No End In Sight

I believe I have previously documented my dislike of weaving in ends on this here blog. If I haven’t, let me be clear now: I dislike it. I have yet to find an approach that makes me feel better about the whole thing. (Not approach as in the actual way I weave them in — I have lots of those that I like just fine — but approach as in a way of making weaving in ends feel like a part of my knitting routine and not just this horrid chore that keeps me from being able to WEAR THE THING NOW, DAMNIT.) In socks it’s not so bad because you don’t really have to do a great job to get the ends secure enough that they’ll stay put. In a lace shawl it’s just the worst. In a multi-yarn project, it’s like a whole different realm.

Except. Well. I found a work-around. It’s a very specific work-around and isn’t something you can employ in too many projects. Pretty much just this one project, actually. But let me tell you: I worked on something (on and mostly off) for almost 2.5 years, I used 243 grams of fingering weight SCRAPS (I honestly don’t even know how many separate yarns are represented), I covered somewhere north of 800 square inches of this world with yarn, and, people? I wove in ZERO ends.

It started like this.

 

It progressed to this.

 

 

Like many things, it got set aside for a year or two and then was a mystery I could not solve when I finally picked it back up again. I knew I had been using linen stitch, I knew linen stitch was basically k1/sl1 wyif, etc., but I also knew looking at this when I finally picked it back up that I had not really been paying any kind of attention when I was knitting this. There were entire rows that were just stockinette, and I had started off with the yarn-in-fronts staggered, and then at some point forgotten to alternate so they were in vertical columns instead, and…it was a mess. I could also tell that, since I was just using up all my ends that were too small for the mitered square blanket, whether they were a few inches or a few feet long, I was going to end up occasionally with longer stretches of solid colors, like that yellow you see on the needles in the second picture. I did not want that. I wanted this scarf to be a complete mess of single stitches of different colors playing off each other and never entirely clumping up by themselves. I was going for a “somebody spilled a lot of marbles in here” kind of look.

So I started again and got this.

 

“Somebody spilled a lot of marbles in here, and then they rolled themselves into pleasingly dappled stripes.”

 

And it was much better, so I kept going.

 

 

 

And going.

 

 

 

And it kept being everything I wanted.

 

Until I just didn’t want to anymore.

 

This was a length check I did when I was getting tired of knitting and wanted to see how close the bottom edge (minus fringe) was to hip length when the scarf was wrapped twice. It was not very close. This picture helped me adjust my expectations of how long the scarf would be, is what I’m saying.

 

So, I stopped.

 

And it was good.

 

Pattern: See below. Inspired by & a mishmash of a few different things.

Yarn: Fingering weight scraps/leftovers, equivalent to about 2.5 skeins’ worth of sock yarn (final weight is 243 g, of which I think a little over 20 is fringe), tied together using this technique and wound into 2 separate center-pull balls (center-pull so I could keep adding more yarn as I came across it without having to start all new balls).

A note about knots: Normally I avoid knots in my yarn because they always want to show on the right side and in something that will be very close to my skin they’re likely to just be a constant irritation. The irritation factor was minimal with this project, but the potential for never weaving in the ends was high, so I went with knots. They do show on the right side, but only really if you’re looking for them, and they’re easy enough to pull to the back with a crochet hook. We’ll see how well they stay tied after this gets a whole winter’s worth of wear (it was in the 90s the day I finished, so the 5 minutes of wearing it got for the photos is really all the wearing it has had so far), but as long as the whole thing doesn’t unravel I am more than content with the knots.

Needles: US 7/4.5 mm bamboo circular

Gauge: Roughly 7.5 stitches and 10 rows in linen stitch unblocked

A note about needles & gauge: With linen stitch, you want to use a much bigger needle than you normally would for the weight of yarn you’re using. I am kind of a loose knitter and I normally knit socks at about 8 sts/in on US 0/2 mm needles. With a US 7/4.5 mm I get very nearly the same gauge in fingering weight with linen stitch. Also this is the biggest thing I’ve ever done with linen stitch and I’m really surprised at how much horizontal stretch it has. I kind of can’t stop picturing it as a sock cuff.

Started: 2/23/15

Finished: 6/30/17

If you want one of your own:

-CO an even number of stitches (I used 60 sts for a width of about 8″) long-tail using one strand from each ball of yarn and leaving ends at least as long as you want the fringe (they will be worked into the fringe later — NO ENDS TO WEAVE IN!).

-Establish linen stitch pattern:

(Always slip as if to purl.)

Row 1: *p1, sl1 wyib* — repeat to end
Row 2: *k1, sl1 wyif* — repeat to end

-Alternating balls every other row, work in linen stitch to desired length (mine ended up about 92″ without fringe). End after Row 1.

-Work a  knitted bind-off on the knit side.

-Add fringe:

Cut lengths of yarn at least at least twice as long as you want the fringe (I measured against my arm, because it was the closest thing I had, which gave me lengths about 23” and then trimmed to 8″).

Hold 3 together and fold in half, lining up the ends of the shortest piece.

 

 

Insert a crochet hook from purl side to knit side & pull the 3 strands through by their middle, then pull the ends through this loop (basically a chain stitch, but pulling the ends all the way through).

 

 

-Add fringe in every other stitch at both ends. (I did a full 3-piece bit in the cast-on and bind-off stitches and found that the extra 2 strands didn’t affect the bulk noticeably.)

 

-Trim with a rotary cutter.

 

Here’s a trick I wish I could use for my bangs, let me tell you.

 

-Revel in the lack of ends to weave.

 

-Enjoy your scarf. Even if it’s 90 degrees out.

 

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