December 05 2012 – thisisknit
One of the questions that we get asked most is "what's the best way to join in a new ball of yarn?" Well, as with many questions, it depends. It depends on the yarn, mostly, and on the project. So we thought it might be a good idea to talk about it here.
Today, we're looking at splicing non-superwash wool. Given particular circumstances, it will felt, and you can exploit this to give a completely knotless join with no ends to weave in. Those circumstances are moisture, agitation and heat.
The three are usually deliberately applied to knitting to felt (or more properly, full) the fabric, but here we're going to show you how to apply them all just to the ends of your yarn. All you need is a little water (we borrowed a very pretty saucer for ours from our friends at The Pepper Pot).
To avoid unnecessary bulk in your join, reduce each end by a few plies (we're using Soft Donegal
here, which is a 2-ply construction, so we just halved the ends). You're aiming for three inches or so of halved plies that will overlap later to give you full thickness.
Immerse both ends in your water and poke them around well to get them nice and wet.
Remove them, and squeeze out excess water. Then lay them across your hands so that the damp ends overlap.
Then rub your hands together briskly as if you were trying to warm them up - in fact, you are: you're providing the heat part of the equation.
After a few moments, test the yarn. When it's done, you'll be able to tug on it and the join will hold.
Then you can just continue crocheting or knitting with your yarn. The join will be completely invisible, there'll be no ends to weave in, and you don't even need to place the join in an inconspicuous place.
This technique won't work on yarn that isn't (mostly) wool, and superwash wool has been treated to ensure it won't felt. So for these other fibres, it's better to choose a different technique - we'll talk about them in the future.