Needle Felting for Repairs

One of my least favorite things in crochet or knitting is dealing with the loose ends once a project is finished. Needle felting can be a big help in securing those ends though, especially if your project is worked using a wool blend yarn.

Recently one of my friends had an issue with some mittens she had knit. When weaving in ends she had some extra strands on the outside of her fabric. We looked at the mittens trying to figure out how she could weave in the ends. They were going to be super short and there was a good chance they would pop loose.

Needle-felting to the rescue! I grabbed my size 40 felting needle, my “egg” felting surface, and a small steel crochet hook (not shown).

I cut the strand in the center, and had 2 short ends.

I then pulled the 2 loose ends to the wrong side of the fabric by inserting a small crochet hook in from the side.

I turned the mitten inside out and gently pulled on the ends to be sure I didn’t have any excess yarn on outside of mitten. I inserted my felting surface behind the fabric and snugged the fabric where I would be needling tight to the surface.

I then gently needled the ends close to where they came thru the fabric. I checked the outside (right-side) of the fabric regularly to make sure my work wasn’t visible. I wanted to secure the ends but not decrease the stretch of the fabric. Once I was sure the ends were well secured I trimmed off any excess yarn.

You can use this same method with any knit or crochet project. Especially if the project is worked in a wool or other animal fiber yarn. Needle felting can secure other types of fiber, but you may want to test it out before relying on it for your final project.

Needle felting can even be a great way to secure the cut end of longer tails that have been woven in. Especially helpful on items that get a lot of use like hats, mittens, scarves and blankets.

For longer tails, weave in like you usually do, but before cutting the yarn use your felting needle to secure the end. Then cut close to the needle felted spot to remove excess yarn.

One of my favorite tools is Clover’s Single Needle Felting Tool. It is much easier on my hand than just holding the plain needle. The ergonomic shaping also allows for more control of the needle while working.
If you can’t find this tool locally it is available online at Amazon.com. Click on the photo above to go straight to it.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

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The Continental Divide

This past Saturday I attempted to learn how to knit continental style. 

ContinentalDivide-1
The Necessary Yarn

Now the word “Continental” inspires romantic visions of sophistication and elegance in my mind.  This could possibly be due to the fact that I was raised in the wilds of Kansas.  Continental knitting it turns out has nothing to do with elegance, at least not in my hands.

Knitting is not really my talent.  I can sort of knit using the English style, where one “throws” the yarn.  I generally need to have an illustrated knitting book open for prompting each step.

After a bit I am zipping along with basic knit and purl stitches (which is about the time I get in trouble with unintended increases or decreases). I have even been known to make a square that has a close resemblance to a flat four-sided object with 90 degree corners (sometimes by a judicious application of force to reshape the wonky).

I’ve been crocheting for nearly 40 years,  so it has been a very long while since I was at the “just learning” stage.  I am discovering in my knitting adventures that I am at the very beginning, in fact at times I wonder if I am in some twilight region that precedes the beginning.

Being I am a brave and adventurous soul I decided I wanted to get better at knitting.  Many knitters, that also crochet, had promised me that knitting continental style is much easier to learn since you hold the yarn similar to crochet.   This sounded good to me, though possibly I was simply delusional.

I made plans with a friend that I see at The Lamb Shoppe’s monthly Pajama Jam to teach me how to knit continental style.  My ambitious idea being that I would make a hat for another friend’s soon to arrive baby.

I had packed a few sizes of needles from my meager stash of knitting accoutrement into my project bag for the evening.  It was decided after a confab that I would use my Size 7 needles and worsted weight yarn knitted flat then seamed to construct the hat.

Being I did not have a yarn with me that would fit the bill, and was fortuitously in a yarn shop at the moment, it was time for yarn shopping.  For once I did not dilly dally at this most wonderful of errands and quickly decided on Cascade 220 Superwash Paints in the lovely Tropical Seas colorway.

I then cast-on using my crochet hook (I was informed that what I was doing was considered a provisional cast-on, but it would work) and began to knit my first ever swatch continental style.  It took a bit of time, but I eventually was working at a steady clip with knit stitches and accomplished a few rows of garter stitch.

Some of my friends at the table with me were highly entertained at my method of knitting.  One went so far to say that I was crocheting my knitting.  I replied that it was perfectly sensible that I would as I am a crochet designer.  I was beginning to feel fairly happy with my knitting progress, when I was told it was time to learn to purl.

Hmmmm, another word with mental picture issues.  In my mind (and experience) pearls are iridescent lovely gems, and though the word “purl” in knitting sounds similar this stitch is certainly no gem.  When my helper told me that purling isn’t anything to be afraid of I knew I was in serious trouble.

My rows of knit stitch had only taken me about 40 minutes. 2 hours after I had started my first row of purling I finally finished it. Let’s just say now that my friend’s baby is likely to be in kindergarten before I get a hat knit (I may be whipping up a crochet one just in case).

My 3 meager rows of Continental Knitting
My 3 meager rows of Continental Knitting