Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Russians and other problems

Well, I have 20" done on the first wingtip for the Tree of Life Shawl (out of the 30" needed for each side). I have discovered that one ball of yarn will do 8" of wingtip, which means that I need 9 or 10 balls to finish both wingtips and the leading and trailing edges (to push the metaphor a little further) of the shawl. I have, in fact, 3 balls in stock, and the wonderful Jody of Hilton's Fiber Shop is holding the other 4 balls from the same bag for me - which means that I need to cough up another $30 for this shawl now, and more later. And Jody is going to put a rush order in for those last 2 or 3 balls, and says brightly that "maybe we'll get lucky and they'll be the same dye lot!" I kinda doubt it, but my story (and I'm sticking to it) is that the last 2 or 3 balls will be used for those top & bottom edges, and will only be adjacent to a little section of each wingtip before traveling across the variegated sections, so maybe a slight difference won't show? Please?

Also, I tried again to do this "Russian join" thing that several people have raved about. As I understand it, you fray the two ends a bit, twist them back together, spit on them, and then roll them between your hands until they magically felt together. I tried this the first time on the variegated section, and all I accomplished was to make the ends in question very dingy. So first lesson: read the label and understand that a Russian join is not going to work on superwash. Fast forward to the weekend, and I'm working on an overly limited amount of the yellow yarn and trying to avoid knots and save yarn. I try again, and although I don't read Italian I'm pretty sure that the little hand-in-the-box picture means "hand-wash only." This time I wash my hands carefully, and moisten the frayed ends of the yarn with tap water. I rub again, and something that might have been a felting process happened - so I proceeded hopefully with the knitting. But when that section dried, I noticed that it was distinctly dingy and not even convincingly felted!! (Sorry about the poor quality of the photo. But see that grey-looking stitch right at the base of that leaf in the center? I hate it. My eyes are drawn to it every time I look at the piece.)

I have some wool wash that I'd planned to use on the whole shawl, once assembled, and I'm hoping it will take the grey out. Otherwise, I am strongly considering snipping that length and re-threading the stitches with a length of replacement yarn, which is guaranteed to give me fits, may screw up the whole thing worse and definitely will result in two knots instead of the one I was trying to avoid!

Does anyone have any advice for me? I'm starting to think I should have used vodka instead of tap water.

1 comment:

BeadKnitter said...

Technically, it is not the Russian Join, it's the Splicing Join. It may be that this yarn just isn't going to look nice with splicing the ends together.

You might want to try the actual Russian Join. I prefer it when the other method won't work. Here's a link for a tutorial:


Take care,