Thursday, September 15, 2016

Say No to Knots

  It's an inevitable event that all yarn crafters will have to face: A knot in your beautiful skein of yarn. If you've purchased a hank or bobbin that needs to be wound into a ball, then you'll find it before you begin working your project. But if you're working from a center-pull skein, it can put an ugly stop to your work. I'm here to help you learn to never fear another knot; not even with a color-changing yarn.

  Yarn companies tell us it's just something we have to deal with; a knot happens when there has been a break in the yarn, and we are expected to fix it. It has been tied back together so that we can fix it. Honestly, it always makes me a little mad, because I'm like "what, you ran out of yarn while winding that skein, or an accident happened? You're the yarn company, you fix it"... But, it's still inevitable. We are expected to fix it.

  And we ARE going to fix it, not just keep working with a knot in our beautiful crochet/knit/etc. Working with natural animal fibers gives you the option of spit-splicing, but for synthetic blends or cotton, there are only two choices: Either way, you will cut that knot out. You could join new yarn and weave in the tails, but supposing you leave a six-inch tail to weave on both ends... You lose a foot of yarn! I'm here to show you a better way. I know I've made tutorials for the Russian Join before, but none have come out as good as the pictures I took while repairing a break in my Caron Cake. Plus, I don't think I can teach this method enough. So for you newer readers who may have missed an old lesson, let's learn  how to repair or join yarn with a Russian Join!

-This method sure is easier with more slack in the yarn, but I'm not ripping out my stitches. I'm grabbing my scissors and a yarn needle, and we're going to fix this little problem:

-Unless the yarn is damaged near the knot, cut as close as possible to save the most material:

-Thread one end of the yarn on the needle; it doesn't matter which end you start with. Leave a tail about the length of the needle:

-You will thread the yarn into itself. Beginning about a needle's length away, split the yarn and pick up one ply onto the needle:


-Skip a ply, pick up the next ply, and so on... The yarn can tighten up as you pick up loops on the needle. I find it helps to untwist the plies a bit as you pick up loops.
-A needle's length of plies is enough. Before continuing, check to make sure the length of the tail is longer than the length of plies:

-Push the loops of the plies up towards the eye of the needle. They will try to tighten up on the needle as you push them up, so it will help to untwist them as you go. Leave a loop at the top of the yarn as shown:

-Don't pull the yarn all the way through itself! Grab that loop as you pull the needle through the plies:

-Gently remove the yarn from the needle, leaving a piece of tail sticking out of the yarn. Thread the opposite strand on the needle. Bring the new strand through the loop created in the other piece of yarn:

-With the new strand pulled through the loop: Repeat the previous steps to weave the new strand back into itself, again holding back a loop as you pull the needle through the plies:

-When you have both strands woven through themselves, gently pull the tails to tighten the loops. Don't pull too tight! Stop when you can still see a tiny bit of the loops:

-Now, don't freak out if your yarn looks all messy like this:

(Or worse... I've had some yarns come out looking SO much worse.)

-It's cool, we'll fix it! Grab each strand of yarn close to the loops. Untwist the plies, running your fingers towards the tails as you go:

-And it will still be a little messy... Until now. Re-twist the plies tightly back together - tightly enough to make it twist on itself a bit, but not tightly enough to break the yarn:

-And then let it relax. Ta-da! If you're not happy with it, repeat the twist-untwist process a few more times, and it will straighten out. You can continue to weave the tails into the yarn, if you want to hide them in there:

-But as long as I have more than 2" (5 cm) woven in on each side, then I trim the rest to save time:

-You, as the yarn crafter, will probably feel a difference in the yarn where it has been joined. But especially in a lacy design like the one I'm working, this joining method sure beats weaving in more ends:

PS: If you can't find it, the chain section directly under the knot is the bit of yarn I joined using the Russian Join. Maybe you can spot it, maybe you can't; but I know that if I had woven in ends there, you would definitely notice a difference.

Happy Crocheting!

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