Wet splicing yarn is a great way to join multiple balls of yarn together seamlessly, without any knots or extra ends to weave in. Most knitting projects require several balls of yarn, so at some point you will inevitably need to transition from one ball to the next. Splicing is a quick and easy way to do this. If done properly, the join will be completely invisible in the finished product.All of our Freia Flux colorways begin and end with the same color, so you can join the first ball to either end of the next, depending on the stripe pattern you desire. Our Ombré colorways can be knit as either a center-pull ball, or from the outside in, so you will always be able to join up to the matching end without having to re-wind the ball. These features help to ensure that every project will have perfect transitions between each ball of yarn. Splicing will make sure that no knots, lumps, or extra ends ruin that seamless join. In this tutorial I will demonstrate first how to splice our single-ply 100% Wool Sport and Worsted weight yarns, and then show you how to adapt this technique for splicing our 2 and 4-ply washable Wool/Nylon Fingering and Lace weight yarns.
You will need:
•The yarns you will be joining
•A small bowl of hot water (add a drop of dish soap to make splicing even easier)
Here I will be splicing a new ball of Big Top Worsted onto my knitting project. As you can see in the detail, the yarn is only a single strand of twisted wool, as opposed to a plied yarn made up of multiple strands. Both our worsted and sport weight yarns are single-ply, so this technique will work equally well on either one.
Step 2: Next, you want to carefully cut a little bit of wool out of the center of each “fan” with scissors. You should remove about 1/3 of the total wool, so that you are left with a V shape at the end of each strand. This will ensure that when you join the two ends, there won’t be a bump in the yarn where they overlap.
Keep going until the ends can no longer be distinguished and the yarn looks like one continuous strand. If you gently pull on the yarn on both sides of the splice, it should not come apart. The final splice should blend in completely with the rest of the yarn, and once knit it will be invisible in the finished product. You now have a new ball attached to your work, and you can start knitting where you left off!
Unless you have a particular fondness for frogging (or unknitting) your hard work, swatching is a must. When you make a swatch you determine many things: how you like the feel of the yarn, how this yarn knits up using particular needles (maybe you find you prefer metal over wood with certain yarns), the stiffness of the yarn based on gauge and how your knitting compares in tension with the manufacturer’s or pattern writer’s suggested gauge are a few reasons. When a designer writes a pattern, they will give you swatch specifications to try to match to make sure you end up with the correct results following their instructions. If your gauge is off, meaning, the you have fewer or more stitches or rows in your swatch, it will throw off all your measurements for your project and you will unhappily end up with a sweater 2 sizes too small or a hat that could fit a Yeti.
Let’s start with what a manufacturer suggests..theoretically, the figures provided for you on a yarn label are what the yarn distributor or manufacturer has determined based on what they perceive to be the ‘average’ knitter. But here’s the rub.. the yarn shown in the picture to the left is distributed by two different companies. Company A says the yarn knits up at 5 sts/1" on 4mm needles. Company B says the yarn knits up at 5 1/2 sts/1" on 4mm needles. At least they agree on what needles should be used!
As part of my little swatching experiment, the swatches shown here were all done using the same yarn, and same needles, on the same day. We all cast on 25 sts and worked 20 rows in stockinette stitch. Now even at this quick glance one can already see a difference between each swatch. It should also be noted that between the four of us that made up these swatches, we have well over 100 years of combined knitting experience, so be aware that experience makes no difference in your gauge, you don’t get to a point after X number of years and suddenly your gauge is always correct!
So, what is the significance of all this? Well, imagine the four of us decided to make a raglan sweater and the sizes on the pattern are S, M and L. Let’s say the smallest size has a cast on of 90 sts, the M is 95 sts and the Large 100 sts. We each decide to make the Medium. Skipping on the swatch, we each pick up our 4 mm needles and start knitting away. The medium, according to the pattern, should be 19" wide at the given gauge of 5 sts and 7 rows/inch (or 20 sts x 28 rows over 4"). We knit away for a few hours and then take a look at what we’ve got:
Tess measures her sweater front.. 17.25 inches wide! That’s 1.75 inches too narrow on the front alone, and will be 3.5 inches too narrow around the whole sweater, and the row count? Well, she’s at 7.25 rows to the inch, a bit on the short side, she probably should have jumped up a needle size to 4.5mm to get the gauge required.
How about Sue? - She’s getting 5.75 sts/inch, in other words her sweater is even narrower at 16.5", way smaller than the Small, and 5 inches narrower around the whole garment.
My sweater, well that one is 15" wide and way on the short side.. the raglan sleeves will never fit in the armholes properly
And Laurie? Same again. Her sweater is all of 15" wide. Not good..For comparison, let’s add in a fifth imaginary sweater maker who is getting a gauge of 4.5 sts to the inch, their medium sweater is turning out to be 21" wide, 2 inches wider all around than the large should be. Short of swallowing up those extra inches in the seams, it also turns out the row count is equally loose and the sleeves are looking way too long to fit in the armholes on the sweater.
We’ve just learned the hard way that our knitting is not the same tension as the designer’s. That difference of 1 little stitch per inch between Tess’s swatch and Laurie’s and mine makes the difference between a medium adult sweater and a child size sweater (let alone the sleeve fitting issues).
