Sunday, February 19, 2012

Splicing yarn

As much as I love knitting, there are certainly some elements of it I don't like.  I don't like joining seams and I do everything I can to avoid that activity.  I don't like "weaving in loose ends" especially when you are adding new yarn, and like the seams, do as much as I can to avoid that activity.

Lace knitters offer a wonderful option for weaving in the loose ends created from joining new yarn.  Lace knitting is so light and open, if you were to weave in another strand of yarn, it would show and alter the thickness of the fabric.  So they suggest splicing the yarn.  This technique only works on fibres that will felt, so be warned.  You CAN do it with superwash and nylon infused fibres, but they don't hold as well.

If you are going to splice yarn, the first thing you do is unwind the plies.  The photo is not very good, but it is a two ply 100% wool yarn.  I cut one ply in each strand about 2 inches frm the end.

Then I soak both pieces of yarn in water for about 5 minutes.  This allows the wool to absorb some water and open the scales on the individual fibres, which will make it felt.

When the fibres are good and soaked, lay them across your palm as shown above, laying the single plies from each strand alongside the other.  Then, using your other hand, rub back and forth creating heat and friction.  Don't be afraid to use a bit of pressure.  After a very short while, the single plies will fuse and you will have one complete strand of yarn. While it doesn't look exactly like the original yarn, it is the same thickness and holds together.  Once you knit it into your piece, you won't notice it at all.


Now, whenever I need to join another ball of yarn, even if it happens at the end of the row, I fuse the ends together.  It is easy and most effective.  I've even done it on the bus, soaking the ends in my mouth.  And it worked.

[I apologize for the quality of these photos. The camera couldn't be found (again) and once it was located (finally) the battery was done (again). So I had to rely on my blackberry camera phone.]

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