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What is a Yarn Cone?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 16, 2024
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A yarn cone is a stiff cardboard or plastic cone used to store yarn. Many types of thread or yarn can be purchased on these cones, including cotton, wool, polyester or a blend of these materials. The term yarn cone may be used to reference either the yarn that is on the cone or the actual cone itself.

There is typically a hole that runs through the inside center of the yarn cone. A yarn cone usually fits over top of the spool holder on a knitting or weaving machine. These items may also be used by hand knitters, crocheters or weavers.

A yarn cone will typically hold quite a bit more yarn than a regular skein that is purchased from a craft store. Small cones might hold 1400 to 1800 yards (1280.16 to 1645.92 m). Larger cones can store from 3360 to 6550 yards (3072.38 to 5989.32 m). Smaller cones are typically used on knitting or weaving machines designed for household use, while large cones might be used in an industrial setting.

Often when a crafter is working on a project, the yarn will become tangled in the process. Yarn or thread that is on a yarn cone will typically not tangle as often as a regular skein of yarn. This yarn also is usually consumed evenly on the skein so that the cone does not become unbalanced as the product is used up.

Many times the yarn on a yarn cone is thinner than regular knitting or crocheting yarn. It is also usually somewhat stiffer than that type of yarn. The color of yarn on a cone is generally very even in color throughout. It is usually not difficult to match dye lots if more than one skein is needed for a project.

Once a cone has been emptied, it may be reused in several different ways. A person can wind regular yarn around the cone to help keep it from tangling and becoming unorganized. The cones may also be used in a number of different craft projects. In some areas, a person may be able to place empty yarn cones in a recycling bin so they can be recycled.

Yarn cones can usually be found at craft and hobby stores that regularly carry knitting and crocheting supplies. These cones can contain enough yarn to make a larger project, such as a sweater, without having to attach yarn from another skein. They may be good choices for those who like to use a machine to complete their crafts. Amateur crafters who work with traditional crochet hooks and knitting needles may enjoy using yarn cones as well.

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