Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A short, sad tale of tails

The last few posts have been all about how to be conscious about ends--how to work them in as you go, so as to eliminate the trouble they cause if left unattended. Ironically, I failed to take my own advice on a new project.

I usually fish around inside of a new skein to find the inside end, so the yarn feeds from inside the ball. With an inside feed, your skein is less likely to be a kitty magnet--every pull won't make your skein jerk and jump around the way an outside feed will. The careful thing to do when you're using an inside feed is to wrap the outside end firmly around the outside of the skein, several times. As you knit, the skein gets smaller; what was once firmly wrapped is now loosely wrapped, so this little wrapping chore has to be done a few times during a project. If you forget to re-wrap, well...a loose end is the devil's plaything. The loose outside end will invariably find and tangle with the inside feed. Fail to keep track of that outside end--as I have done today--and you will have your own sad tale of tails.

This is a new yarn from Brown Sheep called serendipity tweed. On the (minor) downside, the high cotton content of the yarn means tangles are a problem--more like knots in a ball of string than tangles in a woolen skein. On the (major) upside, the cottony content means it doesn't make your hands sweat for summer knitting!



Anonymous marjorie said...

I sometimes get infuriated because I can't find the small end on the inside of a skein, and I end up with a wad of yarn (from the inside) when I start out that is separate from the skein. But there is always a point at the end of the skein, no matter how careful I am to wrap the outside end, where there is at least some collapsing. In some cases I do have to make a small ball out of the remaining yarn. I just hope that there is so little left that it doesn't manage to get annoying.


July 10, 2007 at 2:36 PM  
Anonymous kmkat said...

Using a yarn bra helps keep that outside end from tangling with the inside feed. And you can make a yarn bra from the mesh bag that cherry tomatoes sometimes come in.

July 10, 2007 at 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Deborah (a.k.a. Mt. Mom) said...

My consolations on your scramble, tech.

I so enjoy reading your posts. Lots of good ideas. I "save as new" lots of them on my bloglines page.

July 11, 2007 at 1:17 AM  
Anonymous Zarah said...

Going along with kmkat's comment - I use knee highs to hold a centerpull ball - no tangle!

July 11, 2007 at 8:53 AM  
Blogger Little Old Liz said...

Get thee to a Dollar Store, and stock up on the cute little metal snap barrettes that go in little girl's hair. Use one to hold the outside end to the ball. It won't do much when the ball collapses, except hold that straggler end from catching the center pull strand as you work.

July 11, 2007 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger La Petite Tricoteuse said...

I have to say, I always wind my skeins/hanks/balls into cakes with a ball winder because if I don't I always end up with a tangled mess. If you work with cotton then pull from the outside of the cake, anything wool like you can pull from the center. Plus, a cake won't roll about an be too tempting for your cat.

July 11, 2007 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a great solution to the outside end of the ball. Buy a roll of that elastic band stuff they use at the doc office to hold cotton on after your blood test. You can find it at the grocery store or drug store. One roll lasts forever. Cut off enough to go around your ball and overlap about 3-4 inches. Wrap it kinda tight around your ball being sure to confine the end under it. Voila! This baby is secure until you finish. AND you can undo it and tighten it as the ball gets smaller from the middle, preventing utter collapse and confusion toward the end!

August 25, 2007 at 8:29 AM  

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