How Do You Pronounce Skein?

By Rachel Choi – 72 Comments
While hanging out with a bunch of crochet folks I realized that there are many ways that people pronounce the word “skein”. Perhaps it’s due to the region we’re from or the crochet influences that we’ve been around. The most common pronunciations that I’ve heard are “skane”, “skeen”, and “skine”. According the dictionary (yes, I looked it up), the proper way is to pronounce it as “skane”. Personally, I say it as “skeen” and any other way just sounds funny!

So which way do you pronounce “skein”? Skane, skeen, skine, or maybe just ball?

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72 Comments

  1. em says:

    I say ‘skane’-but then I learned from a kids book, and it told me to pronounce it that way.

  2. Diane says:

    I say skeen. That’s how I have always heard it pronounced by my older friends and family who crochet and knit.

  3. Jeanne says:

    I say “skane.” I’ve only met one person who said it “skeen,” and I suspect it may be a regional thing (she’s from the South).

  4. Ellen says:

    “Skane” here — I had no idea there was even a question!

  5. Dannee says:

    …i pronounce it “skane.” a teach yourself crochet book said it rhymes with rain…

  6. Lane † says:

    Oh! I’ve found someone else who says “skeen.” My friends (and mom) are always telling me that is is pronounced “skane.” But I prefer skeen. I try though to at least say skane while around my friends and my mom, but personally it will always be skeen.

  7. Sandra says:

    I also say “skeen,” and I’m from the Pacific Northwest, which is definitely not the South. :) I have no idea where I heard it; I might have made it up myself. I had no idea that anyone said “skane” until I moved to California! But the next time I’m in my yarn shop I will be less confused when conversing with the staff.

  8. Angie says:

    Im from the midwest and everyone i know calls it a skeen

  9. Laurie says:

    Skane in New England…. I never even considered a different pronunciation.

  10. Jodie says:

    I’ve always said Skine. Not really sure why, guess that is just what works in my brain! : ) Interesting conversation.

  11. Riah says:

    I pronounce it “skeen” as well. I’m from the midwest, but most people I talk to don’t even know what a “skeen” of yarn is, so no one has questioned my pronunciation of the word!

  12. Carol says:

    Skane for me … (East Coast originally)

  13. Muki says:

    I’ve always heard it pronounced “Skane” and was taught “skane” from various books and videos.

  14. Shannon says:

    “skane”

  15. Jo-anne says:

    I say skane but my kids would call it a ball of wool.

  16. Jessica says:

    I pronounce it as “skeen” although I know the correct pronunciation is “skane.” Like another commenter said here in the Midwest (Nebraska) you’re lucky to come across someone who knows what a skein of yarn is let alone how to pronounce it.

  17. Lies says:

    I pronounce it as ‘skeen’ as well. But then again, I’m Dutch speaking, so I guess I don’t even count ;-)

  18. Tami says:

    I say ‘skane’ too – though my mother says ‘skeen’ – and most of the time I’ll just say, “Hand me that ball of yarn.” Cause if I say ‘skane’ to my family they say, “What?”

    @Lies – Dutch folks are speakin’ folks too….you do too count!

  19. meowy says:

    I don’t know why I say “skane” because I don’t even know anyone in person who has a yarn hobby (well, at least regular hobby enough to them to want to talk about it all the time like I do haha) to talk to about crochet and stuff with. I must of heard it on TV or read it in some book that gave a pronunciation.

  20. Shadow says:

    I say Skine. Probably due to all the language courses I’ve had – Latin and German.

  21. Maria Elena says:

    i’m from the South and i’ve never heard it pronounced any way other than skane! so cool to hear other pronounciations :)

  22. Sheila says:

    The confusion comes from the way the word is spelled. If you pronounce it “skeen”, it breaks the “i before e…unless rhyming with neigh” rule. But people do it all the time. My own first name is a prime example. ;)

    Because of the way it’s spelled, it should rightly be pronounced “Shayla”, but people pronounced it “Sheela” because it is a derivative of Cecelia. Confusing but true. lol

    Neigh
    Sleigh
    Skein
    Sheila … ?

  23. Sandie says:

    skeen. Never heard anyone pronounce it any other way so this is interesting to me.

