11 June 2011

Avoiding the Twisties

Some folks have asked various questions regarding working with various skeins of yarn and I thought I'd address some of them here in my blog.  This is a long post, but eventually I get to the subject of how to avoid twisting and tangling and knotting up your yarn when working with multiple skeins.  I promise.

First off, there are various ways that you can change color and continue to work with them, when using multiple colors in the same row.  Two of the more popular methods are entrelac and intarsia.  Without going into great detail about those methods let me sum them up here:  one method involves carrying the unused yarn along within the stitches til you need to use it again and the other method involves dropping the unused yarn til you need it in the next row.

The method I developed for me is a combination of the two.  I actually didn't realize that there was an intarsia and had never heard of entrelac til sometime last year.  Up til then, I just did what I thought made sense to me, when handling various colors within the same row.  There are other methods besides these so if you find one that works for you, there are no crochet police coming to force you to switch from your method to another, k?  I promise.

I don't usually like to carry the unused yarn over great distances cuz you can see it thru the stitches {well, I can, you can too if I point it out to you, which I'm likely to do cuz I'm like that girl that goes, "is my cowlick noticeable?" except with yarn and my other creative pursuits~~you will never hear me ask, "does my butt look big?" but you will hear me say, "dude, that yarn there is soooOOOooo obvious, isn't it?" and of course you have to say yes, cuz now that I've pointed it out, how can you not see it? hm?  yeah, that's what I thought too}.  I don't like to carry the unused yarn for only a few stitches, cuz I think the tension gets weird {not the mood, but the actual tension or tightness/looseness of the yarn and the stitches}.  I'm sure some folks are all like, dude, I never see the unused yarn when I carry it.  And that's great!  For them.  It most likely is cuz they have a really tight tension, whereas most of my stuff is meant to be drapey and have a looser tension so that you are more likely to actually use the afghan instead of letting it cover the back of the sofa while you grab a more cozy comfortable blanket to drape over your shoulders and lap and cuddle and snuggle into.

Wait, was that bitchy of me?  Yes, most likely it was.  So let me restate:  if it works for you, great!  I'm saying what my experiences are and my preferences and why {which links back to experiences, see how that all works together?  yeah, I thought so too!}.  Besides, you can quit reading any time and go check out some other really cool sites on crochet, techniques, stitches, yarn, etc.  I won't get upset.  I promise.

So the other method, the dropping the unused yarn and changing over to another color method, often yields incredibly ugly messes with a definite back or "wrong side" of the piece.  Many people find this totally acceptable and take care not to wear their stuff inside out or make their beds with the ugly side of the afghan showing.  Me, I like my work to look just as good on both sides.  It's my preference cuz I want all my pieces to look good, no matter which way you hold it, wear it, use it, etc.  To me, it's more practical not to worry if the ugly side is up or am I holding this right or displaying this side or what...that's just how anal I can be.

So I work with multiple skeins when necessary.  One skein for each section of color in each row is preferable.  It yields a nicer, more consistent, beautiful piece.

Now, as to the actual method I use, mostly it is a drop the unused yarn; but instead of twisting the yarns when changing colors and leaving an ugly mess, I pick up the unused yarn from the row before and carry it thru the few stitches in the new row to the new location where it will be used.  I'll explain and demonstrate this in some other future post.  I promise.

So that's one way I avoid the twisties.  However, I think that what most folks want to know about avoiding tangles is how to keep the multiple skeins from getting all wonky~weird when I flip the work over to start on the next row.  PRACTICE!

Actually, since I have a large table to spread my work on, I take advantage of that.  I very rarely hold large pieces in my lap and settle into a recliner and work that way.  If I did that, I certainly would not be working on eleven skeins at the same time.  It'd be a huge mess and very frustrating, which is soooOOOoooooooo not the reason I crochet.  In fact, I crochet to help me destress from those things I find frustrating.  As for messes?  I think we all know how I feel about them.  {shudder}  Don't we?  yeah, I thought so too.

So I have the piece with all eleven skeins connected to one row and am at the end of that row, ready to flip the piece and start working on the next row {scroll down to a few previous entries and view the pix of this latest project for a visual of what this looks like}.  How do I do this?  Okey dokey, first, I tend to flip by moving the left side of the project over the right and moving the right under and toward the left, simultaneously.  However you flip, do what works for you.  There is no right or wrong way, I promise.

Now, all the yarn is crossed over and seems like it could tangle and get messy, but it's not at the moment.  So what I do is I pick up the skein all the way to the left and move it over to the far right, that becomes the first skein.  Then I pick up the next skein all the way to the left and set it down to the left of the first skein {the one I just set down to the right side of the work}.  That skein becomes the second skein from the right.  Then I pick up what has become the last skein on the left and move it over to the right, setting it down to the left of what is now the second skein from the right.  That skein I just moved is now the third skein from the right.  I continue in that fashion til I've reached the last skein that had been the very first skein on the far right of the previous row.  Then I am ready to start to crochet the new row.

If this sounds confusing, line up some objects in front of you.  Say it's crayons.  Your old row is like this, viewing them left to right, just like you most likely read:
red orange yellow green blue purple

You are going to flip the work over to start on the new row now.  So you flip your work.  Now you need to line up the skeins with the current segments so that you don't get your yarn all twisted and tangled.  So you move the red skein on the left all the way to the right.  Now your row of yarn skeins look like this:
orange yellow green blue purple red

Next you move the last on the left, orange, to the right and place it on the left of the first skein, red.  It looks like this:
yellow green blue purple orange red

Next you move what has become the last skein on the left, yellow, to the right and place it to the left of what has become the second skein from the right.  So now it looks like this:
green blue purple yellow orange red

Now you continue that until you end up with what started off as the very first skein on the far right of the previous row, purple {see the first strip which had been your old row}, being your left most skein for your new row.  It will look like this:
purple blue green yellow orange red

Hopefully this makes sense to you!  Reread and follow along with the last few paragraphs and give it a try as you do it.  Take it step by step and it should feel more comfortable.  If not, lemme know, k?  I'll clarify.  I promise!!

1 comment:

  1. Great explanation. Wish I had known this before. I have a project that I gave up on, because, don't tell anyone, I was changing colors to make a pattern, and was CUTTING each yarn color!@#@@@
    Oh well, live and learn.


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