Here’s how to make some of the projects featured in this blog, and instructions for various techniques too
This produces a strong join between two yarns and – big advantage – a sharp colour change. That makes it a great way of working stripes when knitting in the round or making something like a cardigan with integral bands down the opening edges where a knot would show. This is how you do it.
If knitting in one colour, you can just graft in the new ball in the middle of a row. If you are knitting stripes, then knit to where the colour change needs to be and mark the yarn at that point (a paperclip or a bit of sticky tape does the job – see photo).
Undo a few stitches to give yourself 6″ or so before the marked spot to play with.
Now cut the old yarn if you need to, about 6″ beyond the marked place. Thread the end through a darning needle and take the point of the needle into the yarn just before the marker, and along the length of the yarn, within it, for a few inches.
Pull the needle through so that the yarn goes back through itself leaving a small loop at the place where the marker is.
Remove the needle from the yarn.
Pull gently on the free end to tighten the loop, but don’t make the loop disappear completely. Then hold the loop and run your finger and thumb down the yarn to smooth it. Just leave the free end sticking out for now.
Then do exactly the same with the new yarn, but take the needle through the loop in the old yarn before running it back into the new yarn.
You will now have the two yarns joined by loops. Make the loops as small as possible by pulling gently on the free ends (after removing the paperclip, if you used one). The joint should be at the precise place where you wanted it. If you give it a tug you will see that it is very strong and won’t slip. (If it should slip, try re-threading the free ends and running them back down the middle of the yarn away from the join for another few inches.)
Now, knit up to the graft….
…and beyond it.
Leave the free ends (tails) sticking out on the wrong side of the work as you come to them. When you have knitted a few more rows, just cut them off or darn them in.
This cast-on is practical as well as pretty because the welt won’t come undone if it gets caught on something and the yarn breaks, each stitch is literally knotted onto the needle. And it uses three ends of yarn for added strength. It makes for quite a feminine-looking welt, but it is the traditional cast-on as used in Guernsey and Jersey for fishermen’s sweaters.
Tutorial to follow.