Friday, September 17, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Spit Test?

Welcome to another edition of Fiber Arts Friday.  Each week Fiber Artist from around the world link in their blogs here to share with...the world, what they have learned or experienced while working on their fiber arts creations.  This week I want to talk about spit. No, not the spit test we use with Alpacas when we are behavior testing for breeding.  (That's a whole different topic.)  I want to share with you the term Spit-Splicing.

Look, my sweater has arms...sort of
Spit-Splicing is used when you are knitting with multiple yarns.  You can only use this technique when you are knitting with natural fibers like Wool and Alpaca.  You can NOT use this technique with superwash because superwash isn't meant to felt.  Here are the steps used to Spit-Splice.

First, you start with two pieces of yarn.
 Next, you open up the ply on each yarn.  I am using my 2 ply handspun.

After you have overlapped the yarn, you need a little spit.

Yes, I really spit in my hand. 
Yes, I used way too much spit but I wanted you to see it. 
The reason is to wet the yarn with your spit.

You then "roll" the yarn in your hand so that it starts to felt.
The yarn has a memory and it will actually return to it's twisted form once you felted it but now the two yarns are bonded together.

Now you have a continuous strand of yarn for your project and the best ends to weave it.  Did you hear that, knitwithsnot?  No ends to weave in!  So, next time you have a knitting project that requires multiple yarns like mine and you are using wool or Alpaca, try this technique.  I don't know if this technique would work on Silk, Mohair or Bamboo.  I'll let you weigh in on that.  I can only speak for wool and Alpaca.

This sweater I've been knitting on (Knitting Pure and Simple Neck Down Pullover) this sweater using Cascade 220 yarn I purchased from YLYS (Your Local Yarn Shop, Battle Creek, MI) for a sweater class I'm taking with KellyJ.  The class ended last month but she has been great about helping me since I am the world's slowest knitter.  I am starting my third skein of yarn and I have used the Spit-Splice technique when switching from one skein to another.  Oh, the other yarn you see there is sock yarn.  We used that as scrap yarn for the holes which will eventually because sleeves.  KellyJ said sock yarn is good to use because it's smooth and won't get snagged on the project's yarn but always remember to use a color different from your project because you don't want to lose it.

This Sassy Alpaca hat is from my handspun.  Every yarn used was spun by me from Alpacas raised right here on my farm.  No, the colors aren't all natural.  Wouldn't it be great to have a purple Alpaca though?  I was supposed to knit it as a give-away but...I'm a selfish knitter so I will be keeping it for myself. I'm using a free pattern from Knitty called Buttonhead. Other than the cast on tail and the cast off tail (which hasn't happened yet) each color change was done using a spit-splice.
Look at the inside of my hat...clean lines with no need to weave in.
So...If you haven't heard of this term, I hope my explanation helped.  If you already know about this technique and I didn't explain it correctly, please feel free to correct my explanation.  Now share your adventures, mis-adventures, frustrations and successes in the world of Fiber Arts!
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! Adding you to my blog list right now:)

  2. Never heard of spit-splicing...and have never seen someone spit in their hand on a blog before. Here's to trailblazing in Blogland!

  3. Spit-splicing is awesome. I remember the first time I ever saw somebody do it and was stunned. She is a fantastic knitter so I knew that it must be a great thing to do.

  4. I love the hat! I don't want it now that I know it's full of spit!

  5. Thanks for that wonderful tip! And here I thought I was the slowest knitter in the world!


  6. I've done splicing like that when I break yarn too. I use a little soapy water instead of spit but hey, if you like spitting in your hand... go for it.

  7. How neat!! I have never heard of starting a new ball of yarn that way but it makes perfect sense. It sort of looks like twisting wires together for electronics, but better (with the spit and all :) ).


  8. I used the spit technique occasionally and thought it was great. But we had a customer at the LYS I worked for that had a whole color work, alpaca sweater fall apart the first time she washed it. Just a warning, make sure you use a lot of yarn in your splice and a lot of spit! I find kids are helpful there ;)

  9. I'm so glad I stopped in here... I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. Great explanation of the spit-splice Andrea! Only thing I would add is that if you're like some folks I know, ahem, you can also use a few drops of warm water to facilitate your splice. They do work wonderfully and I'm glad you reminded me of the technique. Perhaps I'll remember to use it on my next wool knitting project. Have a great Friday. See you next weekend!

  11. That was spit-tastic! Thanks for the awesome demo.

  12. Way late on my Fiber Arts Friday contribution - this work thing is really slowing me down :)

    I've actually never spit-spliced - I'm always worried I won't get it spliced well enough to hold. But, with a good felting wool like Cascade 220, maybe I should finally try it.

    Kelly J sounds like a goldmine of awesome knitting info - you're lucky to have such a great personal reference!

  13. How very helpful, if just a tiny bit gross. ;-)

  14. I didn't really understand that. I have a dirty mind and I think I got distracted. Lol!