Posted by: PeggyGaffney | June 12, 2008

Using bobbins in knitting

When you knit an intarsia pattern, you need bobbins. These are object that hold the separate colors of yarn as you work across the row. Now bobbins can be anything that will hold yarn from a piece of cardboard,Clover knitting bobbins to a clip clothespin, to the flat plastic yarn holders that look like the plastic pieces that hold your bread loaf closed. However, the ones that I like best are called EZEX bobs Bobs. These are circular in shape and look somewhat like a flying saucer, but they do a great job and tend to tangle less because of the fact that they don’t have edges to catch. The other reason I use them is that the large ones hold a lot of yarn so that if I load them with the main color, there are fewer ends to weave in at the end. They come in three sizes and they work by having you wind the yarn on, spool style, then the plastic cover clamps down hold the yarn firmly, though allowing you to pull out the amount you need.

Being able to control the yarn you have hanging from your needle when working an intarsia project can make the difference between a day where you feel you are a yarn painter creating a work of art, and a frustrated knitter who is faced with a mess that looks as though your cat went psycho.

The way to avoid holes in your work when changing colors is to be consistent, always picking up your new yarn from behind the yarn you were working. However, if you do end up with a few holes from color changes (and we’ve all done it) just stitch them together on the back of the work when you are weaving in the ends.

Now, as to weaving in the ends there are two schools of thought. The more complex the design, the more ends of yarn will need to hide on the back side of the work. Some knitters just want to work up the design and then tackle the job of making it neat. I tend to be of the school of thought that it is better to take a break when your ends start building up and work them in as you go. For one thing, it will be a different motion for your hands and that is good It is easier to keep the back of the work neat to keep bobbins from catching on loose ends of yarn. However, be sure you do weave in your ends. The back of the work should look almost as good as the front.

Happy Knitting!

Peggy Gaffney,
Author of The Crafty Dogs Knit series
Published by Kanine Knits

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