Monday, January 08, 2007

I need your knitterly wisdom

1. Zap!


I've been winding up a storm on my new ball winder -- an electrical storm, that is. As I wind my wool, I can hear crackles of electricity, and the end result is a lovely little ball of static! I feel like I'm at a science fair. I put my hands on the wound ball of wool and I feel like my hair is about to start lifting off my head. Does this happen to you? Do you have any tricks to avoid charging every ball of wool you wind?

2. Shrinkage


As I near completion of the back piece of Bill's vest, I'm wondering about the proper order of washing and seaming. I'm knitting with KnitPicks Swish, and according to my swatch, I expect about 20 percent shrinkage in length. (Specifically, the front and back pieces should shrink from 27 inches in length to about 22 inches.) Because it will be such a difference, should I wash and dry the pieces prior to seaming? (I know I need to wash and dry the body before adding the neckband and armbands.) Also, should I seam with the Swish or should I use a washable black sock yarn?

I thank you in advance and bow before your great wisdom.

18 comments:

DJB said...

Avoid charging your wool balls by lightly touching Mooky or Bill periodically...

Daphne said...

Huh. I don't have a good static solution, other than a dab of water maybe? On your hands, on the yarn, or maybe some conditioner on your hands. I suspect the dry winter weather is exacerbating the problem.

As for the sweater, I'd, um... wash first, wash some of the yarn at the same time (looped up in a garment bag or by hand) and then seam, using the same (washed) yarn.

Ruby Banshee said...

Really? Add the neck and armbands AFTER? I know NOTHING about washing and putting things together. I would have clearly f'd this up.

LaurieM said...

I wish I had some wisdom, but I've got is an opinion. And eeevveryone's got one of _those_.

Cari said...

I would wash the pieces with a skein of yarn for seaming and neckband etc, then seam and wash again. That's what I did for the SCJ and I was glad I took the time to do so.

efa said...

I use a bit of handcream but I am afraid it won´t help too much .. there will always be a bit of friction between the yarn, hand and the "metal eye". It happens to me all the time too :)

Jenn said...

I've got no solution for the static, but I get it too. It's a bit freaky.

Chris said...

I hold on to the yarn lightly between the swift and the ball winder - that lets me control the tension better and seems to dissipate some of the static.

Stacey said...

Hmm - no advice on the sweater - but I do what chris does for winding - have my hand on the yarn lightly to "ground" it...

loriz said...

dead of winter causing some static cling? i betcha you need lots of lip balm too! good luck figuring that one out!

as for the vest, when i was finishing up the denim sweaters, which also shrunk about 20%, the instructions were to wash the pieces separately first, then seam. i knit up a swatch that i also threw in the wash, i later unraveled and used the yarn for seaming. i look forward to seeing bill modeling his vest!

Gwen said...

I know lots of people do it, but I really don't see the logic to washing the pieces before seaming. I can see that there might be an issue if you washed the pieces and then seamed them with unwashed yarn, but using a Rowan Denim cardigan that I made a few years ago as an exemplar, I can say that even with yarn that shrinks dramatically, seaming and finishing before washing has always worked just great for me.

Plus, well, it's less work :)

Oh, also, I'd definitely seam with the same yarn. The only reason I can think of not to seam with the yarn you've been knitting with is if that yarn is very weak and is prone to falling apart... or, I guess, if you're out of it.

Lyssa said...

i don't know about the static. i have fun with it sometimes. :)
and grab the whole cake after winding to get rid of it from the actual yarn.

sweater: tough call... depends on how much time you want to spend on it.
you *could* wash/block to correct dimensions, wait for drying and seam with same (washed) yarn...
or, you could just seam as is with same yarn and wash/block as one once finished.

i haven't seen a huge difference between these two activities - but at the same time, i haven't worked with a yarn that changes a lot on blocking, either....

Mia said...

I do not have that problem with my yarn getting charged. But I would suggest a humidifier for your house or for the room you work in. That seems to take care of the problem for me with static electricity.

AS to the sweater, I would wash some of the yarn up with the pieces so that yarn is pre-shrunk. I would probably use another yarn to seam with though.

Lolly said...

Hey Alison!
About the static: I think a humidifier might help, but also, running a dryer sheet (like Downy or whatever) over your yarn lightly to neutralize it before balling it (or after it is in ball shape?). I have not tried it, but in theory, it should work, it does in the clothes dryer... :)

Anonymous said...

boil a pot of water, then hold the the hank over the steam for a few seconds. also, you could give the yarn a squirt of static guard, but it has a weird fragrance.

Deb said...

A really light mist of water over it, just a spritz froma spray bottle will get rid of the static. Let it dry off for a while and it should be fine.
If you want to avoid the problem, try washing the skein in Eucalan or another woolwash that leaves lanolin or another conditioner in it before winding.

kaoticorchid said...

About the yarn static issue-I was having problems with that myself at first, too. My solution is also listed above-I run the yarn through my thumb and index finger lightly as I am winding it onto the ball winder. Presto! All of a sudden the problem was gone. Happy ball-winding!

LizW said...

Hmm. I have the same ball winder as you, and I've never noticed static. I have a habit of placing my hand just under the line of yarn between the swift and winder, so it runs lightly over my hand as it winds. No reason, it's just a habit. But my feet are on the floor while I'm doing this, so maybe the static gets discharged that way?