October 2005

Why the "wrong" side of the work should be as neat as the public side?

I always thought it was the beginner knitter/crocheter who would think, if the public side of the work is nice and neat that is good enough. After all, no one sees the inside of a garment to notice if the ends are woven or any knots are tied! Imagine my surprise to find out that even some advance knitters do not care about the inside of their work either.

This past summer I was judging the knitting section of Sonoma county fair in California. I saw several garments that at first glance I would think "Aha! I found my best of the show item". However, closer inspection would show that the knitter had not paid attention to details, especially on the "wrong" side of her/his work. That kind of work not only loses points in a judging, it is not a good practice for any garment.

Problems that I noticed most, were loose ends hanging from the inside where a new ball of yarn was introduced, or a knot was carelessly tied. You might ask why these are so important if I am not submitting my garment to a fair to be judged; I just wear it myself or give it as a gift and nobody cares! You might be right for a while, but at some point, you will need to wash your garment. With every wash the loose ends get looser and might cause the piece to unravel and the whole garment fall apart. The other problem is that loose ends might catch to fingers or jewelry and be pulled so tight that would ruin the public side.

To solve this problem, leave at least a 5" tail and weave it in while knitting/crochecting, or afterwards. For slippery yarns a bit of glue such as fray check helps to secure the ends. Keep in mind that you might need to wash the finished garment to get rid of stiffness at the point the glue was used. Another technique that totally eliminates loose ends is Split Splice. This technique can only be used for 100% wool yarns. It is discussed in detail in "K154 - Triangular lace shawl" and "K176 - Touch of color" classes.

The problem with a knot is that it will create a bump no matter how hard you try to eliminate it. After a couple of washes it will show up on the public side and spoil the look. Begin using a new ball of yarn at the seam and leave the small amount of yarn leftover for joining the seam.

A little bit of attention to detail goes a long way. Remember both the inside and outside of a garment create the look.

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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