Why Does Yarn Curl When Knitting?

When making your beautiful knitting project, you may suddenly notice your yarns are not staying in shape as they ought to be. You may be wondering if there’s something you’re doing wrong. It could be frustrating and annoying at some point. Do not abandon your project because curling yarn is easy to fix. If you are looking for how to stop your thread from curling while knitting, worry no more because you’ve come to the right place.

Why Does Yarn Curl When Knitting?

There has been a lot of speculation amongst Knitters that the reason for your yarn curling when knitting is due to the width difference, but I can’t entirely agree with that. The reason for curling is the result of tension. Another primary reason your yarn curls when knitting is a lack of symmetry in the front and back of the knit stitches. This problem is majorly experienced when knitting a stockinette stitch pattern. All other stitching patterns are a mix of purl and knit stitches. Therefore, your yarn hardly curls except for different reasons. A stockinette stitch pattern consists of knit stitches on the right side which makes it less resistant. On the knitting side, the curl is mainly at the bottom, while the purl is at the edges.

How Can I Stop My Knitting From Curling?

To stop your yarn from curling during knitting, there are some techniques and tricks you can use. Some of them are;


  • By Adding Selvage Stitches

Adding a selvage line addresses the two major causes of curling which are tension and fault lines. By adding an exceptional edge, you’re disturbing the characteristics of the fabric most easily. Selvage is a Knitters’ term for an extra advantage or sometimes two or three that is not part of the actual knitting. There are two types of selvage edges you can add—A bit that disturbs the folding line and the other an edge that relieves the tension.

  • Adding A Hem

This is mainly applied when knitting a hat. Additional rows in different stitches will prevent your hat from curling. If you use a rib stitch, always use a needle more minor than the yarn fabric. It will make your hem look neat, crisp, and more stretchy.

  • Knitting With Bigger Needles

A giant needle doesn’t curl your yarn when knitting because there is more room for your guage to breathe as you move wider. Lack of enough space is a basis for curling when winding. With enough space, the little waves can easily be fixed with minor blocking. However, it is essential to note that using a giant needle means your garment will be more drapey and keep you less warm.

  • Adding  A Lining

If your project keeps curling after you are done, adding a suitable lining can help stop it from curling. If you know sewing, then that is a bonus. You could also get someone else to sew it in for you if you don’t know how to. The best sewing method is by hand with a sharp needle. This way, your stitches will look neat with no sign of sewing from the right. Ensure the fabric matches the weight and color of your yarn to give it an even look. You could also use a complementary color as a lining to give it a bit of a twist. The silk lining is an excellent option to consider.

  • Blocking Your Knitting

Most yarns are made of animal hair, and they behave similarly to human hair. Sometimes you need to get them for them to be malleable. When you’re done with your knitting project, gently soak it in water. You can add mild soap and avoid storing heavily. After about 30 mins, you can wring it on a towel or carpet and let it dry while using pins and letting it dry. All the above process is called blocking by Knitters. The project retains its shape once it gets dry and removes your stitches.

  • Adding A Crochet Border

Adding a selvage stitch solves curling during stitching, but sometimes your knitting curls when you finish at the bottom and edges of the scarf or hat. If this happens to be your situation, the best solution is adding a crotchet border. You use a crochet hook to add a row or two at the edge of the knit stitch. This will increase the beauty of your piece and gives it a new look and feel because you mixed two different techniques. You could use a different contrasting color as a design feature.

  • Choosing A Different Stitching Pattern

When making a hat or scarf, the stockinette pattern is not the only stitching pattern to use. You can use other great patterns like Garter stitches or rib stitches. Both designs look lovely on scarves and, in addition, feel more cuddly. You can make your beautiful piece with a combination of two different patterns. This will add to the beauty and give it a new/unique look. You don’t necessarily have to stick to a single design which can end up being boring before you get to finish.

Sometimes, curling, especially at the edge of your knitting, is not something to be worried about. An example is a knit flat sweater that can curl at first but will straighten when you sew the front and back together.


What Are The Different Types Of Yarns For Knitting?

There are different types of yarns made from natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Natural fibers are from plants and animals, while synthetic fibers are from artificial. Under these categories, there are a lot of yarns any knitter can find. Some of them include the following;


Wool yarns are made from natural fibers, specifically animal fibers ( it is derived from sheep). It is a warm fiber that can be used to make winter pieces. However, it can be itchy or irritate some people. Wool is durable and tolerates cleaning compared to other materials. 


Acrylic yarn is made from acrylic fibers which are artificial (synthetic). It is believed to imitate wool fiber because of its heat retention characteristics. It is less expensive and can be used to make fake fur and fleece.


This is a synthetic fiber derived from either petroleum or coal. It is durable and often used as a substitute for wool. Unlike wool, it is less likely to irritate people with sensitive skin and is machine washable.


It is a semi-synthetic fiber made from plant fiber ( wood pulp). The reason why it’s called a semi-synthetic fiber is that the production process involves the use of chemicals like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide. Rayon yarn is sold in a variety of vibrant colors and sometimes absorbs more moisture as compared to cotton.

Other fibers used in making yarns include Alpaca, Angora, Bamboo which is eco-conscious, Cashmere derived from goat, Cotton, Llama, Merino, and so many other natural and synthetic fibers.

What Are The Factors To Consider When Buying A Yarn?


There are different types of yarns in the market, each with distinct characteristics and made from other fibers. Some threads are a better option than another, depending on the kind of project to be carried out. When choosing yarn, every knitter should put the following factors into consideration;

  1. The weight of the yarn is a significant factor to consider when choosing a thread. The yarn weight has to suit the project you have. Do not use heavy yarn to make a light shawl. It would end up defeating the purpose and making the shawl heavier than expected. If you are making a winter blanket, the opposite is the case. Therefore you’ll need heavy yarn. The end product of your project is greatly affected by the weight of your thread.
  2. What is the budget for your project? Making a large blanket means making use of more yarns than making a smaller blanket. A high-quality skein can be expensive, coupled with the fact that you’ll need more yarn. When knitting, especially for profit, always have your budget in mind when choosing your yarn.
  3. The ply is a vital feature to consider. Some knitting patterns are better with yarns that have a certain range of plies. This is because the plies add to the texture and appearance of your final product. If you’re working towards a soft-looking development, then a single-ply material will be a good choice.
  4. Some yarns can be a bit hard to find. Always choose a yarn that you can quickly get when your supply replenishes.


Your yarn can curl when knitting due to tension on the yarn or a lack of symmetry in the back and front of the knit stitches, amongst other reasons. You can stop these curls by adding a hem, blocking the stitches, or adding a selvage stitch. When you notice curling after you’re done with your project, adding a lining such as silk can stop the curls. You can also decide to use other stitching patterns at the row. With all these steps, you can uncurl your knitting and have a beautiful finished product.