bunch of hair or rope whereas skein is a flock of geese in flight.
I love playing with words!
Happy Knitting!!
barefeet

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Susan T-O
Permanent Resident

USA
2481 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  5:18:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit Susan T-O's Homepage Send Susan T-O a Private Message
quote:

Hank refers to a bunch of hair or rope whereas skein is a flock of geese in flight.
I love playing with words!
Happy Knitting!!
barefeet





Hee hee--you are as bad as I am. I like asking people, "What is the difference between quick and fast?" My answer: Quick is the living tissue under your nails, and fast is to go without food!

I always refer to anything that isn't in a ball or on the bobbin as a skein, although I think that niddy-noddy wound yarn is more correctly a hank.

--Susan T-O

Avalon was sitting by herself, knitting as if her life depended on finishing the garment.--Jill Churchill, "The Class Menagerie"
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Susan T-O
Permanent Resident

USA
2481 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  5:18:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit Susan T-O's Homepage Send Susan T-O a Private Message
quote:

Hank refers to a bunch of hair or rope whereas skein is a flock of geese in flight.
I love playing with words!
Happy Knitting!!
barefeet





Hee hee--you are as bad as I am. I like asking people, "What is the difference between quick and fast?" My answer: Quick is the living tissue under your nails, and fast is to go without food!

I always refer to anything that isn't in a ball or on the bobbin as a skein, although I think that niddy-noddy wound yarn is more correctly a hank.

--Susan T-O

Avalon was sitting by herself, knitting as if her life depended on finishing the garment.--Jill Churchill, "The Class Menagerie"
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Susan T-O
Permanent Resident

USA
2481 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  5:18:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit Susan T-O's Homepage Send Susan T-O a Private Message
quote:

Hank refers to a bunch of hair or rope whereas skein is a flock of geese in flight.
I love playing with words!
Happy Knitting!!
barefeet





Hee hee--you are as bad as I am. I like asking people, "What is the difference between quick and fast?" My answer: Quick is the living tissue under your nails, and fast is to go without food!

I always refer to anything that isn't in a ball or on the bobbin as a skein, although I think that niddy-noddy wound yarn is more correctly a hank.

--Susan T-O

Avalon was sitting by herself, knitting as if her life depended on finishing the garment.--Jill Churchill, "The Class Menagerie"
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BLN3320
Permanent Resident

USA
3808 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  8:05:21 PM  Show Profile Send BLN3320 a Private Message
Hi, troops: Susan T-O--to me the difference between fast and quick is fast of foot you know, running that type of thing. Quick is mental not at all physical. You can be fast but not quick or perhaps you can be both.

Now, when it comes to hank, skein and ball, we can definitely take out ball as that is something that you made around your fingers or with a swift and ball winder. No problem there. Skein and hank to me are interchangeable. I stem from Scottish as well as Swedish people. One used hank, the other skein, sometimes they used both. To me they are interchangeable but I could be so wrong. Been that before. Also, just a note, I have been knitting for 65 years.

Take care. Beverley

Bev
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BLN3320
Permanent Resident

USA
3808 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  8:05:21 PM  Show Profile Send BLN3320 a Private Message
Hi, troops: Susan T-O--to me the difference between fast and quick is fast of foot you know, running that type of thing. Quick is mental not at all physical. You can be fast but not quick or perhaps you can be both.

Now, when it comes to hank, skein and ball, we can definitely take out ball as that is something that you made around your fingers or with a swift and ball winder. No problem there. Skein and hank to me are interchangeable. I stem from Scottish as well as Swedish people. One used hank, the other skein, sometimes they used both. To me they are interchangeable but I could be so wrong. Been that before. Also, just a note, I have been knitting for 65 years.

Take care. Beverley

Bev
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BLN3320
Permanent Resident

USA
3808 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  8:05:21 PM  Show Profile Send BLN3320 a Private Message
Hi, troops: Susan T-O--to me the difference between fast and quick is fast of foot you know, running that type of thing. Quick is mental not at all physical. You can be fast but not quick or perhaps you can be both.

Now, when it comes to hank, skein and ball, we can definitely take out ball as that is something that you made around your fingers or with a swift and ball winder. No problem there. Skein and hank to me are interchangeable. I stem from Scottish as well as Swedish people. One used hank, the other skein, sometimes they used both. To me they are interchangeable but I could be so wrong. Been that before. Also, just a note, I have been knitting for 65 years.

Take care. Beverley

Bev
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Luann
Permanent Resident

USA
2678 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2003 :  09:06:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit Luann's Homepage Send Luann a Private Message
I can't remember where I read it, but someplace a yarn vendor was talking about why she sold her yarn in a particular shape. Something like, North American knitters like to buy machine rolled skeins, but European knitters prefer balled or hanked yarn. (Maybe it was in a Rowan newsletter?) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that in terms of measurement, the words are somewhat interchangable, it's shape that differs.

Luann (who feels this post would make more sense if she could actually remember what she's talking about today...)

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Luann
Permanent Resident

USA
2678 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2003 :  09:06:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit Luann's Homepage Send Luann a Private Message
I can't remember where I read it, but someplace a yarn vendor was talking about why she sold her yarn in a particular shape. Something like, North American knitters like to buy machine rolled skeins, but European knitters prefer balled or hanked yarn. (Maybe it was in a Rowan newsletter?) Anyway, I'm pretty sure that in terms of measurement, the words are somewhat interchangable, it's shape that differs.

Luann (who feels this post would make more sense if she could actually remember what she's talking about today...)

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