I have a number of things I'd like to share with you, of such diverse subject matter that you will not notice that I haven't yet finished the crocheted steek stuff I promised. I think you are beginning to understand that I regularly set goals that are not met. But I keep promising and moving the end posts, and, well, "eventually" is my favorite word.
Yesterday we completed my absolute favorite kind of household improvement project (being something that we pay someone who is skilled, professional, and nice to do for us in a timely manner without me having to lift a hand): A fence across the driveway! I envision a flowering vine flowing across the top next spring...
But I've been happily lifting my hands to spin lately! See the lovely painted Targhee roving (Rimrock, by Mountain Colors)--this spins like a dream, and I will admit that I'm thinking of purchasing a lot more of this fiber.
In other spinning news, I finished one hank of the Rambouillet lamb roving that I purchased at the Gig Harbor retreat last February. This is the springiest fiber I've ever spun--it was really enjoyable to work with, but I had to adjust my way of spinning quite a bit (I'm used to spinning top from the fold) so I feel quite proud of myself! This hank is approximately 430 yards and 4 oz; the rest of the yarn is plied but not yet skeined. I'll probably never use this fiber again, though, because I cannot seem to pronounce Rambouillet without sounding like some Monty Python poser.
OK, I'm sure I haven't really diverted you from the steek issue, so let's talk about changing colors. I am a BIG fan of the spit-splice, or what I prefer to think of as the felted splice. (Has anyone noticed how much spitting goes on these days? Why can't people keep their bodily fluids to themselves? Am I, like, totally middle-aged here? I don't seem to remember that people spit all the time when I was growing up--it was considered pretty rude. But then again, so was chewing gum while talking. Yeah, middle-aged.)
Oh, are you still there? OK, here's what I do whenever I am knitting something out of Shetland yarn. Unless the color change is really sharp, say, going from light blue to burgundy, about 4 stitches before the "seam line" I break off the working yarn with about 4 inches left, I unply it back about 3 inches, and I break off one ply. I take the new yarn, unply it back about 3 inches, and break off one ply. I then overlap the old and new yarns, lick my palms, and roll the yarns together. This lightly felts the two pieces together into a ragg yarn that is virtually imperceptible in the garment. When you are changing colors at a steek, the overlapped area will pretty much be hidden in the steek anyway. (And as I once said to Ryan, "If you're looking that closely, you'd better be trying to stuff a $10 bill into my waistband." Ryan nearly fell on the floor laughing at the vision of someone clubbing in a Fair Isle sweater, and thus encouraged me to continue saying it whenever I get the opportunity. It is a psychological truth that people will continue to do what gets them a laugh, so be careful how you encourage me.) Now this splice is not meant to have the integrity of a knot--you aren't meant to tug at it to make sure it holds. It's just meant to join the pieces enough that you can knit several stitches with both plies involved. They'll stay put, don't worry. Just make sure you haven't joined them just before a 10-stitch carry, for example--you want the joined plies to be worked into stitches. Here's a picture of the armhole steek on the Curry Sweater where I've joined the colors using the felted splice (plus the cute stitch marker Nathania gave me):
You're still grossed out by the licking part? This will work just as well with tap water (I don't know where the idea that you have to use spit for the enzymes came in--anyone who's accidentally felted something while washing it knows that you don't need enzymes, for God's sake).
Actually, I use this to join in any wool yarn. To be honest, I use this method for ALL yarns, even synthetics--I just make the overlapping section much longer.
Have a great weekend, everyone. I promise I'll..., oh, you're not going to fall for that again, you say?