To knot or not to knot? That is one question that has a lot of knit/crochet enthusiasts engaging in great discussions about joining techniques on a yarn project in progress.
Here’s the scenario: You are working across a row of knit/crochet when, mid-row, you come to the end of the skein or ball of yarn. Do you (a) tie a new yarn in with a knot?; (b) rip the row back to the beginning and start the row with the new yarn, weaving in the loose ends later?; or © weave a new strand of yarn into the old yarn?
These days, I’m almost exclusively a no-knot type of knit/crochet crafter. I used to knot my yarn joins but over time and use, I found some knots eventually have a way of coming apart, especially if one trims the yarn ends too close to the knot. A no-knot joining is also better for specific types of knit/crochet projects. For example, you don’t want any knots when making items for cancer patients (e.g., a hat). Knots can wreak havoc on a cancer patient’s sensitive skin.
My late mother-in-law, also a knit/crochet enthusiast, showed me a Russian join method of joining two ends of yarn. This is my favorite method for joining new yarn to a current project, especially mid-row across my project. The yarn from the current row is woven together with the beginning of a new skein of yarn by taking a yarn needle and merging the two ends together, overlapping the ends about 3 inches. Then, roll the joining between your hands to smooth out the rough edges of the joining. The joining is then worked over a few stitches along the knit or crochet row. This works best for yarns up to medium weight.
A felted joining only works with natural animal fibers that can be felted, such as wool, alpaca and llama. Untwist about 3 inches of the end of the old yarn and the beginning end of the new yarn. The strands will look like fluffy, frayed edges. Overlap the frayed ends of the yarns in your hand, with the old yarn extending to the left and the new yarn extending to the right (so the yarn is in a straight line). Now, moisten the overlapped ends with warm water. In some circles this is also known as a spit splice because, when water isn’t available, you can use your spit. Now, take the moistened, overlapped yarn ends, sandwiched between your palms, and rub your hands together (like you do when you’re cold) until the yarn is dry. The friction, along with the moisture, will felt the ends together, making an almost invisible and strong yarn joining. It may take three to five minutes of felting the yarn between your palms for the yarn to dry and felt together. Carefully trim any loose fibers from the joining.
More next week on some other methods of joining yarns on your project.