Jul 14, 2013

D124: Tip of the day - Hang your ball low!

Does your ball hang low? Well, I should, in some way or another.

While working on this garment, knitting left-handed in the Continental style I usually use with circular needles, I had patches of loose stitches.  Sometimes, this was due to dropping the tension when doing purl stitches - I'm still developing my reliability with tension when switching between stitch styles.

However, during the arms holes and neck bands I realised how this was happening.  (I knit faster than I think, it would seem...)

Here's a picture of how the tension is meant to be held when knitting Continental:
The wrapping and hold or traditional Continental knitting

This yarn is lovely and smooth.  in these winter months my fingers are slimmer, cold and smooth and the yarn just slips through like ribbon. Here's how I held it for this project:
The way I wrapped and held my yarn for this project.

And here's how those loose patches turned up:
The ravelled loop already in my hand, and what the little blighter looks like when drawn out.

As the garment is turned the yarn becomes ravelled*, sometimes into it's twist and sometimes against.  Either way, a little loop sometimes evolves and travels towards the work as I knit.  Soon, it's inside my fingers and I haven't even noticed it's there until it's too late, slackening my work - even just one or two   stitches, and developing a loose bunch of stitches.

In my hurry with this project, I haven't taken the diligence to go back, unstitching suspect bunches and reknitting them with better tension.  I also let my work space be very crowded, with bags, needles and my book, because I was keeping it from little hands.  This meant the yarn got wrapped up in things sometimes - another tension trap!

The solution is to anchor the ball of yarn somehow, and some distance and gravity would suffice.  So whether it's next to your feet or in a container, hang your ball low so that the yarn doesn't loop on itself before it gets to the thing that should control the yarn: your tension hand!

*yup, I choose to use that word this way

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