Friday, September 6, 2013

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Knitting on my lace tunic during a power outage
in June that lasted a couple days. That would be
too long to go without knitting in the evenings!
So I know, I know, I'm supposed to be working on Troy's socks all the live long day. But sometimes a girl needs a break. And I've been sneaking them in and working on my cotton lace tunic. (shhhhh)

I finished the main knitting a couple of days ago and got the last piece cast off tonight. I hope to have it blocked this weekend and then I just need to seam it together and knit the trim around the neck and armholes. If I'm really good, the socks will be done on time on Monday (fingers crossed) and then I'll be able to finish up this tunic in time to wear for the last few warm days we should (hopefully) get before fall really sets in.

The tunic's been a bit of a funny knit as I got stitch gauge on the "netting" stitch of the side panels but had to do a lot more rows to get the right length. And on the main lace stitch, I was good on row gauge but really had to pull on it to get it to be wide enough (which means my stitch gauge was too small). But I was able to block to measurements so let's hope it fits. :)

I had a frustrating obstacle to finishing the knitting...my ball of yarn ran out with only half a row of bind off to do!
The long tail (top) just wasn't going to be enough
to get the stitches cast off. (Boo!)
So I had to join a new ball of yarn, but there were a few things to consider. 1. The yarn is cotton, which is harder to join reliably and smoothly. (Certainly no wet join was going to work.) There are several methods but they're all pretty bulky. 2. The join was going to be right on an edge that would be worked into a seam and I really didn't need a super bulky join or things would get really ugly really fast. But the good part of it being on a seam is that it didn't necessary have to be the prettiest join.

Yarn from commercial sweaters is "unplied" (not
twisted or spun). They feed the yarn to the knitting
machines from separate spools.
Right about that time I read through a thread on the Ravelry Unravelers group about working with the unplied yarn you get from raveled sweaters. Somehow the topic of joins came up and one member commented that they do offset knots on the different plies. Often enough there's a knot in the yarn (in one ply only) straight from the sweater factory and it is knit into the garment with no ill effects. So she figured if you offset the knots, it should work fine as a join. Light bulb goes off in my head as I agree with her.

I decided this is the perfect join for this situation. Not too pretty, but not at all bulky. So I overlapped the ends of the two yarns I wanted to join by about 12". (Yes, this uses more yarn than most joins, but not a lot more.)
I tied a knot in one of the plies at the left end of the overlap. This gave me a final length and I stretched the yarn over a tray so that it would be taut. The only tricky part of this was making sure each ply ended up the same length.
I secured it by wrapping it around the handle.
It didn't have to be super tight or take a lot of pressure. I then worked on the other plies one by one until I had them all knotted. I ended up with six knots over about 8 inches.
Then I trimmed the ends to less than 1/4 inch.
When I used the yarn, I could tell where the knots were if I looked closely,
but that will become hidden in the seam and it isn't noticeable from further away. And no bulk. It is great.

There's a rule that there are no knots in knitting.

Except when sometimes there are.

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