Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Joy of a Very Large Ball of Yarn

That's the back of my mother-in-law's sweater: 26 inches wide and 22 inches long so far and it's almost all stockinette stitch. Is it a little monotonous? Well, yes. However, it has one huge advantage: it's all been knitted with one single ball of yarn and, as you can see, I have more left to use.

This makes me happy because I won't have the tedious task of weaving in a whole lot of loose ends, a job I detest because it comes when I want to bask in the glow of finishing the project. Only it's STILL not finished. All those pesky ends are dangling and I have to dig a needle out of the bottom of my knitting bag which takes forever and then try to neatly conceal the extra yarn. Ugh!

So for large projects, I'm singing the praises of this giant ball of Cascade Eco+ which weighs in at a hefty 250grams/8.75 ounces and unwinds for an impressive 437 meters/478 yards. It's very reasonably priced too. That's a normal ball of wool on the left and my new best friend Cascade Eco+ on the right. Nice and muscular, right?

What's your favorite yarn for a big project? Does anyone have a secret for overcoming the tedium of weaving in the ends?

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Anonymous Paula said...

I try to find a quiet day when I can sit at my kitchen table (best light in the house, great flat surface), make a cup of something wonderful (tea with honey or cocoa in the winter, flavored ice tea or lemonade in the summer), put on some music I love and go to it! I get a kick out of all the ends I cut off. One of the bloggers I read saves all her ends and I've thought that would be fun. Perhaps to put them in clear jars for decorative purposes and to remember the many projects completed. I think it's trying to turn it from an arduous task to a simple pleasure.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Weave in ends? Nope, won't do it. I either spit splice (wool or alpaca but not superwash) or do a Russian join. There might be a little bit of extra thickness for a few stitches, but it's hardly ever noticed. That just leaves the beginning and end to weave in.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Paula, I like the idea of making it a treat instead of a chore. I'm going to try that. Once again, you've demonstrated that a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.

Cathy, talk to me! What are those two things you do that prevent having any loose ends whatsoever? Of course, then I won't get my nice relaxing tea-time a la Paula. It's definitely a tradeoff...

10:15 AM  
Blogger georg said...

Knit socks! No ends! It all makes up from *one* skein. :)

(brought to you by the evil plotters to convince Nancy to try socks)

12:46 PM  
Blogger georg said...

If it's a lovely spinable fiber, you can spit a little on your fingers and spin the two ends of the yarn together. You have to do this for naalbinding.

I am guessing the russian join is more like knitting with the new thread along with the old for 4 stitches or so, and then cutting off any excess. I've done this before for a knot-free change over.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Knitterary said...

Plymouth Outback Wool also comes in the very large skeins. It knits to 4 sts/inch, which I think is a bigger stitch than the Eco. And it comes in some beautiful handpainted colorways, too.


3:48 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Socks, Georg!!??! Perish the thought, she says with a shudder of revulsion.

Are there any tricks or drawbacks to the Russian join? I'd like to try that. I really hate the weaving in process, even with hot chocolate on hand.

Theresa, I'll definitely check out the Plymouth Outback yarn. I adore interesting colorways so that sounds very appealing. Thanks for the recommendation!

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

A little more mundane, but I always weave in ends as I go along. Knit up another couple of inches and then weave in. It's still a bit tedious, but it's only one at a time instead of the whole lot at once.

If finding the needles is a problem you should think of a fun way to store them. My blocking pins are dress making pins with pearly coloured heads because they're easier to spot and they make blocking more fun. I sometimes keep my needles in the box with them.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Ok--spit splicing is where you wet the yarn, overlap it a bit, and rub briskly between the palms of you rhands to basically felt it together. It doesn't work on non-felting yarns, so for those, I use a Russian join (no, it's not just overlaping the yarn for a few stitches, because then you still have to weave in the ends). But there's a link to a nice visual, and it explains it fairly well. I've used it on acrylic, cotton, superwash wool, and anything else I can't spit splice. Much, much easier than trying to weave in the ends--they're already hidden!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Cathy, thanks so much for the link to the Russian join. The instructions were crystal clear. That is a very cool alternative and I'm definitely going to try it. No more weaving! Yay!

9:17 PM  

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