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

table of contents Ľ chapter 4 (of 29)

4: Ends & Knots

Yarn ends
are enemies. They have to be sewn in somewhere and extra ends make extra work when finishing a garment. Apart from adding bulk when stitched into seams, they can pop out on the right side of the garment, making all your hard work look unfinished and amateur. More ends means more bits to be dealt with, and this is a lot of work, so eliminate making unnecessary ends.

Having chosen a pattern and then sorted out the tension, you start the knitting, and even before you have worked stitch one, you can make the first move to help yourself with the project. If you leave a long end when casting on, and, in fact, when casting off, or making colour changes, you can use these long ends for joining instead of starting a seam with another bit of yarn. You will only have to deal with one end instead of three. Multiply this by the number of seams on a garment and you will see how much extra work and bulk can be avoided as you will eliminate having to deal with so many ends.

Long ends at colour changes are in the right place and are the right colour to use for properly matched seams [pic 1,2,3].

Long ends will be used for seams.

2: (left) Seam joined with matching colours.
3: (right) Back of seam.

More ends occur with the finish of one ball of yarn and the start of a new ball. Unless you are knitting in a new area of colour, always make a join at the end or beginning of a row [pic 4].

4: Make a loose knot at the join.

If the knitting is a smooth fabric, the join is almost impossible to hide on the right side unless the yarn is very thick, but then the join will be very thick. In an attempt to deal with ends in the middle of the fabric, some knitters rub them together between their fingers and then keep knitting. Others try to splice the two ends together. Neither method works well, and something usually shows on the right side. You really have to unpick the work back to the beginning of the row, and then join in the second end. It is worth the trouble.

Itís very annoying when you find a knot in the yarn when you are half way along, or worse still, near the end of a row. Itís also a real pain when you run out of yarn just before the end of the row. Having to unpick all those precious stitches to get back to the beginning of a row was so aggravating that I decided I had to change my tactics. Now, at the start of every row, I pull out and check enough thread to measure about three times the width of the row I am working, and then I complete the row. It has saved me hours of unpicking.

If you do come to a knot in the yarn, never keep knitting over it. Apart from the fact that it wonít hide, it can unravel when being worn or when the garment is washed. It really is just two ends after all.


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