A Scarlet Rant – Stealth Knots!

Stealth Knot
Stealth Knot

Scarlet; as in flame red. As in a flaming rant.

Dear Yarn Manufacturers,

Does the phrase Quality Control have a meaning, or even a role, in your business? My particular concern at the moment are knots in yarn skeins. I completely understand that when winding skeins for sales to the consumer, occasionally the huge cones you wind off of do come to an end and a knot is needed to continue on. I understand that in these lean economic times, watching the bottom line and allowing a knot in a skein is a large money saver and allows you to keep the costs of your product in a reasonable range. I truly do understand this and even can live with it.

Explain to me then, how when a skein containing only 210 yards (or even just 80 yards) can have a knot in every skein purchased. I know for a fact that the cones you wind off of have thousands of yards on them. I went to school. I even have 92 college credits. I passed most of my math with flying colors – OK, calculus was a disaster but it’s not needed to figure this one out; a several thousand yard cone should be able to produce several skeins of yarn with no knots.

Furthermore, please explain how a single skein of high quality yarn, that cost a minor fortune, can have FIVE knots in a single, 210 yard skein. Does this not strike you as excessive? Am I just being a whiner?

To top it all off, the offending ball of yarn by you (Ber….)  had Stealth Knots in it. OK, this was not the most expensive yarn I ever bought. It wasn’t even a natural fiber. But you  (the yarn company) assured my LYS, where it was being sold that it was a superior quality yarn for afghans and children’s wear and far better than any yarns sold at the big box discount chain stores. Harrumph! Even Red Heart can keep their knots to a minimum, what’s your excuse?

The point of this letter is to ask you to keep your knots (1) a maximum of one per skein (better yet, one per several skeins) (2) and to leave at least one-inch tails on every knot so they can be easily spotted before they cause a knitting (or weaving) disaster.

Sincerely pleading,

Pure Evil
Pure Evil

I’m sooooooo glad to get that off my chest. It’s been weighing on my mind for months now.

What is a Stealth Knot you ask? As illustrated by the two photos, a stealth knot is a knot that is tied as cunningly as possible to hide it’s existence. It is tied very tight to minimize it’s size and the tails are clipped so short they are right at the knot, rendering it nearly invisible. This is an unacceptable knotting process that is used by the most sinister of yarn manufacturers and should even be classified as evil. Why?

By it’s very nature, it is hard to notice. Hence, you are knitting along in a very complicated pattern or lace stitch and behold; a knot on your needle, before you can even notice it. The result is time spent (and very foul words) unknitting so you have several inches of yarn tail available before the knot so you can clip it out and splice in the new yarn. In the case of the lace pattern, unknit to the beginning of the row (for a shawl that has 430 stitches this causes very foul words). In the case of a machine knit garment, in a variegated, dark color this means the knot can go undetected until the garment is blocked. Meaning the entire section must be ripped out and re-knit. Very foul words, indeed. In the case of a wound warp, an undetected knot, once on the loom, is a serious breech of yarn manufacturer etiquette; an unacceptable low-blow.

Why would a yarn manufacturer use knots that they have gone to great lengths to hide? They have an evil, gleeful goal to cause pain, frustration and irritation to the yarn users of the world. They are evil. But we are their customers and we are on the Internet. And Ravelry. And their days of spiteful glee are numbered.

He, he (gleeful, spiteful chuckle).

Deb H

A Scarlet Rant – Stealth Knots!

3 thoughts on “A Scarlet Rant – Stealth Knots!

  1. teri says:

    In the case of expensive yarn, I have been known to unknit to the beginning of the offending skein and return it to place of purchase with an explanation (when I pay x$$ for a year I expect it to be in one piece or, at the very most, that there be no more than one knot and that I be warned on the label that there may be a knot). IMNSHO, if I pay $20+ for a skein of yarn with less than 300 yds in it it should NOT have a knot! So far I have gotten my money back. I wrote to one manufacturer of a $20+ per skein yarn where I found three knots in one skein and two in another that I would not buy their yarn any more and, further would post everywhere I know of about their poor quality if they did not make it right. They replaced both skeins and paid for me to ship the bad skeins back. Good thing as I was just as PO’d as you!!



  2. Deborah says:

    I was so surprised to see that someone else finds this as annoying as I do! I purchased a $12 ball of yarn at my local yarn shop, it was so soft, colorful and irresistable, I simply had to have it. I was happily knitting along and there it was, the knot. I was so miffed, I dashed off a note to the company immediately. Is this not one of the cardinal rules of knitting? Never knot? These knots leave me with three choices, knit on, leaving the offensive knot glaring at you, pull back, cut the yarn and start over where you are, or tink back to the beginning of the row and start from there. None of those scenarios make for a happy knitter. I wouldn’t buy from this company again, but they have some of the nicest yarn, that could be an impossible endeavor. I wish there was a way we could get the yarn manufacturers to understand how bad this is.


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