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joining

  • How to Do a Felted Join on Yarn Ends

    Let's face it: weaving in ends is not nearly as fun as crocheting or knitting. My favorite way to avoid weaving in ends is the felted join. Also affectionately dubbed the spit splice, this method is the perfect way to add join a new skein to your work. Keep in mind that this will only work on feltable fibers like non-superwash wool, alpaca, mohair, and so on. Here are step-by-step instructions on this fast and easy technique. I used 2 different colors so that you can better see the technique, but this works brilliantly for attaching the same color yarn practically invisibly.
    Felted Join Tutorial
    Step 1: Carefully untwist your yarn for a few inches and separate the half of the plies. This Fishermen's Wool has 4 total plies, so I've divided my yarn into 2 sets of 2 plies each. 2-ply yarn would be separated into 2 sets of 1 ply each, 6-ply yarn would be 2 sets of 3 plies each, and so on.
    Step 2: Take one set of your plies. A few inches down (4-5 inches, just to be safe), break these plies. Now you'll have a set of longer plies and a set of shorter plies.
    Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 on the yarn you'll be joining.
    Step 4: Lay the long sets of plies next to each other. This will be the transition section of your yarn. Because each long piece of yarn only has half the plies, you'll end up with roughly the correct thickness in your join.
    Step 5: Get your yarn wet. You can dip it in water, mist with some water, add some saliva -- just get it wet. Remember, felting simply requires heat, humidity, and agitation.
    Step 6: Let's felt! Rub the yarns together in your hands briskly. Continue for a few minutes until the fibers have locked together. You may need to add some more water if your yarn isn't wet enough.
    Step 7: Give both sides of the yarn a gentle tug. If they're firmly locked, congratulations! You've made a felted join! If not, just continue the felting process until the yarn is secure.

    Now you'll have an easy and secure join in your yarn, so you can continue crafting with having to weave in ends.

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  • Half Medallion Bag Crochet-Along: Adding Handles, Seaming, and Finishing the Bag

    How exciting to be nearing the finish on this project! I'm thrilled with the finished bags I've seen so far, and very happy people are succeeding with this project.

    Today I'd like to discuss making the flap for the handle, attaching the handle to the bag, and then joining the front and back with a slip stitch seam. The flap is simply a piece of fabric we make along the top edge of both the front and back of the bag. It will fold over the handle and then be attached to the inside of the bag near the top edge. For the bag to hang correctly from the handle, the flap must start out the same width as the top edge of the bag. It needs to be long enough to fold over the handle and reconnect with the top of the bag again.

    [Editor's note: click here to see two wooden purse handle options--perfect for this bag--that are available on LionBrand.com.]

    First, join yarn to the right top edge of either the front or back piece, not at the very outside edge, but one row in, before the all-bobble row (row 17), in other words, at the beginning of row 16. Work evenly spaced single crochet stitches along the top of the bag (32 stitches in all), ending at the end of row 16 on the left side. In my original, the handle is very close to the same size as the top edge of the bag, so I decreased only once, on row 3, to make it a bit smaller. Rows 4 - 6 are the part of the flap that will fold over the handle and are worked even. In the pattern, the decreased stitches are added back again on row 7. Here's a look at my finished flap:

    Flap

    Several people in the CAL group on Ravelry have used handles that are not as wide as mine. If you want to go that route, you can still work the flap as in the original. When you fold the flap over the handle, the fabric will gather a little, which is perfectly OK. Or, you can make the flap a bit smaller by decreasing at each edge of the handle on rows 2 and 4, working two stitches together at the beginning and end of each row, just as is done on row 3. Work row 5 even, then make sure you add on the stitches again by making an increase on each end on rows 6, 7 and 8, ending with 32 sc on row 8.

    Once you've completed the flap, fold it around the bottom of the handle, then pin it on the insider to the bottom of the first row of the flap. With a tapestry needle and yarn, sew the flap down to the inside of the bag. Then do the same exact procedure for the second handle on the bag's second side. It's a lot easier to do this before connecting the two sides of the bag--trust me!

    Seaming the bag

    Our last step is joining the front and back. It's done with a simple slip stitch seam, worked from the Right Side of the bag. I generally prefer to seam with the Right Side of the work facing, so I can tell exactly how my finished seam will look.

    What's important in making a nice-looking slip stitch seam is 1) matching stitches on the two pieces to be joined 2) controlling tension on the slip stitches. Hold the Front and Back together with their Right Sides facing out. Using safety pins, pin them together at a few points - each end, the center, and a couple more. To begin your slip stitch seam, leaving a tail of about 6" (which will be used to secure the seam), draw the yarn through the first stitch on the front AND back pieces.

    Slip stitch

    Now insert the hook into the 2nd stitch on both pieces, yarn over, and draw a loop through. Depending on how tightly you pull the tension of the yarn as you draw it through, the slip stitch will be larger or smaller. You want it to be just slightly tighter than the tops of the stitches you are working into, but just a bit. If you make the slip stitches too tight, it will distort the edges of the bag. Use your eye as a guide. Work your way all around the bag in this manner, and after the final stitch, end off leaving another 6" tail. You'll see that the seam is visible and rather attractive, in my opinion.

    Finished seam

    The beginning and end of this seam will get a certain amount of wear and tear, every time you open and close the bag. For this reason, it's wise to make the ends very secure and tight. Place one tail on a tapestry needle, and work a short little seam along the top edge connecting the bobble on the front to the bobble on the back. You can make the stitches here tight and close together, as they should disappear into the fabric. Reinforce the last stitch by working into the same place 3 or 4 times, then weave in the end securely. Repeat on the opposite tail and voila! You're done!!

    I hope you enjoyed making this bag, and that you'll get even more pleasure from using it!

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  • Tips for Joining a New Ball of Yarn to Your Work

    Unless you are making a one-ball scarf or hat, there is going to come a point in your knitting (probably several, actually) when you will need to join a new ball of yarn. The absolute best way to do this is to join the new ball at the edge, as this avoids messy or gapped stitches. When you do this, you simply stop working with the old yarn at the end of one row and begin working with the new yarn as you begin working the next row.

    However, there are sometimes that this just isn't possible. For instance, if you’re working in the round you obviously have no edge to join at. You also might be working on a project where you’re really concerned about running short of yarn and you want to use every inch possible. There are a couple of options for those times when you can't join at an edge:

    The best thing to do, unless you are working with a very thick yarn, is work a couple of stitches while holding the old yarn and the new yarn together. Make sure to work these double-stranded stitches as single stitches on the next row--the double stranding won't show in the finished project. This particular method gives a nice stable join with no loosening of the stitches or possible gapping between them.

    If you’re working with a particularly thick yarn (category 5 or higher), you’ll need to join as usual, meaning you’ll just stop working with the old yarn and start working with the new yarn, leaving a tail of 4-6” of each. You’ll probably need to snug up these stitches as you work the first couple of rows past the join, and may even want to temporarily tie a half hitch just to stabilize the area. Then when you're weaving in your ends, weave them across the join. In other words, weave the tail from the left over to the right and the tail from the right over to the left. This should keep that gap closed and give it the appearance of a normal stitch.

    Editor's note: When joining yarn, you also have several options to splice your old yarn's end and new yarn's end together before continuing to knit or crochet. Use Google (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to search for "Russian join," or for feltable yarns, search "felted join". You'll be able to find many written, illustrated, and video tutorials on these two popular yarn-splicing methods.

    Are there other skills that you need tips on? Let us know in the comments!

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