Joining yarns
Friday July 04th 2008, 11:15 am
Filed under: Knit

Happy Fourth of July!

Something I learned in spinning surprised me: you could fill up a bobbin, fill up a second bobbin, and then when plying the two together, get most of the yarn ofjoining strands from two skeins both of those onto a third bobbin before you ran out of space.  Shouldn’t it be just half, twice?  Shouldn’t one full bobbin plus one full bobbin make two full plied bobbins? But no, over and over I would get most of the way through the singles as I plied: the plied yarn was denser, but it didn’t take up that much more space. I got really good at spinning just enough of the singles–a little more than 2/3–to fill the plied bobbin just to the tippy top.

When I’m joining yarns from different skeins together these days, I apply some of what I learned from that.  If it’s a multi-plied yarn, I break off a few inches of half the plies (one if it’s a three-ply), knot the two strands just at the points where I’ve thinned them down, and then wind each thinned-down yarn end tightly around the full thickness of the strand I’m attaching it to, both directions.  The tip of my needle is pointing towards where the doubled-up length is after I’ve done this.  You can see in this picture at the bottom of the smooth loop to the right the slight bulge where the knot is–not the knot itself, but the joining strands arcing slightly away from it right at the knot.  But that disappears into the knitting.  I do dampen that doubled area and rub it vigorously between my hands to help it felt together if it’s not a superwash yarn.

I know. Knots are Not Done.  But I’ve heard too many stories over the years of people’s knitting coming apart at the skein seams in the wash, and I refuse to go there.  How tightly you tie the knot affects how it feels in the finished garment or whether its presence is even discernible, and I am careful not to overdo it.

I like this shawl. I’m not quite entirely sure yet it’s the one.  Purlescence is closed this week for the LYSOs’ vacation, and when they open Monday, I’m going to go put this one next to the Casbah one of mine I loaned them for display.  If the Casbah feels more right when I see it, that will be the one going off in the mail to Marc’s wife.   (Nathania, Sandy, Chloe–I’ll knit you another one.  Bring on the Handmaiden.)  But I’m finishing this one up quickly so as to have a good choice.

5 Comments so far
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You’ve cornered the market on beautiful knitting!!
Knots are so reassuring…sigh. 🙂

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 07.04.08 @ 1:32 pm

I think they’re back Wednesday. Just sayin’. 🙂

Comment by Jasmin 07.04.08 @ 1:53 pm

beautiful – as always —

I just did my first Russian Join on a bag I am doing – I think it should hold – I pulled and pulled and pulled on it to see if it would budge —

and yes I am a worrier about things coming apart 😉

Comment by rho 07.04.08 @ 3:00 pm

I block the snot out of most of my lace projects, so I’ve been known to knot too. It’s just so reassuring!

Comment by Channon 07.05.08 @ 5:30 am

Another beautiful project… howcome you’re not teaching lace classes? (((wink)))

Comment by Amanda 07.05.08 @ 5:37 am

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