Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Tips for working with fluffy yarn


On Friday I shared my latest design, a Shaun the Sheep jumper knitted in King Cole Tufty,* a super-chunky weight fluffy yarn.

Image copyright Practical Publishing

If you haven't knitted with King Cole Tufty or similar yarns before, then they might be a little intimidating, so today I'm sharing some tips and hints that might help.

What's special about these fluffy yarns?
King Cole Tufty* and other eyelash yarns are made up of a central core that has strands coming off it to make the yarn fluffy. This means that the central core is quite thin, even though the knitted fabric looks quite dense.


When you're working with the yarn...
Choosing a pattern
  • Simplicity is key with fluffy yarns; you won't be able to see any increases and decreases under the fluff, so choose simple ones, like backward loop increases and knit two together decreases, rather than anything more involved.
  • Avoid patterns that require picking up stitches as it can be hard to make sure you catch the central cord.
  • Try short rows for shaping - any holes from changing direction can be hidden by slipping the first stitch on the return journey.

Swatching
  • It can be tricky to count the number of stitches and rows you've knitted in a fluffy yarn, so cast on a specific number of stitches, then work a specific number of rows before casting off (ideally twice the number of stitches/rows the gauge is given over in the pattern). Measure the piece that you've knitted and compare the measurements to those given rather than trying to count stitches.

Knitting
  • Slow down! I found I needed to knit very deliberately with this yarn, making sure I caught the central cord every time I knitted a stitch.
  • These yarns are usually worked on larger needles, so you might find you don't have any stitch markers that are large enough. Try using a loop of smooth waste yarn as a stitch marker instead.
  • With fluffy yarns, it can be hard to tell the front of the work from the back, so place a removable stitch marker on the front of the work after you've worked a few rows.
  • Before you start knitting, write a list of the rows you need to work and check them off as you knit them.

Placing stitches on hold

  • If you need to place stitches on hold, work the whole item on interchangeable needles, and place the stitches you need to hold onto spare cables. This avoids having to thread stitches on and off needles.

Looking for the perfect finish?
Weaving in ends
I came up with two options for weaving in the ends of the fluffy yarn:
  • Catch the ends in place using sewing thread the same colour as the fabric you've created.
  • Trim the fluff off the central core to create a smoother yarn that is easier to thread through the eye of the needle and weave in.

Seaming
  • Use oddments of thinner yarn, e.g. DK weight yarn, for seaming.
That's it! It's really not hard to knit with fluffy yarns if you take it slowly. If you found these tips helpful, comment below, or share this post via social media.

Happy knitting.


Image copyright Practical Publishing

*Affiliate link.
**Other yarns with a  similar construction include Stylecraft Eskimo* and Rico Creative Bubble*. Mohair yarns often have a similar construction as well.

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