I think Sunday is going to become knitting blog day. Twice in one day? Scandalous! In any case I just started casting on for the Meret that I've been ogling for awhile and didn't realize I had some yarn that should be great for it (I'll photograph once it's done). Anyway, I realized I've been using a couple tips a lot recently, and thought I'd let you know about them in case you hadn't heard.
1. The "spit-splice" method. If you've never heard of this, you must. It works with (supposedly) only 100% wool yarns, though I'd say anything with a significant wool content, maybe with the exception of superwash and synthetics would work. Anyway, it's a method for joining to yarn ends seamlessly (i.e. no knot). Take the two yarn ends you want to join and fray the ends. Then, (only for those truly dedicated to yarn arts, as you will be tasting wool, and get little fibers in your mouth) lightly suck on the frayed ends to get them nice and spitty. Then, join the two frayed ends by laying them overlapping on each other. Lay them on your jeans or pants or whatever and roll the newly joined yarn back and forth by rubbing the yarn vigorously to create friction and take advantage of wool's natural tendancy to felt. Voila! One uninterrupted strand of yarn. I didn't believe it until I tried it so...try it.
2. The how-much-yarn-do-I-need trick. I used this for my cowl, because the pattern called for "less than 150 yards" and well, I had 82 to work with which, shall we say is significantly less than 150 yds. So, I had to figure out, as my yarn was winding down, how many rows I could do without getting stuck in the middle with no yarn left. Solution, if knitting in the round, wrap your yarn around the length of the knitting 4x. If straight, just lay it across the needles. Again, four times is about the magic number. So, for me, I was able to wrap my yarn around my cowl about 20 times, so I knew I could do about 5 more rows (using the 4 times the length equals 1 row theory). Consequently, I knit four more rows and bound off on the fifth. The result? About 2 1/2 feet of extra yarn--not bad I'd say.
3. Safety pins instead of straight pins for blocking. Seriously, if you don't have some sort of blocking surface (and I don't) I don't get how people get anything done with straight pins. Just make sure it doesn't pull the fabric in weird ways making the fabric pointy where the pins were...but you have to think about that with straight pins anyway.
Well that's that for now. Anything you've learned?