Sunday, 16 September 2012

A quick sewing up cheat

Following on from the Twisted Tweble scarf in my last post, I thought you might find this little cheat kind of useful.  When it comes to working with chunky yarn, I quite often find it annoying when I get to the sewing-funky-stuff-on bit.  The yarn is a pain to squeeze through a needle (I quite often lose the bigger of my two knitter's needles, so have to botch through with the smaller one) and then I can't get needle and thread through the button hole, so end up fishing about with a tiny crochet hook instead.  I sense you nodding in agreement.  You've been there.

I know I could use a different yarn, but sometimes, I like a little conformity.  The answer, dear reader, is to split your yarn.  If you've never done it, here's how...

Chop off a length of yarn twice as long as you need.  This, incidentally, is that nice chunky twisty stuff I keep banging on about.

Split your yarn into two equal strands, a bit like you would with embroidery thread.

You'll end up with two lengths of very crinkled yarn.  Be careful with it during this bit.  You've effectively just unspun your yarn and what you're holding is quite fragile.  Now you need to put the 'spin' back in.

Taking one length of yarn, hold an end in each hand. Hold one hand still and twist the yarn a few times with your other hand.  The more you twist, the more stable/firm the yarn should feel. You'll notice the difference if you give it a (very gentle) tug.

You can either continue twisting with the one hand (which I find a bit difficult), or take a seat and do it my way.

You're doing it my way?  Great.  Still holding an end in each hand (and you'll still need to twist it a little as above) place the yarn across your lap so that your fingers are pinning one end to each leg.  Hold your left hand (and the yarn end) still.  Run your right hand down your thigh (gosh, it's all got a bit 50 Shades, hasn't it?), rolling the yarn end underneath it.  Roll the same direction that you twisted.

When you get to your knee, move the yarn back to the top of your thigh and repeat.  Don't let the yarn unravel.  You should only need to do this a couple of times (unless you have very short legs, or you're using a very long length of yarn).

Your yarn should look a bit like this.

And if you bring the ends together, it should do this.

For the next bit, you need to stretch out the yarn so that all the kinks disappear and fold it in half.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Yeah...

The way I do it is to pop a crochet hook between my teeth, hook facing down.  Hold the yarn so that it is under the middle of the crochet hook and bring both hands up so that they meet.  Hold both ends in one hand and use the other hand to remove the yarn from the hook. Spit out the hook.  By having the hook facing down, you should find that the yarn won't accidentally slip off the end leaving you with a big kinked knot.

Holding the two ends in one hand and the folded end in the other, you should feel the yarn naturally twisting in one direction. Let it. Don't just let go of it, rather, gently twist it between your fingers in the direction it wants to go.

There! Isn't that better?  Half the bulk of the original yarn and much easier to thread through a needle and button.  It also matches whatever you've just made. You can of course make it even thinner by splitting the original yarn into four (or even more) but be warned: it's really easy to end up with lots of little tufts of yarn as the unspun fibres are very delicate.

I hope that sort of makes sense.  I would like to have had more pictures, but both hands were already employed so a camera was out of the question. I hope you can forgive me.  Also, you've already had me gurning at you from a blog post once this week. A shot of me with my hands in the air and a crochet hook between my teeth or even worse, a thigh shot, might finish you all off.

Oh yeah, did I mention? If you're like me, you may look like a flailing, thigh-stroking loon. Best do this in private.

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