Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Countdown to Knitmas: Day 14!

Today is my little brother's birthday and in honor of his being a boy, I want to teach you a skill that boys (and plenty of girls) ought to be very good at - The Spit Splice; I talk about my brother like he is a 6 year old still, but he really a 26 year old today.
The Spit Splice is one of my most treasured fiber tools. It is a method for joining two ends of the same color without any tails remaining. It is applicable to all non superwash yarns that are 70% or more animal fiber (notice, basically the same rules as for what will and won't felt).
The Steps:
1. Stop knitting with your old ball of yarn when you have about 6" (leaving yourself enough room to maneuver).

2. Bringing the new ball of yarn into the picture, fray open both the old end and the new end. Open up these ends anywhere from an 1.5" to 2" down the line, really separating the plies down to the individual fiber (within reason though, this technique is meant to be fast).

3. Lay the two ends on top of each other, overlapping the splayed fibers.

4. Now comes the SPIT. You don't have to use real spit if you can't bring yourself to do so. You can dip one end into water before you lay it across the other end; you can suck on the two ends once they are overlapping; and for the most even dampening, you can keep a tiny travel spray bottle in your knitting bag and give the overlapped ends a light spritz. The most important thing is that you don't need to drench the ends.

5. Now, with the ends spit upon, place them, still overlapped, into the palm of your hand hand run them back and forth between both palms, creating lots of heat and friction. You are rolling them like you would roll clay to make a long wiggling snake. With the elements of dampness, heat, and friction, you may have put together that you are doing a mini felting project to join.

This joining method is plenty strong. Yes, if you yank on it hard to test its strength, then it will break, but so would your yarn anyway. This direct yanking is not the wear and tear that a single stitch would receive. ;) You do not have to wait for it to dry to carry on.
Hope you love it as much as I do!

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