Some things to keep in mind when swatching:
- Make sure you use the same needles you will be using for your project, if you plan to use wood needles, then swatch on wood needles, the slipperiness of the yarn on your needles will affect your tension.
- Likewise, don’t swatch on straight needles only to knit on circulars, your gauge, in general, will be tighter on circular needles.
- Don’t rely completely on the ball band for gauge information, you should also look at yardage and weight of your yarn. If using a different yarn than what is called for in a pattern, the yardage and weight will be a far more accurate comparison between different yarns, keep in mind the fiber content too, wool may shrink, and cotton may stretch.
- Don’t skimp on your swatch, a 4" square will give you more accurate information than a 2" one, your stitches will settle in on a larger swatch and your work will be more even over a longer stretch of knitting.
- Don't waste your time making a swatch if you aren't going to block the swatch before measuring it. This means then that you also aren't allowed to complain when the item is a crazy shape or size. The point of a swatch is accuracy, take your time, do it right. You will save time in the end.
- Different yarns behave differently, wool is springy, cotton and silk will stretch, chenille has the mysterious ability to grow overnight. To be sure of your accuracy you will want to block your swatch, leave it to dry, and if humidity changes much in your area, you may look at leaving your swatch overnight to see if any further changes occur in your measurements.
- Likewise, don’t measure your swatch near your edges, your cast on or your cast off, find a spot where the stitches are the most even, swatches often splay out at the cast on or cast off, and edges can be bumpy and affect your count.
- If there is a stitch pattern, and the designer calls for a swatch using that stitch pattern, then do so, it’s also a great opportunity for you to test run the stitch pattern so it becomes familiar, better to make errors on a swatch than on your garment!
- Don’t swatch in the poor light, or when you are feeling tense. You may want to unwind with some knitting after a long stretch in rush hour traffic, but you are better off taking the dog for a walk first. Grumpy knitters make tight stitches!
- Keep in mind that if you rip out and restart a swatch that the yarn may have stretched from its first use, affecting your gauge on the 2nd try; again, block your swatch to get an accurate read.
- It is fairly easy to adjust needle size up or down to get the stitch gauge; row gauge can often be more challenging. Sometimes it may seem impossible to achieve the magic combination of stitch and row gauge and that these numbers must have been pulled from Mars! If you can get your stitch gauge correct and your row gauge close, then look at possibly making minor pattern adjustments instead of endlessly swatching your life away. Swatching is good thing, but we’re all here for the knitting in the end!
#yarnlovechallenge - day 24 - favorite tip - a quick video on the crochet cast on you can use to create a row of live stitches for your Electric Boogaloo cowl. Using scrap yarn, start with a short crochet chain, bring in your knitting needle and crochet around the needle as shown to create the live stitches. When you have enough stitches, work a longer length of chain so that you will know which end to work from when you go to undo your scrap yarn to pick up the live stitches. #electricboogaloocowl ™@freiafibers
A post shared by Freia Fine Handpaint Yarns (@freiafibers) on
Let me start by saying there is no right or wrong way to knit, however, you do, theoretically, want your stitches to look even and pretty, and you probably want knitting to be fairly easy, smooth and quick.
Stitches that are not twisted have the yarn lying in even rows, smoothly bumping up to, but not crossing over its neighbor stitch, or itself. The stitch presents itself to you politely on the needle and is easy to pick up and to work. In the stockinette stitch sample, shown to the left, you have nice, even little Vs all in tidy rows.
Then you have the twisted stitch, it fights back, you can’t figure out where your needle goes, it’s hard to work each stitch, your knitting is not as nice as what you’ve seen around you and you start asking yourself at what point does knitting become relaxing??
Twisted stitches can happen a few different ways, and there is not one simple answer as to how they occur or how to fix them as we can all knit differently, and may knit differently one project to the next depending on the yarn, the mood, the needles or just for the heck of it. The causes and fixes are related to the following:
- You pick up your stitches through the back loop of the stitch, or
- You pick up your stitches through the front loop of the stitch
- You wrap the yarn counter (anti) clockwise, or
- You wrap the yarn clockwise.Playing with these four basic elements, (make it eight elements when working alternating knit and purl rows) is what will create or take away the twisted stitch.
If you compare this to the first picture, you will see that each little V is now crossed at the bottom, instead of just touching. It’s actually not bad looking, but every stitch was a battle and this sample took me about 3 times as long to work up compared to the untwisted version.
When knitting the 1st sample of untwisted rows, I picked up my stitches in the front for both the knit and the purl rows, and wrapped my yarn counter-clockwise.
Here in this 3rd sample is what that can look like, I’ve again picked up my yarn from the front, but on my knit rows I wrapped the yarn counter-clockwise, and for the purl rows, I wrapped it clockwise. So, you will see that in all these samples, the only thing that has changed is whether I’ve wrapped the yarn clockwise or not.
Habits are easy to make and hard to break, and the direction the yarn is wrapped is a tough one to change for some. In that case, a way to get rid of the twist would be to pick up your stitches through the back part of the loop, instead of the front and see what happens. So on which row do you do that, the knit or the purl? Again, no real right answer, since it ultimately depends on what you are doing that is causing the twist