  24. hockeychick says:

    I am from the midwest also, and pronounce it “skeen”. I never heard of the other pronunciations
    until fairly recently. I believe it was from a craft show.

  25. Goria says:

    I’m from PA and have always said “skeen”. I did look it up in the dictionary one time to see if I was saying it correctly. Even though I found that I was not, I continued to say “skeen”. LOL

  26. Bethintx1 says:

    “Skayne” That’s how I’ve heard it pronounced all my life. I never heard it the other ways. Maybe I have, but I tend to listen to what people are saying rather than to their accent or dialect. Interesting.

  27. Laura says:

    I’m on the East coast and say “skane”. However, I have heard the “skeen” pronunciation.

  28. Cheryl says:

    Michigan here…

    Always said “skane” rhymes with rain. I have never heard sheen. I am going to listen better.

  29. Samantha says:

    While I know it’s supposed to be pronounced as skane, I have a difficult time remembering to not pronounce it as skine. x.x;

  30. Nanny says:

    I say skane and I’m Dutch.

  31. Michelle says:

    This is a very interesting conversation for sure. I learned to crochet & knit from Debbie Stoller books & she teaches “skane”, so that is what I say. Although….If you were to ask any of the older crocheters & knitters in my family it is a “ball of wool” no matter the type of yarn.

  32. Rachel Barrett says:

    I’m a “skeen”-er. But I usually just say ball for this very reason. Ha, ha!!!

  33. Karen says:

    I have always called it skeen, but I learned from my Grandma and Mom and both of them were from Southern Ohio. That wasn’t the only thing they said differently. I live in Oklahoma now and have heard it both ways.

  34. Peggy says:

    I’ve always pronounced it skay – n, along with all my fellow Pittsburgh-area knitters and crocheters. I never knew there was another pronuniciation.

  35. Dorith says:

    Like Lies above, also my mother tongue is Dutch and I have never had the need to pronounce this word.
    There is this other word I have no idea to pronounce: gauge. Often I see it spelled as guage, but I know that is wrong.
    So how do you pronounce it?

    Happy crocheting!

  36. Bookworm says:

    I say Skane and for me as well, anything else sounds odd. Though I think skeen sounds odder to me than anything pronunciation I’ve heard. Skeen… I dunno about that one.

  37. Bookworm says:

    I had the same thought as Sheila. With the ‘ei’ in the middle, it just felt natural for me to pronounce it skane, not skeen or skine.

  38. Laina says:

    skane because my Mommy told me I was saying it wrong when I said Skeen :)

  39. Carol says:

    I say skane. I wish everybody had put the state they’re from or learned how to crochet in. Wouldn’t it have been fun to where each was most prevalent?

  40. Karen says:

    Skane – that is what my Iowan mother taught me to say. I never heard anyone else say the word in any form until my 20s when my New Englander step-mother said “skeen”

  41. ladytigger54 says:

    I am originally from NY state and we pronounced it skane, but now I live in michigan and feel like a fish out of water, I get a lot of flack for the way I talk, example: most people here say Qpons for coupons, we always said coopons. Who knows its a crazy world LOL

  42. Laurie says:

    I’ve always pronounced it ‘skeen’….that’s the way the ladies at all the yarn stores here in Canada have pronounced it.

  43. Anita Meade says:

    It’s “skane” for me – and I’m from Australia.

  44. Laura says:

    I say skeen. My boyfriend agrees with me that skane is silly-sounding, and we are both from the east coast.

    @Dorith

    I pronounce “gauge” to rhyme with “cage.”

  45. Cami says:

    Skane – originally from Massachusetts. I have heard all pronunciations, mainly from podcasts.

  46. Michele says:

    Funny, I pronounce it skeen too. I have heard it as skane and thought hmm that’s odd and they may ahve thought he same way when I asked for a skeen…lol.
    Michele

  47. Cate says:

    I say skane. I live in Eastern Washington state. But I learned to talk in Idaho and my Mom was born in Canada so who knows why I say Skane? I put an r in Washington much to my kids disgust, I say it that way now just to bug them :-)

  48. marsha says:

    I was told it is pronounced as skane but I have heard it called skeen as well. I personally call it a skane if it hasn’t been rolled into a ball.

  49. Erin says:

    I’ve always lived in the Indiana/Ohio area, and I say “skane” based on the way it is spelled.

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