The Ditch: A Cautionary Tale, with Free Advice
March 7, 2013
This one is going to be REAL QUICK, because it was not the most joyous knitting ever, but it was necessary.
Back when I started this Donegal pullover, back in 2008, back in the Bush Administration, I was so carefree. I would get to the end of a round, figure out what yarns needed to end and begin, and by golly just drop one and add in another. It’s definitely the fastest way to go, but in the long term, you pay a bitter, sour price:
The Ditch of Poor Planning: a raggedy line, with holes and warbly bits and whatnot on the front, a wilderness of ends on the back. Ends don’t really bother me (everything ends, right?), but the bad look of the front has been a sore point for lo these many years.
By the time I got to the sleeves, I’d decided that spit-splicing was the ticket–it’s a fiddly minute every time you swap out a yarn, but it gives such a smooth transition and lack of ends that it is clearly the better way to go. As I limped my way through the sleeves, at least I had the satisfaction that done meant Done. And they looked OK. (The dark line is the stitch that marks the end of a round. There are splices all around that line, but the pattern is so nutty that you can’t see where the various colors swap out.)
Back to The Ditch. I wove in the ends, paying attention to where the holes and warbly bits were, crossing an end over a hole before weaving it in on the far side of the hole to mimic what happens when you strand a yarn. I did a fair amount of futzing and generally faking it up as best I could.
I left a quarter-inch tail on each woven end just because I absolutely did not want any of this to unravel. I don’t think this is necessary, but it’s like sticking one foot out of the covers to keep claustrophobia at bay. Does it help? Probably not. But I’m still going to do it.
The finished seam came out fine.
I, on the other hand, am still shuddering.
For those of you thinking, Oh, I’m never doing any of THAT, I a) don’t really blame you and b) encourage you to try spit-splicing when you’re doing any sort of knitting involving a wooly yarn. It absolutely does not work with non-wool yarns, or wools blended with too much of another non-wooly fiber. But it makes for an elegant lack of ends, and it will save a little yarn if you’re working a blanket or have a worry that you don’t have enough yarn.
And with this, I’m gonna lay down my heavy load, down by the riverside.
PS Speaking of which, Hubbo provides the joy of the day: Sister Rosetta Tharpe rockin’ it with “Down By the Riverside.” This will turn your frown upside down, I promise.