If you're using a yarn that comes in a twisted hank, the first step before knitting your project is to wind the yarn.
A hank is a length of yarn loosely wound in a loop rather than a ball. Winding your yarn into center-pull balls allow the yarn to relax before it is knitted, and is much easier to knit from a ball of yarn, as hanks become easily tangled.
If you do not have a ball winder and swift, winding your yarn into a center-pull ball by hand is the best way to keep your project tidy and tangle free.
To wind your hank into a center-pull ball:
Open your hank by pulling the end out of the loop ...
... and untwist it
Insert both hands into the loop and pull it taught.
Locate the tie that is holding the hank together.
Untie the knot, or snip it off with scissors ...
... and unweave the ends.
Using the back of a chair, your knees, or someone’s hands, drape the hank so you can unwind from one of those ends. Hold the end between your first and second fingers (if you are right-handed, hold it in your left hand, if you are left-handed, hold it in your right hand).
Wind around these two fingers, leaving a long section of the tail visible.
When you have wound a small, firm mass of yarn ...
... slide your fingers out, holding the tail as you do.
Continue winding the yarn, leaving an opening so the tail can always be pulled out freely.
Work in different directions to get a rounder ball, but always leave the tail uncovered.
Continue winding without covering the tail until you get to the end of the hank, then tuck the end under the last few wraps to secure it.
Now you can pull the tail, and the yarn will unwind freely from the center of the ball.