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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents Ľ chapter 2 (of 29)

2: Needles & Accessories (cont.)


I collect Magic brushes. That was the brand name on my first brush and so thatís what I still call them. Each version works in a slightly different way. They usually have a padded velvet surface with the fibres set at an angle to brush across the knitting and remove lumps or fluff. The padded head can be reversed for brushing in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, some yarns pill or fluff, whatever you do to stop it happening, but this only shows up after the start of the knitting. It is so annoying. You will often find that knitting disturbs stray fibres and the resulting fluff has to be brushed away and thatís the end of it. Thatís if you are lucky. Some yarns require brushing every time you wear the garment. Itís such a wonderful thing to find a stable yarn, especially if there is a big range of colours, and you can use that yarn for many projects.

I have also found some fluff removers with a slightly sticky surface that collects all the debris, but the surface becomes useless quite quickly and has to be replaced constantly. One great find was a remover that has a little sticky cylinder that can be washed when it clogs up, but it is too small to be really useful. At a pinch, I wind sticky tape around my fingers, active side out, and brush away with that.

A lot of yarns need surgery and then you have to bring out the big guns. I can use yarn de-pillers, which are a bit rough on some yarns, and even have a thing with a handle above a flat sandpaper surface that, held at the correct angle, lightly scrapes off and removes fluff and pills. This is essential for all the knitwear that, after some wear, develops balls of fluff down each side or under the arm. When fibres used in the yarn are short, they work their way out of the twist with any friction: moving arms, holding things against you, a handbag swinging at your side, or just wear.

The last weapon in my armoury is a safety razor. Place the fabric on a flat surface, and lightly drag the blade across it. This will cut through the fibres holding the fluff and pills on the knitting and then they can be brushed off.

I know I seem obsessed about fluff and stuff, but there is a reason for that. I have three cats. I adore them, but they are all hair- shedding machines. One is white and black, just the thing if you are a black clothing wearer, one is black and white, great if you wear pale colours, and the third is a tabby, so his fur shows up on any colour. I have a constant battle with hairs on every surface in my apartment and the combination of clothing and seats is deadly. I often find that I have to brush my knitting because hairs float in the air. I can see them in streams of light, dancing around, ready to land on my work. I convince myself that the brushing motion exercises my arms.

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